Hemp in History - Our Founding Fathers

The history of our country is inextricably linked to hemp.

According to an article on the website WorldHistory.us: "As far as the history of hemp on this rock we now call America, hemp was planted from day one it seems. Arriving with the Puritans in Colonial America, hemp was planted almost immediately to supply materials such as lines, sails and other things for the ‘Mayflower.' At that time all sea vessels carried some stock of hemp seed. Being the fiber of choice, it was quickly spread throughout the colonies.

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"In 1619, Jamestown announced the order for all farmers to grow hemp seed, and as more colonies popped up hemp cultivation laws became more mandatory. Cannabis hemp quickly became legal tender in most of the early settler days of 1631 into the early 1800s.

"Taxes were paid with hemp for over two hundred years, and between the 17th and 18th centuries it was illegal NOT to grow hemp in some areas. Some colonies even enforced jail sentences for those who did not participate in what was quickly becoming a patriotic act, especially during the revolutionary war."

And not surprisingly, our founding fathers were staunch proponents of this versatile and beneficial crop.

The same article on the website continues:  

"It is well known that a few of our founding fathers were big proponents of growing hemp everywhere. A few in particular such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin not only spoke great things of the plant, but actually took part in the creation of a hemp industry.

"Thomas Jefferson received the United States first patent; A hemp threshing machine. He also smuggled new strains of the cannabis seed from China, to France, then to America, all while serving as ambassador to France. Jefferson also wrote about the advantages of hemp over tobacco, in use, labor and for the sake of the land, probably on hemp paper.

"Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills that processed hemp into parchment, that of which was used in many first drafts that later became the documents that America stands by.

"The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense,” the Federalist (and Anti-Federalist) Papers, the Articles of Confederation, and of course the United States Constitution were all written on hemp paper."

Who knew this amazing plant played such a huge role in shaping the course of American history and today this crop has undergone a resurgence in popularity that rivals its' history!


Sources:

https://worldhistory.us/american-history/hemp-and-our-founding-fathers.php

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