9. Jefferson and Adams both died on the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence
Both reaching an advanced age, even by modern standards, in 1826 John Adams turned ninety whilst Thomas Jefferson a respectable eighty-three-years-old. Although invited to Washington to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence – a document Jefferson had served as the principal author of – both men were enduring significant illnesses and unable to make the respective journeys. Succumbing within hours of each other on July 4, at 12:50 pm Jefferson passed away due to a fever whilst his friend and rival Adams followed suit at 6:20 pm. The latter’s last words, ignorant of his colleague’s departure, were to offer comfort to his family with the thought that “Thomas Jefferson survives”.
Immediately sparking public debate due to the incredible timing, the bizarre circumstance was taken by some, including Adams’ son, the sitting President John Quincy Adams, to be “visible and palpable remarks of Divine Favor”, interpreting the simultaneous deaths of the national heroes as proof of divine intervention and care for the fledgling country. However, others reached an equally far-fetched conclusion: that the long-time friends-turned-rivals-turned-friends elected to depart this world together and in style. Lacking credibility, with the duo living hundreds of miles apart, this conspiracy theory alleges the pair committed suicide together on that specific day rather than endure prolonged illness and unnoticed deaths.
8. The design of the one-dollar bill actually carries Christian motifs and Freemason symbolism
First issued in 1862, carrying a portrait of then-Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, the present format of the reverse side of the one-dollar bill stems from a redesign dating to 1935, making the bill the oldest overall design still in use by the United States. The highest production bill, accounting for forty-two percent as of 2009 and with more than twelve billion such bills in distribution as of 2017, the one-dollar note is one of most iconic symbols of the United States. Although carrying a portrait of George Washington on the obverse, the reverse side displays the Great Seal of the United States, as originally designed in 1782.
Provoking sustained conspiracy theories surrounding the placement of the Eye of Providence above a pyramid and the involvement of secret societies in American government, the one-dollar bill has served as a focal point of Freemasonry hypotheses for decades. However, whilst entertaining, the Eye – although today a common Masonic motif – was not during the late-18th century, but was instead a prominent Christian symbol during the Renaissance. Similarly, none of the four individuals responsible for contributing to the designs were affiliated at all with the order. Furthermore, logical reasoning dictates a secret organization would never so blatantly advertise their covert control over the American nation.
7. Supposedly, France covertly fermented rebellion in the Thirteen Colonies to weaken their British rivals
Starting with the secret shipping of supplies to the Continental Army in 1775, three years later the Franco-American Treaty – also known as the Treaty of Alliance – formally committed France to the American cause against the British. Contributing money, equipment, as well as later soldiers and ships, the support of the French cannot be overstated in the impact had upon the Revolutionary War. Of particular note, the Battle of the Chesapeake and Siege of Yorktown were decisive victories against the British and were only possible with the overwhelming assistance provided by the forces of Marshal Rochambeau.
Whilst most Americans who remember the vital role the French played during the revolution merely appreciate the partnership provided, some entrepreneurial and imaginative individuals have since concocted a more sinister plan. Claiming the French had designs upon the British Isles but were unable to launch a viable invasion, it has been alleged the French deliberately fermented rebellion in the Thirteen Colonies during the 1760s and early-1770s to distract and weaken the British enough to emerge victorious from a subsequent conflict. Although highly spurious, if true then it was an abject failure, as France accrued more than one billion livres of debt, collapsed their own economy aiding the Americans, and ultimately lost in the Napoleonic Wars.
6. It has been claimed a time traveler was responsible for convincing our Founding Fathers to sign the Declaration of Independence
Formally adopted on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence proclaimed the United States of America as a sovereign nation. Although Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams all wrote the document was signed on the same day it was promulgated, as recorded similarly by the date listed on surviving signed copies, historical evidence strongly questions this assertion. As early as 1796 doubts were raised concerning the actual date of the signing, with Thomas McKean – one of the said signers – contending it could not have been July 4 as not all the individuals were actually present that day.
Becoming increasingly apparent during the 19th century the formal signing only took place sometime after July 19, it is today recognized the delegates put their name to parchment on August 2 – more than a month after promulgation. Whilst the historical record provides ample evidence justifying the delay – namely New York’s initial abstention and a desire for a unanimous declaration – an alternative conspiracy theory has been proposed. Alleging delegates were getting cold feet, this theory contends an unknown individual shouted out “God has given America to be free”, after which there was a rush to sign. Unable to find the individual responsible afterward, it is dubiously claimed the anonymous person must have been a time traveler resolved to save the country.
5. The Founding Fathers were not all fervent Christians but were rather predominantly Deists
One of the fundamental principles of American political society is the central role of Christianity, becoming almost a disqualifying issue to not follow the religion, with no individual elected to the White House without claiming to be an adherent. A position held particularly among the traditional conservative wing of the nation, in spite of the First Amendment’s unequivocal separation of church and state, it is widely held the nation was founded by devout believers and was intended to be a Christian country. This, however, is very far from the truth, with many of the Founding Fathers retaining contradictory or differing religious beliefs.
