Saturday, August 15, 2009

George Washington: Father of Functional Drug Addiction as well as His Country

Jaunty, no?
George Washington was our nation's first president, but probably should have died, like, a bunch of times before that presidency thing every happened what with all the illness and mercury that people were constantly popping in the eighteenth century for every little thing. He was born in 1732 in Virginia. He had some much older half brothers who helped raise him, as his dad died when George was eleven. At this time, George inherited his first ten slaves. He was educated at home by his male family members and eventually worked as a surveyor. He had all sorts of sweet family connections and got surveying jobs out of it. When his brother Lawrence fell ill with tuberculosis, George accompanied him for a time to Barbados. At some point, George probably also had TB, but apparently got over. Also, he had smallpox for a bit, which historians guess probably left him sterile. TOO BAD.

George inherited the Mount Vernon estate from Lawrence, and spent the rest of his life expanding his land (and slave) holdings. Soon after his brother's death, George was appointed to a position in the Virginia militia, became a major and trained new recruits. At the age of 21, George also became a Master Mason, which is totally not creepy and secret and patriarchal. George Washington led some troops during the French and Indian War. It was kind of messy and he lost some battles, but apparently became some sort of war hero anyway. Eventually he resigned his military post and devoted his time to expanding his plantation and to family life. Georgie Pordgie married the widow Martha Dandridge Custis in 1759 and adopted her children. We don't really know that much about their relationship because Martha burned all their letters upon her husband's death. They were totally full of 1700s porn, I bet. Anyway, they also later raised some of their grandchildren. Martha had some sweet landholdings from her first marriage, and of course they automatically transferred to George upon their wedding. They had over a hundred slaves, and George was a savvy landowner. While other planters like Thomas Jefferson and others were sticking with just tobacco and going bankrupt, Washington chose to diversify with crops like wheat that could be sold domestically and would provide variety for the soil and other good farm-y things.

Eventually George was elected to the Virginia legislature. He wasn't real fiery when it came to the politics (at least not in public), but he was spurred into action by the British Intolerable Acts, and was sent to the First Continental Congress to do something about it. By the Second Continental Congress, Washington thought it necessary to show up in a military uniform. That means that he means business, see? MANLY BUSINESS. He was appointed as the Continental Army's new commander-in-chief in 1775 and joined the troops in the field. The British had siezed Boston. The Continental troops were, of course, poorly trained and poorly armed. There was a shortage of gunpowder, which was kind of inconvient. Eventually they drove the British out of Boston, though the Continental Army wasn't exactly on a winning streak. They lost the big old Battle of Long Island shortly after the Declaration of Independence was, you know, declared. Something happened and Washington and his pals (including other future prez James Monroe) crossed the Delaware River in the night and killed them some Germans, like Real American Heroes. During the winter, lots of dudes deserted the army and whatnot because it was cold and they ware all starvy. Like, a quarter of the Continental Army died during their stay at Valley Forge. Luckily, France joined up on the American side in 1777. Because we were pretty rag-tag and whatnot without a real European power to back us up against the Redcoats. Eventually we won or whatever, and Washington resigned his post just like Cincinnatus BECAUSE HE WAS AN AWESOME ROMAN AMERICAN HERO.

The toothless Articles of Confederation weren't working out that well, so Washington got himself into the Constitutional Convention of 1787, where he was elected president of the proceedings. And George was really good at getting people to stick to business and make compromises and blahblahblah he is awesome but he never cut down a fucking cherry tree. Washington didn't believe in political parties, because he apparently had very few opinions of his own, and was elected unanimously by the Electoral College (the first and last time that ever happened) in 1789 and 1792 to be King President of America. John Adams was his veep. During his terms as president, Washington eventually had to pick sides between federalist money-grubber Alexander Hamilton and French and democracy-loving Jefferson. He chose Hamilton. Though we all know how that turned out, amirite?

In the 1790s, there was something called the Whiskey Rebellion because the federal government was like, "Let's tax booze to pay off our debts." And all the citizenry was like, "Fuck that." But then President George Washington was like, "Fuck you, I'm sending the military to keep your shit under control." And that settled that. Washington sided with Secretary of State John Jay, approving his treaty to normalize relations with Great Britain, rather than supporting France in their war with the British. That worked. Until, like 1812 or whatever. Once again, great humble George retired after he reluctantly served a second term and we named the capital and my home state and a bunch of other shit after him. Though Adams had him serve as the senior officer in the U.S. Army just in case they had a war with France or whatever. Then one day in 1799, George Washington got wet in the rain and caught his death. Actually, modern doctors assume it was the bloodletting and mercurial calomel that was supposed to treat his pneumonia that killed him.

Too bad GW's real penis was shooting blanks. Luckily he chose to sire this great nation, amirite?

Other facts about GW:
  • He was a redhead who powdered his own hair for special events (rather than wearing the customary powdered wig of the day).
  • He supposedly was eventually against slavery, but went to special trouble to not free any of his own during his lifetime.
  • He eventually stopped taking communion at the Anglican Church, so it is unclear how much he really liked Jesus.
  • His false teeth were probably actually made of hippo and elephant ivory. Mercury oxide that the doctors used willy-nilly back then made everybody lose their teeth and hair and whatnot.
  • He was totally high all the time on heroin booze AKA laudanum to treat his chronic tooth pain. Which is probably why he was so easy-going. "Political parties? Doesn't really seem worth it. Gimme another shot of the opium juice mmkay?"

No comments:

Post a Comment