The Dark Side of George Washington

George Washington was the father of our country and first in the hearts of his countrymen, but that doesn’t mean he was a saint.

George Washington Portrait

Image: Wikimedia Commons

By any standards, George Washington was a great man and a great president, especially by the kind of diminished standards we have today. Born into what passed for the middle class in plantation Virginia in 1732, Washington was always an ambitious try-hard who made money, glory, and history as naturally as he breathed.

Like most really successful people, however, George Washington had almost supernatural good luck and a knack for shifting blame for his mistakes onto other people. On the 227th anniversary of his first presidential inauguration, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on this, and how that sneaky streak aided in his rise to the top.

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20 Harrowing Scenes From The 1992 LA Riots

On April 29, 1992, the streets of Los Angeles broke into chaos.

The riots erupted after a mostly white jury did not reach an excessive force conviction against the four white police officers who were videotaped beating black motorist Rodney King after he fled from police in an attempt to outrun a speeding charge.

Soon after the jury’s verdict was announced, rioting, looting, and arson quickly spun out of control. By the time the National Guard came in six days later, 52 people were dead, over 4,000 were injured, and $1 billion worth of property had been damaged. These stark images from the LA riots reveal a city in total collapse:

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La Riots Aerial View

A fire department crew sprays water on a burning mini-mall. Photo: Mike Nelson/AFP/Getty Images

Rodney King Beating

Taken by by George Holliday on March 3, 1991, this image shows the Rodney King beating that ultimately led to the riots. Image: George Holliday/LA Times

Apartment Fire

People and their belongings line a sidewalk across from a burned out apartment. The apartment was attached to a row of stores that were set on fire and looted. Photo: Hal Garb/AFP/Getty Images

Busted Window

A rioter breaks a glass door of the Criminal Courts building, downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Hal Garb/AFP/Getty Images

Bystanders Looters

Looters carry goods out of a shopping center. Photo: Hal Garb/AFP/Getty Images

Demonstrator

A demonstrator protests the verdict in the trial of the four police officers accused of beating Rodney King outside the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) headquarters. Photo: Mike Nelson/AFP/Getty Images

Graffiti

Gang graffiti after the riots, South Central Los Angeles. Photo: Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images

Guard

A National Guardsman stands watch over a strip mall in South Central Los Angeles during day two of the riots. Photo: Steve Grayson/WireImage

King Verdict

An unidentified police officer watches rioters in hand restraints. Photo: Douglas Burrows/Liaison

La Times Cover Story

The front page of the LA Times during the riots. Photo: LA Times

Liquor Store Looters

Looters leave a liquor store with cases of beer. Photo: Hal Garb/AFP/Getty Images

Looters

Rioters destroy an iron gate from a store in downtown Los Angeles just hours after citywide rioting and looting broke out. Photo: Wade Byars/AFP/Getty Images

Military Truck

National Guardsmen and a police officer take up security positions in front of a burned and looted shopping center on day three of the riots. Photo: Hal Garb/AFP/Getty Images

National Guard

National Guardsmen watch a business go up in flames in South Los Angeles. Photo: Hal Garb/AFP/Getty Images

Police Fire

A California Highway patrolman directs traffic around a shopping center engulfed in flames on day two of the riots. Photo: Carlos Schiebeck/AFP/Getty Images

Protesters

Part of a group of about 100 protesters gather outside the East County Courthouse in Simi Valley, California on May 5, 1992 to protest the Rodney King verdict. Photo: Hal Garb/AFP/Getty Images

Store Damage

A store owner and an LAPD officer survey the damage caused by looters. Photo: Mike Nelson/AFP/Getty Images

Store Fire

Flames roar from a Thrifty Drug store in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles. Photo: Mike Nelson/AFP/Getty Images

Store Owner

A Korean store owner is comforted by a local resident after she returned to find her place of business looted and burned in South Central Los Angeles on day two of the riots. Photo: Steve Grayson/WireImage

Woman Yelling

A woman yells at Los Angeles police officers who are standing guard outside a shopping centeron day two of the riots. Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

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4 Women Who Helped Pave the Way for Hillary’s Presidential Bid

Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, a number of women have helped get the American electorate acclimated to the idea of a woman in the Oval Office. Here are four female presidential candidates you should know.