Explored in detail by David L. Holmes in The Faiths of the Founding Fathers, it is clear the religions of the Founding Fathers were diverse in both conviction and scope. Whilst some indeed were followers of Christianity, notably, Patrick Henry and John Jay, a preponderance of the grouping were, in fact, Deists. Including Thomas Paine, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams, these individuals, whilst not totally abandoning their Judeo-Christian heritage, categorically fell short of the standards of theism. This diversity and skepticism perhaps help to explain the Constitution itself, with the First Amendment ahead of its time concerning the exclusion of religion from public life.
4. Some believe the authors of the Declaration of Independence deliberately crafted a sinister document espousing freedoms
In contrast to public memory of the document, the bulk of the Declaration of Independence deals not with the rights and liberties of the people residing within the American Colonies but instead with the charges and indictments leveled against King George III. Whilst schoolchildren across the United States are persistently taught about the flowery language of the brief preamble – most famously the sentence on self-evident truths and equality – this tiny section is dwarfed by the twenty-seven charges brought against the British Crown, suggesting, in the minds of scholars, where the true meaning and import of the document rests.
As recognized by modern historians, the purpose of the Declaration of Independence was to provide a legal pretext for rebellion, not a discourse on rights. However, some conspiracy theorists go even further, suggesting the deliberate placement and over-exaggeration on the subject of freedoms and liberties – far exceeding the common opinion of the day and never truly enforced by the United States – was instead a sinister cover. Placing sufficient emphasis on lofty ideals, these arguments claim the Founding Fathers instead sought to concentrate as much power possible in the hands of a few but could not openly say so.
3. It has been argued the entire American Rebellion in the Colonies was designed by Jacobites to permit a return of the Stuarts to the British throne
Following the installation of George I as King of Great Britain and Ireland in 1714, over the better claims of more than fifty of his relatives who were disqualified for being Catholic, the reign of the House of Stuart was ended in favor of the House of Hanover. Terminating also the Jacobite belief in the divine right of kings, with Parliament instead selecting who would fill the vacant throne and not God, the political movement repeatedly sought to restore what they perceived to be the rightful Stuarts to their proper place. Culminating in failed uprisings in 1715, 1719, and 1745, as well as several more minor instances, the Jacobite cause has been connected to the American Revolution.
Failing to successfully provoke rebellion in Britain, repeatedly crushed in decisive fashion, following the disastrous defeat in 1746 and the end of Jacobitism in Great Britain it has been alleged adherents entered into a protracted conspiracy designed to weaken the British Crown prior to a renewed effort. Supposedly responsible for provoking the seismic unrest throughout the American Colonies in the years preceding the revolution, in a manner similar to conspiracy theories involving ulterior French designs, it has been argued that Jacobites orchestrated the American Revolution in order to provide more fertile grounds in Europe for their seditious activities.
2. It has been claimed the Alien and Sedition Acts were introduced to combat the Illuminati and prevent a hostile takeover
As previously mentioned, the Alien and Sedition Acts – signed into law in 1798 under President John Adams and supported by the Federalist Party – were among the most controversial elements of early American history. Granting the government sweeping and authoritarian powers to prosecute political dissenters, as well as foreigners, the acts were widely unpopular and denounced as tyrannical. Although mostly repealed following the Democratic-Republican victory in 1800, albeit with the Alien Enemies Act surviving to this day, some conspiracy theorists have argued this endurance exhibits the true intended purpose of the legislation.
Extending the residency requirements from five to fourteen years to acquire naturalization, both the Alien Friends and Alien Enemies Acts afforded the government broad powers over non-citizens and new arrivals to the United States. Tapping into (spurious) allegations concerning the Illuminati, it has been alleged the intended purpose of these bills were to deny the secret society the capacity to become entrenched in North America. Through these harsh anti-immigrant powers, it is reasoned the federal government carefully pruned incoming migrants to weed out subversives and deport members of the Illuminati before they could become a danger to the fledgling republic.
1. Thomas Jefferson was almost certainly not a leading member of the already discontinued Illuminati
One of the most prominent and acclaimed faces of the American Revolution, the achievements of Thomas Jefferson are almost beyond measure. Minister to France, the inaugural Secretary of State, both Vice President and President of the United States, as well as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, founder of the University of Virginia, and savior of the Library of Congress, Jefferson unquestionably deserves his position on Mount Rushmore. In spite of, and perhaps precisely because of this visibility, Jefferson has equally become the subject of more conspiracy theories than virtually any other American politician in history.
Supportive (and least initially) of the French Revolution, spending also several years in Europe in his capacity as one of America’s first overseas ambassadors, one of the more common conspiratorial rumors regarding Jefferson is that he was himself a leading member of the Illuminati. Allegedly joining the group during this time abroad, these uncorroborated and nonsensical arguments seek to connect his subsequent rise to prominence to sinister and shadowy influences. It should be noted, however, that one conspiracy theory – that Jefferson fathered children with one of his slaves – has since been proven to be true, although his involvement with the defunct Illuminati remains less likely to follow suit.
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