When people think of what shaped American history, they think about presidents' arguments and legislation.
But in their new book, "One Nation Under Sex," Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt and Columbia University historian David Eisenbach say our presidents' sex lives shaped history as much as their politics.
Seems hard to believe, but here are some stories they tell:
Ben Franklin's promiscuity and success with women saved the American Revolution.
"Ben Franklin was a well-known ladies' man in the Colonial era," Professor Eisenbach says. (He was such a ladies' man that he wrote a treatise on sleeping with older women.) "In 1776, when the Continental Congress was looking for someone to send over to France to get the French government's support for the American Revolution, they choose a man who had the capacities to win over the ladies, and wasn't so squeamish about the French sexual mores."
During his trip, Franklin slept with the right French women, who then introduced him to the influential elites who decided to support the American Revolution.
President James Buchanan's gay love affair helped cause the Civil War.
President Buchanan carried on a 32-year gay love affair with William Rufus King, a senator from Alabama.
How do they know this?
"They were known in DC at the time as ‘the Siamese twins' because they were always together," Eisenbach explains. "And [in their letters] to each other they're having lovers' tiffs and they're talking about how they are jealous of each other. It's all there. But historians have chosen to ignore it."
King convinced Buchanan that slave-owners were good people and the slaves were happy. Buchanan then became a sympathizer for the secession movement. When states began to secede, Buchanan refused to intervene ... and the Civil War happened.
FDR might never have been president, except he made a deal with Eleanor and his mother.
Eleanor offered FDR a divorce after she discovered his affair with her social secretary, Lucy Mercer. He seriously considered it because he loved his mistress, but his mother threatened to cut off funds if they divorced. Unwilling to lose that money and power, Franklin begged Eleanor to remain married. They did. He became President.
Eleanor Roosevelt became a feminist because of her lesbian lover.
After Eleanor caught FDR cheating, she went on her own sexual odyssey and met lesbians. They awakened her to the cause of feminism. She had been against women's suffrage ... until the lesbian affairs changed her perspective.
J. Edgar Hoover became powerful because JFK saw prostitutes.
FBI director J. Edgar Hoover caught JFK having a fling with a prostitute whom the FBI alleged was an East German spy. The FBI shared this information with senators determined to destroy Kennedy's career.
JFK was terrified, so he asked to Hoover to prevent a Senate investigation. Hoover agreed, ONLY if JFK reconfirmed him as FBI director and gave him the authorization to wiretap Martin Luther King, Jr. Hoover got both of those deals, so he called the Senate leaders and showed them sex files he'd compiled on them. They backed off immediately.
My "Politically Incorrect History" show airs this Saturday on the FOX News Channel at 3pm ET. It also re-airs on FBN, Saturday and Sunday at 9pm and midnight ET.