By John Horton, Contributor @ Earth Class Mail
I struggled being President of the Lucy Lawless fan club, so I can't imagine how hard it is to be President of these United States. War, the economy, environmental issues – just a few of the problems they face every day. It's a tough job.
With so much on their shoulders, it’s not hard to imagine that their personal relationships would suffer. Luckily, the top banana has always had his wife to keep the presidential fire lit. Sometimes, he even had his mistress.
However, with such busy schedules, the President and First Lady don't get much time to spend alone together. Time that could be spent exchanging love-laden whispers…
"When we first met, I was just an Article of Confederation. Your love has made me a bona fide Constitution."
That’s why the President has often expressed his undying affection for his better half, or better third in some cases, in love letters.
Of course, the President’s love notes look a little different than yours or mine. I, for example, don't have access to Supreme Court gossip.
I’m guessing you don’t either. Still, it's kind of nice to see this side of the President, all doughy and smitten.
Yes there are some unofficial honeys on this list too, but love is love. Regardless of the recipient, the following letters are beautiful reminders that Presidents are just people.
It’s also a reminder of how far we've fallen in the love letter department. This really is some quality stuff.
The (O)G. Washington
It’s only appropriate to start with a U.S. Original, George Washington.
If you’ve ever read one of George Washington’s transcripts, you know the guy was a phenomenal writer.
Reading this letter, which was written during the Revolutionary War, we can see two things about Washington: 1) he truly is an underrated writer, and 2) he had mad love for Martha.
“As I am within a few Minutes of leaving this City, I could not think of departing from it without dropping you a line…”
I envision the General in a tent, guards waiting to escort him, quill in hand urgently penning what could be his last words to his beloved wife.
Though brief, this letter is a tender contrast to the stately image one usually holds of Washington. A true romantic, he sign’s it,
“Your entire, Go: Washington.”
Reading this letter felt more like reading a philosophical treatise on love, but what else can you expect from a mind like Jefferson’s?
The letter begins with a description of the departure of his amour, Mrs. Cosway, with whom he had spent some time in Paris, leaving him “more dead than alive.”
As he sits by the fire, a dialogue between the Head and the Heart pursues. The Head, appropriately, takes up a rational point of view, admonishing the Heart –
“This is one of the scrapes into which you are ever leading us.”, says the Head.
The Heart, unable to control its pursuits, describes itself as
“…the most wretched of all earthly beings.”
Odds in favor of the heart, every time.
Hound-Dog Harding, Warren G.
Here is a true Casanova. I almost feel uncomfortable quoting Harding’s poems, written to his side honey Carrie Fulton Phillips (I hope you’re not reading this mom).
Here’s a little sample:
"I love you when
You open eyes
And mouth and arms
And cradling thighs…"
Beginning with a lawsuit in 1964, the Harding family fought hard to keep these papers from public view. Finally, in July of 2014, the Library of Congress released the full correspondence between Harding and Phillips.
It’s really no surprise the family wanted these poems and letters kept private. They don’t exactly feel presidential. But hey, I’m not judging.
I’ve even tried a few of these lines on my wife. They didn’t work, though. I must not be saying them right.
Harry S.-is-for-sexy Truman
This letter reads like a normal conversation between a husband and wife of the 1940’s. Truman recites his day’s events, but strewn throughout are lines that remind us this is no normal couple.
I like most the nonchalant quip about listening to gossip between a Supreme Court Justice and another government official, certainly more interesting than whatever your neighbors are babbling about.
Then there’s Truman’s assertion that the U.S. was
“on the edge of a good old fashioned cleanup in the State Dept.”
Not exactly bedroom conversation, but definitely only something you would share with your closest confidant.
One might not think of this as a love letter, but considering Truman wrote hundreds of letters like this to Bess, it’s a symbol of his love and devotion.
Once again, Harry Truman shows me up.
With all my love,
Ronald “The Romantic” Reagan
Ok Dutch! These letters, written by Ronald Reagan to Nancy, are equal parts romance and humor. They just reaffirm why Reagan is considered one of the most charismatic U.S. Presidents, and why their love story stands out as one of the greats.
On their 20th anniversary, Reagan explains that it doesn’t feel that long:
"20 minutes maybe — but never 20 years. In the first place it is a known fact that a human cannot sustain the high level of happiness I feel for more than a few minutes — and my happiness keeps on increasing."
His wit is apparent throughout the letters, and the playfulness never ceases. This is another set of notes I won’t show my wife, as it highlights how much of a dunce I am by comparison.
Never breaking character, he signs the letter,
“Your husband of 20 something or other.”