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Historical Figures: 7 Shocking Facts You Didn’t Know About Them

Do YOU Know Any Scandalous Facts About Historical Figures?

They say that history is the story of the great men and women who shaped the world we know today. But not all of them were particularly nice about it.

What we’re taught is often whitewashed, glossing over details people feel are unimportant or detrimental to the idealized version of a historical figure in their heads. But if there’s one thing we’ve all learned about history, it’s that there’s no shortage of immoral conduct.

Records tend to hide the unfortunate and unmentionable facts relating to historical figures that become heroic or famous.

Fortunately, it’s usually possible to find the odd bit of info here and there…which is what we did! Here are 7 obscure and scandalous facts about well-known historical figures.

Historical Figures
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Historical Figure: Aristotle

Often considered the greatest thinker and philosopher in human history, this historical figure was responsible for the direction of Western thinking for nearly 2,000 years. Yet, much like his contemporaries, he was also downright misogynistic.

He even wrote once that “a female is perhaps an inferior being” and that a woman was “as it were a deformity.” A lot of the basis of his thinking was rooted in the animal kingdom and inaccurate biological hypotheses that were widely believed during his time.

He did believe, however, that women needed to be a part of society and that their happiness was beneficial, even required, for a community to function correctly. Still, it doesn’t make up for his stereotypical views, which helped influence Western thinking for millennia.

But to be fair, they probably would have come up with the same views on their own. It just didn’t help that the most influential speaker of the time was spoon-feeding them this nonsense.

Historical Figure: Abraham Lincoln

Even though he was one of the most famous American presidents, Lincoln was surrounded by scandalous stories. One fact was his disapproval of the First Amendment. His orientation has also been an ongoing debate among several scholars.

Lincoln even suspended habeas corpus, which was considered unconstitutional by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. And to add to all this, “Honest Abe” might not have been so honest and righteous.

This historical figure spent much of his time during the Civil War punishing those who held anti-Union beliefs. He had his reasons, of course, declaring the conservation of the Union to be above anything else, even above protecting the rights of the Union’s citizens, apparently.

During the war, he was quoted at one point as saying: “Must I shoot a simple soldier boy who deserts, while I musn’t touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert?”

Historical Figure: John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller eventually became one of the wealthiest men in our history, but most people don’t know that his father was a sleazy con man. William Avery Rockefeller was well-known by the nicknames “Devil Bill” and “Big Bill.”

He made his living with several jobs, including the “botanic physician.” If you’re wondering what someone like that did, William sold “elixirs,” believed to cure all kinds of diseases, including cancer.

As you can imagine, the senior Rockefeller had a shady reputation as a con man and philanderer. John D. Rockefeller was successful at keeping his father’s bigamist ways a secret for years.

Before this was public knowledge, the public tried to expose this “family secret,” even as Rockefeller himself attempted to make the story go away. Joseph Pulitzer (yes, that Joseph Pulitzer) even offered $8,000 for any information on William Rockefeller that could be discovered.

Historical Figures
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Historical Figure: Adolf Hitler

A recent investigation into documents connected to Hitler has uncovered the fact that when he became chancellor of Germany in 1934, he had weaseled out of paying 405,500 million Reichsmarks in tax. That’s 6.3 million dollars in today’s currency!

Fortunately for Hitler, though, he was forgiven his tax debts when he was elected. It’s believed that he earned 1.2 million Reichsmarks for sales of Mein Kampf alone and avoided paying 600,000 Reichsmarks in tax on it.

The official who forgave Hitler’s tax debt was “rewarded” with a 2,000 Reichsmarks per month tax-free allowance. That was a considerable amount considering teachers were paid 4,800 per year at the time.

Historical Figure: John F. Kennedy

JFK’s assassination was one of the saddest moments in history. But before that fateful day, the president was already plagued by scandals, including the ones about him being a womanizer.

The most controversial was his alleged romantic relationship with Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe, whose mysterious death was also linked to the late president and his brother.

And although this IS shameful, the former president’s extramarital activities are well-known…So where’s the scandal? Well, let’s get to it.

Mimi Alford was a 19-year-old press intern when she began a relationship with the then-president that was “tender, funny, and loving.”

According to Alford, she and Kennedy took a lot of baths, after which they ate, played music, and, if it would become late, she would stay the night.

Alford said Kennedy “had a collection of little yellow rubber ducks, and they were in the bathtub, and rubber ducks sort of became part of the game.”

These rubber ducks were said to have been a gift from a friend who heard Vaughn Meader impersonate Kennedy listing children’s toys on The First Family comedy album.

Alford also wrote in her memoir that “every time JFK saw the ducks, it kick-started a playful side of him.” One of her friends later commented, “You didn’t have an affair with the president… You had a playmate!”

Historical Figure: Thomas Jefferson

Here’s an unfortunate fact for all our readers out there: Thomas Jefferson was known to preach AGAINST white people having children with black people, all while doing that very same thing and denying his heirs.

Jefferson said, “the amalgamation of whites with blacks produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of the excellence in the human character, can innocently consent.”

And while preaching this, this historical figure had a few children with his slave Sally Hemings who also happened to be the illegitimate half-sister of his wife.

Even though the rumors were floating around during his lifetime, which Jefferson implicitly denied, it wasn’t until recent times that DNA testing proved that at least one of Hemings’ children was indeed fathered by Jefferson.

Besides that, in a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, Robert Smith, dated July 1st, 1805, the former president also admitted to having tried to seduce his neighbor Betsey Walker, who was married at the time.

Historical Figures
Photo by Stefano Chiacchiarini ’74 at Shutterstock

Historical Figure: Elvis Presley

Elvis was known to exhibit many compulsive/obsessive qualities in his life, which both helped and impeded his public and personal life. One particular hobby that Elvis wanted to excel in was acting.

He viewed himself as the next James Dean, so he became obsessed with the movie star. He was crushed over the fact that the roles given to him in movies were not substantial enough, in his opinion.

Presley knew all the words to “Rebel Without A Cause,” featuring James Dean and Natalie Wood, and sought out Wood due to her connection to James Dean.

That relationship ended when Natalie visited Graceland, and Elvis’ mother, Gladys, being overbearing and jealous, drove woods away. Natalie confided in her sister Lana saying that “he can sing, but he can’t do much else.”

His obsession with Dean then led Elvis to purposely befriend Nick Adams, a very close friend of Dean’s, before he died. Since his death, rumors began floating around that Adams had a sexual relationship with Dean and Elvis.

If you enjoyed our article on historical figures, we’ve got many more like it. We highly recommend you check out: 4 Wild West Outlaws Who Wreaked Havoc Across America


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