*NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys, One Direction – hate them or love them (but admit it: you love them), boy bands are a constant in the world of pop culture.
When we imagine our Founding Fathers, we have a tendency to see them as they’re often portrayed in portraits, complete with wigs or powdered white hair, but these paintings were usually done at the height of their careers. In actuality, most of our Founding Fathers were under the age of 40 when they signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Some were even teenagers!
In celebration of the rebelliousness of youth, we’ve taken a look at what might have happened if the Founding Fathers had decided to start a boy band. No boy band is without its stereotypes, so we’ve labeled each member of the band with their classic persona to make it easy for you to find bae.
The Bad Boy: Benjamin Franklin
We know – you felt the spark. Benjamin Franklin was an inventor, a writer, and, by all accounts, a revolutionary, but he was also a notorious flirt with satirical streak. Ben actually penned a letter called Advice to a Friend on Choosing a Mistress, suggesting to young men that they pursue older mistresses over younger ones, citing advantages such as: less risk of pregnancy, better conversation, and a higher likelihood of keeping the affair secret. Later in life, after the passing of his wife, Ben took advantage of his role as ambassador to France to dive into romantic liaisons with Parisian ladies. Ooh la la!
The Shy One: Thomas Jefferson
You might not expect it from someone who held the title of President of the United States, but Thomas Jefferson didn’t always have a way with words. As a teen, when facing his crush, Rebecca Burwell, TJ said, “I was prepared to say a great deal. I had dressed up in my own mind such thoughts as occurred to me, in as moving language as I know how, and expected to have performed in a tolerably creditable manner. But, good God! when I had an opportunity of venting them, a few broken sentences, uttered in great disorder, and interrupted with pauses of uncommon length, were the too visible marks of my strange confusion.” Say it with me: aww!
The Boy Next Door: Alexander Hamilton
He was a soldier, he had no problem speaking his mind, he was one hell of a writer, and he gave our young nation its first sex scandal – you know I’m talking about Alexander Hamilton. This Constitution-loving cutie came from humble beginnings to become our country’s first Secretary of the Treasury. To his eventual wife Elizabeth, Alex wrote in a letter, “I meet you in every dream and when I wake I cannot close my eyes for ruminating on your sweetness.” Can you imagine the love ballads he would write? Swoon!
The Sweet One: John Jay
John Jay was a politician, journalist, diplomat, and abolitionist forerunner – total package, right? His accomplishments include assisting Ben Franklin in Paris in 1783 to help end the Revolutionary War with the Treaty of Paris, showing his support for the Constitution by pitching in with The Federalist Papers, and leading the opposition to slavery in New York during his life. Family was huge for him, too – after the passing of his father, J.J. took full responsibility for his siblings, Peter, Anna, and Augustus. The former two were blinded as a result of smallpox in their youth and the latter suffered mental disabilities. Yeah. He’s kind of a catch.
The Cute One: Samuel Adams
Yeah, that Sam Adams. While he definitely wasn’t one of the youngest to have signed the Declaration of Independence, his baby face could’ve had you fooled. Sam was a bit of a turbulent character in our nation’s history, with his major grudge against the Brits and having played a big part in the Boston Tea Party, but you know him best as a partner in his family’s generational malthouse – which produced malt, essential in brewing beer. Later in life, he was said to have retained his boyish good looks with “very few wrinkles and a nice forehead.” Well done, Sam.