I rose out of bed this morning in a red-blooded American patriotic fervor. I could feel America pumping through my veins. I wanted to high-five Uncle Sam like I did in my dreams, and was sad when I remembered that he isn’t real.
To overcome my sadness I began reflecting on the great American patriots over history. I thought hard about the men and women who founded this great nation, and pushed it forward over long, hard, tumultuous years. It struck me that I didn’t really know who they were as people – I only knew about their heroic deeds as American patriots. So, I thought I would research what their first jobs were, to see if I could get a sense of who they were before their legendary actions cemented them as ultimate American patriots.
After all, many of us are maybe still in our first jobs, or some sort of menial labor that doesn’t seem too important in the grand scheme of things. So, let’s celebrate America this 4th of July by getting to know the first jobs of 6 great American patriots!
1. George Washington
The most legendary patriot of all, George Washington, began his career as a mere surveyor when he was only 15. You know, like one of these guys.
A pretty humble job for the first President of the United States, don’t you think? Actually, he thought so too. George Washington was insecure during his youth, being the only one in his family who did not go to England to be classically educated. It’s a bit like not having a high school or college on your resume.
Of course, every REAL American is proud that the bloody Brits didn’t get the chance to brainwash him! Where would we be then!?
2. Benjamin Franklin
Franklin didn’t like his first job, working with his dad as a tallow chandler. What the heck is a tallow chandler, you ask? Basically, it’s someone (a chandler) who uses rendered animal fats (tallow) to make soaps, candles, and wax. I admit — with great dismay — that we do not have any tallow chandler resume examples on our website. We regret the oversight.
In any case, Benjamin Franklin because one of the greatest wits of his time, a Francophile who did outstanding work as our ambassador to France, invented the lightning rod, and became one of only two non-presidents to have a portrait printed on US currency. Specifically, the $100. The best one. Now that’s inspiration.
3. Paul Revere
The British are coming! (He did not actually say this.)
I had no idea before writing this article, but Paul Revere was basically a genius. He was a silversmith by trade, having apprenticed for his French (!) father. (Again, sorry, no silver smith resume samples here!) He was also an amateur dentist. And the CIA claims that Revere founded the first American intelligence network that we know of.
Say, I wonder what Revere would think of PRISM and Edward Snowden?
4. Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams is not a common name that you often hear associated with the Founding Fathers. Why would you have? She’s a woman after all.
And like most women during her time, she was not formally educated, nor did she hold a job. Despite this injustice, she became highly educated through home schooling and self-study alone. In fact, her husband John Adams, the second President of the USA, frequently listened to and requested her advice on political and moral issues.
In fact he listened to her input so often that their political opponents mockingly called her “Mrs. President.” Not bad for a person without a single “real achievement” to put on a resume!
Here’s why I really started to love her: Abigail’s political opponents were frustrated by her opposition to slavery, injustice, and religious zealotry. Nothing like a woman that stands up for her principles — especially in a time when most people were against them! I implore you to read more about this incredible, ahead-of-her-time modern woman.
5. Phillis Wheatley
What would you think if you saw “sold into slavery” on someone’s resume?
This astonishing woman was born in Africa, captured, sold into slavery, taught English, and became the first published African-American poet. That is a hell of a resume. Here’s a brilliant quote, appropriate for the Fourth of July, by Wheatley.
“In every human Beast, God has implanted a Principle, which we call Love of Freedom; it is impatient of Oppression, and pants for Deliverance.”
I’m going to start shedding some red white and blue tears over here.
6. Thomas Jefferson
I’m going to finish off with my all time favorite patriot (although Abigail Adams stole my heart today.)
Thomas Jefferson’s first job was…
as a lawyer. That’s not quite as humble or exciting as the other examples in this post. But he couldn’t help it — his family was rich, and he was a natural, quick learner.
What makes him my favorite? Not only was his prose brilliant and inspiring – just read the Declaration of Independence – he was also a complete weirdo!
He apparently kept an un-caged mockingbird around at all times while at home, wore clothes that were too small for him (and completely outdated,) and often wore slippers to formal meetings. He was practically unable to give public speeches, and had a difficult time with social interactions. Some even believe he may have had autism!
What can we learn from all this? Big things have small beginnings! Despite the controversies and the hardships that Americans face every day, we’re still pushing this grand experiment forward together. So get out there, enjoy the sun and barbecue, watch some fireworks explode, and remember that America wasn’t made by the few, but by many.