In this episode, we delve into the big penman energy of founding father Gouverneur Morris, the peg-legged sex-positive anti-slavery aristocrat who penned multiple constitutions and sailed through life with care-free confidence. We also explore the story of his wife, Ann Cary “Nancy” Randolph and the sensational scandal at Bizarre that she struggled to overcome.
Morris was known as the “Tall Boy” in the Continental Congress, and his first assignment was to report on the conditions at Valley Forge. He became fast friends with fellow tall boy George Washington, and they later teamed up at the Constitutional Convention. Morris spoke more than anyone else at the Convention, and he used his knowledge of history and people to turn the Convention’s deliverable into a powerful and concise Constitution.
Morris suffered severe injuries to his right arm and left leg, but he did not let that stop him from having multiple affairs with married women in the United States and France.
When he finally settled down, it was with Ann Cary Randolph, also known as Nancy. She was part of Virginia’s powerful and ubiquitous Randolph family, and she was trying to escape from her past. Morris married her knowing all the details she was willing to divulge, and he stood by her when the abusive John Randolph of Roanoke (or Jack) tried to destroy in the eyes of her husband.
Despite his accomplishments, Morris is not a household name like his co-Founders. There are several reasons for this, but it mostly boils down too the fact that he was too Federalist and anti-slavery for the Democratic-Republicans and too sexy for moral history writers. And there’s the little fact that he was all for breaking up the country he helped found, but nobody’s perfect.
Then, we tackle the most unfortunate and horrifying death of Gouverneur Morris as the result of a cringeworthy attempt at self-surgery with a piece of whale bone.
Gouverneur Morris might not be a household name now but just you wait. Like John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, he is due for a resurgence.
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