What the Founders Missed About Whist (Preface)

14 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2018 Last revised: 8 May 2018

See all articles by Ross E. Davies

Ross E. Davies

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty; The Green Bag

Date Written: March 28, 2018


In the 18th century, conventional decks of playing cards consisted (as they do today) of four suits of 13 cards, each with cards for 2 through 10, three royals (a king, a queen, and a knave that is now a jack), and an ace. Players on both sides of the Atlantic played with cards with the same designs and often from the same manufacturers. But why, having recently fought a long and bloody war of independence to free themselves from monarchy, would the leaders (or, for that matter, the foot soldiers) of that revolution carry on playing their favorite game with cards portraying monarchy? Imagine yourself as George Washington or John Adams or James Madison, playing whist with some of your Founding Friends in late-18th-century Boston or Philadelphia or Richmond. Most of the most powerful cards in your hand would have been kings and queens. Wouldn’t it have occurred to you that a more suitable deck would instead feature the rulers of your own new world?

Keywords: Hoyle, parlor games, constitution, revolution, article i, article ii, article iii, we the people

Suggested Citation

Davies, Ross E., What the Founders Missed About Whist (Preface) (March 28, 2018). 2018 Green Bag Almanac & Reader 1; George Mason Legal Studies Research Paper No. LS 18-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3151376

Ross E. Davies (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

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