Female Presidential Candidates

From left: Shirley Chisolm (Wikimedia Commons), Margaret Chase Smith (Wikimedia Commons), Gracie Allen (Wikimedia Commons), Jill Stein (Flickr).

Hillary Clinton may have made headlines for the last near-decade as she’s sought the United States presidency, but she’s hardly the first woman to make waves by pursuing the nomination — nor is she alone in being chastised for it. Here are four women who helped pave the way for Clinton’s run, and some of the hurdles they faced.

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29 Images And Facts That Reveal How Cool, Handsome, And Bad Ass American Presidents Were As Young Men

Most of us are familiar with the faces of those who have held the office of President of the United States. Though noble and powerful, almost all of those faces have one thing in common: they’re old (not to mention male and white).

Considering that the youngest person to assume the presidency was Theodore Roosevelt at the age of 42, it’s no wonder that most of the photographs and portraits of past US Presidents lack a certain youthful glimmer. But the following 29 photos of US presidents as young men will give you a whole new perspective…

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Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt Young

Wikimedia CommonsNoted adventurer and outdoorsman Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt actually suffered from asthma. Roosevelt combatted his illness by being an advocate for the "strenuous life." He enjoyed hiking, riding horses, and swimming. Even after the tragic loss of both his wife and his mother within a few hours of each other, Roosevelt escaped to the western frontier to hunt Grizzly bears, herd cows, and chase outlaws as a frontier sheriff.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D Roosevelt Young

Wikimedia CommonsPerhaps the US presidency's greatest advocate for the impoverished, Franklin Delano Roosevelt grew up in extraordinary wealth and privilege, including receiving his first sailboat at age 16.

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon High School

Wikimedia CommonsAs a high school senior (yearbook photo above) Richard Nixon was accepted into Harvard with a scholarship offer. However, he instead attended Whittier College, nearby his southern California home, in order to help take care of his sick brother and work in the family store.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan Young

Wikimedia CommonsBefore his well-known radio and film career, Ronald Reagan worked as a lifeguard in Illinois, reportedly saving 77 people from drowning in the process.

Abraham Lincoln

Young Abraham Lincoln

Wikimedia CommonsAbraham Lincoln, who worked on a riverboat as a young man, invented an inflatable navigation system for steam-powered vessels, making him the only US president to hold a patent.

John F. Kennedy

John F Kennedy Young

Wikimedia CommonsDuring World War II, John F. Kennedy became a national hero. After his crew's boat was rammed by a Japanese destroyer, Kennedy led the ten surviving crew members on a three-mile swim toward land. One crew member was severely burned, so Kennedy towed him through the water with the life jacket strap between his teeth.

Thomas Jefferson

Young Thomas Jefferson

Wikimedia CommonsThomas Jefferson entered Virginia's prestigious College of William and Mary at age 16 and completed his comprehensive studies within just two years.

George Washington

Young President George Washington

Wikimedia CommonsGeorge Washington was raised by his mother and half-brother Lawrence after his father suddenly passed away. Washington had little education, but with Lawrence's help was able to earn decent pay surveying land in the Shenandoah Valley.

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S Grant Young

Wikimedia CommonsAs a young man, Ulysses S. Grant's quiet demeanor was mistaken for stupidity and his peers gave him the nickname "Useless."

James Madison

Young James Madison

Wikimedia CommonsDuring his strange childhood marred by sickness, James Madison suffered from psychosomatic seizures.

James Garfield

James Garfield Young

Wikimedia CommonsJames Garfield grew up rather poor. He spent his childhood helping his widowed mother on her farm, wishing instead to become a sailor. At 16, he ran away to work on the commerce canal boats between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. He fell overboard 14 times and returned home with a fever, vowing from that day forward to live his life with brains over brawn.

Chester A. Arthur

Chester Arthur Young

Wikimedia CommonsChester A. Arthur grew up in Vermont but had the heart of a New Yorker. While in New York, Arthur worked as a lawyer, winning a number of civil rights cases. His extravagant taste in clothes caused him to be labelled a "dandy" and a "peacock" by his peers.

