5 Historical Figures Who Made James Bond Look Like a Pussy

You might assume that history's most influential leaders were just ordinary people born at the right place, at the right time, to the right sperm. And that is largely correct. But some of those folks clawed their way up from mundanity simply by having balls so immense that science has only recently, reluctantly, demoted their status from "dwarf planets" to "large moons."

#5. Washington Drank the National Economy Under the Table

Adam Gault/Photodisc/Getty Images

President George Washington: Founding Father, wig aficionado, dental ent. You know him, you love him. You have to -- the man was a paragon of virtue, right? When Congress appointed him general of the Continental Army, they proposed a salary of $15,000 a year, but Washington declined. He instead asked them to pay any expenses he incurred during his time of service. Practically a saint.

U.S. Government
See?

The Ballsiness:

Congress, blinded by tears of patriotism at this noble man's offer, accepted it. And so began one of the greatest padding of expenses in government employee history. From September 1775 to March 1776 -- that's seven months -- Washington spent $6,000 on booze. In the single month he spent retreating through New Jersey, he managed to rack up a staggering $3,800 in charges. He dropped $800 on a saddle alone. In the final tally, there was 20 grand worth of "I forgot what this was" charges.

To be fair to Washington, he thought this was all pretty stupid, too. Washington once complained to a colleague that "The army, as usual, are without pay; and a great part of the Soldiery without shirts; and tho' the patience of them is equally thread-bare, the States seem perfectly indifferent to their cries." Of course, his frustration didn't amount to anything more than a few angry letters, because you don't bite the hand that picks up the bar tab. By war's end, Washington managed to rack up a bill for $450,000, or over $4 million when adjusted for inflation.

Gilbert Stuart
That's $5.12 million with tax and tip.

We'll go ahead and assume that wasn't all hooch money. Probably no more than a million or so. Such restraint! Like we said: practically a saint.

#4. Winston Churchill Escaped From Prison With Quiet Dignity

Wiki Commons

He might look like an uncooked sausage shoved into a too-small suit, but Winston Churchill is one of the reasons this article isn't being written in German. In the context of World War II, you can't so much as mention the man's name without pouring out a little brown sauce in gratitude. But before he was teabagging Nazis, he was demonstrating the enormity of his surely unsightly balls by busting out of a South African prison.

 Imperial War Museums
This was actually during the brief skinny portion of the man's life.

The Ballsiness:

Before his political career, Churchill was a reporter in the Boer War in Dutch-settled South Africa. Being a reporter at the dawn of the century was a little different from today: Back then, there was really no such thing as "non-combatants." Reporters were armed and considered free game for any Dutchman who could level a rifle. This became readily apparent during one scouting expedition when Boer soldiers attacked the armored train Churchill rode on, slaughtering the British escort and dragging Churchill to a POW camp in Transvaal. For the next month, he buried the Boer Secretary of War in petitions for his release, but he failed to receive a single answer. Eventually, Churchill decided that his only option was to Shawshank his way out of the place.

Of course, he went about it in the most British fashion possible. First things first, he settled his accounts with the prison store. A Churchill always pays his debts and all that. Next he wrote a letter to the Boer Secretary of State politely apologizing for his escape and thanking him for his hospitality, and another to the Secretary of War explaining where he got his hat. He left both letters on his pillow, grabbed a handful of chocolates, and vaulted over the 10-foot wall into an adjacent alley. He strolled through town whistling a merry tune and greeting merchants, eventually boarding a train heading east. Before daylight, he leaped from the train and hid in a ditch, where he spent the day alternating between sleeping and eating chocolates. That's the only part of this story we can successfully imagine Winston Churchill doing.

Library of Congress
He gained 130 pounds and aged 40 years in those ditches.

For the next five nights, he ran from ditch to ditch, stealing food and water as he went, eventually managing to stow away on a train heading to British-controlled Mozambique. His first act upon rejoining the Empire was to abandon his more peaceful reporting duties and join a cavalry regiment, because one way or another, a Churchill always pays his debts.

#3. Peter the Great Seized the Capital With a Play Army

Aleksey Kivshenko

Peter the Great, czar of Russia, was the man responsible for transforming Europe's most belligerent neighbor from a country full of vodka-swilling hobos to one full of vodka-swilling hobos with guns. He westernized the Russian army, pushed her borders to the Baltic Sea, and beat the Swedes so hard that they forgot how to war and started making furniture. But how did a man like Peter come to power? The same way Peter Pan did: with the power of make believe.

Robert Kerr Porter
Also like Peter Pan, he apparently loved fucking up pirates.

The Ballsiness:

Peter inherited the Russian throne when he was 9, so the nobility appointed Peter's half-sister, Sophia, to act as regent until Peter's testicles dropped. Unfortunately, she grew to enjoy the taste of power and couldn't stand a prepubescent Peter reminding her that one day she'd have to give it up. In order to avoid thinking about the inevitable, Sophia shipped Peter off to grow up with a bunch of Western strangers.

When Peter turned 11, he asked for gunpowder (what 11-year-old wouldn't?), and Russia, as a country full of responsible adults, approved his request. Peter formed his playmates into regiments reminiscent of Western European armies. With his "toy" army that consisted of friends, playmates, and hired soldiers, he staged war games of such realism that one battle resulted in 24 deaths. And because in Russia, any less than three dozen dead is practically a trip to Chuck E. Cheese's, they nicknamed Peter's little army the Fun Forces.

nndb.com
Other than for those 24, it was fun for everyone.

By the time he was 16, his Fun Forces numbered over 600. Relations between Peter and Sophia broke down when Sophia demanded that Peter present himself at the Kremlin. Peter refused, and a tense standoff ensued between the Streltsy, Russia's regular military, and Peter's Fun Forces. In 1689, Peter marched the Fun Forces into Moscow. True to their name, the Fun Forces were there to have a grand old time: They seized control from Sophia, and Peter shipped his sister to a convent and had the bodies of her supporters hanged outside her window. That's what "a grand old time" is in Russia.

Never ask a Russian what a bad day is like.

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