While our founding fathers have credit for bringing the United States to where it is, they were just ordinary people with normal human characteristics and personality flaws. They experienced love, took up fun activities to satisfy their interests, and often got together to discuss the Declaration of Independence. But the big question is, outside of their work, what did they like to do as a hobby?
Several founding fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, were passionate about agriculture. It is believed that the founding members’ passion for gardening and agriculture influenced their vision of America. Despite the fact that large harvests were extremely vital to America’s economy and self-sufficiency, they did not garden for economic reasons, although that was one of the benefits. Jefferson had the idea that farm owners should be the foot soldiers of the country. He even purchased the territory of Louisiana, knowing that huge lands would be needed for his agrarian republic.
Many founding fathers loved board games. James Madison, for example, had good friends who loved chess as much as he did, including Thomas Jefferson. Unlike other politicians, Madison had few friends and did not engage in many activities outside of work. James Madison would invite several friends to compete. His only other hobby was reading literature in its Latin and Greek version instead of using translated versions. This came as no surprise as Madison was originally a student at Princeton University, where he was brilliant in classical languages.
In the days of the Founding Fathers, few people had the privilege of going to school; thus, reading was not for everyone. Those who were lucky enough to study had an advantage as they could easily entertain themselves with interesting books. One such person was Benjamin Franklin, whose favorite pastime was reading. Historians believe that Benjamin Franklin enjoyed reading even as a little boy and often asked questions about the making of the books. He then worked as an apprentice for his brother, where he learned to print. His first published letters were for his brother’s newspaper, although he knew he would never print them. Franklin also enjoyed writing, experimenting, debating and innovating.
St. Croix was devastated by a hurricane on August 31, 1772, and Alexander Hamilton, a laborer on the island performing clerical duties when the hurricane struck, described the calamity in a letter which was later published in the Royal Danish American Gazette. His statements irrevocably changed his life. Readers were so touched by the post that they organized a scholarship program for this bright young clerk. Hamilton was soon on his way to King’s College, where he began his studies. Having properly studied literature, Alexander mastered essay writing, and later became interested in poetry. He once wrote a eulogy that touched everyone’s hearts and was considered the most talented writer of poems and essays of that time. Alexander used his writing skills to win over his future wife Eliza Schuyler, who was so impressed that she wore the poem around her neck wherever she went. Most of his poems and writings are kept in museums for historical examination.