Young Benjamin Harrison

Wikimedia CommonsBenjamin Harrison was the grandson of the ninth US president, William Henry Harrison. In fact, his whole family was rooted in politics. He spent much of his youth reading books at his grandfather's estate.

William McKinley

William Mckinley Young

Wikimedia CommonsA successful lawyer in his home state of Ohio, William McKinley saw his income cut in half when he forayed into politics as a Congressman.

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson Young

Wikimedia CommonsThough not educated in a school system, Woodrow Wilson attempted and dropped out of college several times before studying law on his own. He grew bored of attorney life and enrolled in Johns Hopkins University to pursue a Ph.D. in history and political science before running for office.

Warren G. Harding

Warren Harding Young

Wikimedia CommonsBefore entering office, Warren G. Harding married a divorcee, Florence Kling, whose father, an enemy of Harding's, threatened to kill Harding if he went through with the wedding.

Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge Young

Wikimedia CommonsCalvin Coolidge is the only US president born on the Fourth of July (1872).

William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft Young

Wikimedia CommonsThough clean-shaven as a young man, Howard Taft became noted for his large mustache, which marked him as the last president to wear facial hair.

Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover Young

Wikimedia CommonsAlthough he eventually attained the highest office in US government, Herbert Hoover had an extraordinarily tumultuous childhood, including losing both his mother and father by age nine.

Harry Truman

Harry Truman Young

Wikimedia CommonsHarry Truman spent much of his youth reading and playing piano, and even considered pursuing a career as a concert pianist. He also dreamed of being a soldier, but his poor vision prevented him from getting into West Point. After failing the initial eyesight test required to enter the National Guard, Truman memorized the eye chart and was accepted the second time around.

James Monroe

James Monroe Young

Wikimedia CommonsIn 1774, as the American Revolution drew nearer, James Monroe and his classmates from the College of William & Mary looted 200 muskets and 300 swords from the Governor's Palace after Governor Dunmore fled the capital. The stolen arsenal was donated to the Virginia militia.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D Eisenhower Young

Wikimedia CommonsLong before his career as a five-star general and president, Dwight D. Eisenhower (far right) injured his leg, leading to a very dangerous infection. Doctors recommended that the leg be amputated. But Eisenhower, then merely a high school freshman, refused and soon recovered.

Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B Johnson Young

Wikimedia CommonsLyndon Baines Johnson was just 12 when he told his classmates that he was going to be president of the United States someday. However, Johnson did not do well in school and was not accepted into his preferred college (Southwest Texas State Teachers College). Feeling lost, he and five friends bought a car, drove to California, and did odd jobs before hitchhiking back to Texas and getting arrested for fighting. He was finally accepted into his preferred college in 1927.

Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford Young

Wikimedia CommonsGerald Ford was as good at academics as he was at football. Upon graduation, the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers offered Ford a contract. Instead, he insisted on going to law school and used his athletic prowess to get a job as an assistant football coach at Yale University, where he graduated in the top third of his class in 1941.

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter Young

Wikimedia CommonsGrowing up on a peanut farm meant Jimmy Carter would develop a deep bond with rural environments, which would also spell opportunity. By age 13, in the midst of the Great Depression, Carter had earned enough money on the farm to buy five low-priced houses to be rented out to local families.

George H.W. Bush

George H W Bush Young

Wikimedia CommonsAs a young World War II pilot, George H.W. Bush (right, with Dwight Eisenhower) was shot down over the Pacific. However, Bush managed to escape from his plane and evade Japanese capture, unlike his eight comrades, who were tortured, beheaded, and cannibalized by Japanese officers.

George W. Bush

George W Bush Young

Wikimedia CommonsLike his father, George W. Bush went to Phillips Academy in Andover where he struggled academically and got a zero for his first written assignment (Bush had overused a thesaurus that he thought would improve his vocabulary).

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton Young

Wikimedia CommonsBill Clinton was an excellent tenor saxophone player, winning first chair in the Arkansas state band's saxophone section. When young, Clinton considered dedicating his life to music but ultimately opted for public service instead.

Barack Obama Young Column

sPinterestGrowing up in Hawaii, Barack Obama (then going by the nickname Barry) experimented with drugs, specifically marijuana and cocaine.

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