Founding Fathers of the United States

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Founding Fathers of the United States
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{{for|the founding figures of other nations|List of national founders}}{{short description|Group of Americans who led the revolution against Great Britain}}{{Use mdy dates|date=October 2019}}File:Declaration of Independence (1819), by John Trumbull.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|Declaration of Independence, an 1819 painting by (John Trumbull]] depicting the Committee of Five presenting their draft to the Congress on June 28, 1776WEB, American Revolution: Key to Declaration of Independence,weblink April 6, 2017, )File:Treaty of Paris 1783 - last page (hi-res).jpg|thumb|Signature page of the Treaty of Paris of 1783 that was negotiated on behalf of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay]]File:Committee of Five, 1776.png|thumb|right|A Committee of Five, composed of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston, drafted and presented to the Continental Congress what became known as the U.S. Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776.]]The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers, were a group of American leaders who united the Thirteen Colonies, led the war for independence from Great Britain, and built a frame of government for the new United States of America upon republican principles during the latter decades of the 18th century. Most Founding Fathers at one point considered themselves British subjects, but they came to understand themselves more as patriotic Americans who possessed a spirit distinct from that of their motherland. The group was composed of businessmen, lawyers, philosophers, politicians, plantation owners and writers from a variety of social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. The Founding Fathers came from a variety of occupations, and many (such as John Adams, a lawyer; Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a planter; and Benjamin Rush, a doctor) had no prior political experience.Historian Richard B. Morris in 1973 identified the following seven figures as key Founding Fathers: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.Richard B. Morris, Seven Who Shaped Our Destiny: The Founding Fathers as Revolutionaries (New York: Harper & Row, 1973).WEB, Kettler, Sarah, The Founding Fathers: Who Were They Really?,weblink Biography, April 5, 2017, Jefferson, Madison, and Washington were slave owners. Franklin, Hamilton and Jay were leading opponents of slavery. Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin were members of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Hamilton, Madison, and Jay were authors of The Federalist Papers, advocating ratification of the Constitution. The constitutions drafted by Jay and Adams for their respective states of New York (1777) and Massachusetts (1780) were heavily relied upon when creating language for the U.S. Constitution.WEB, About America, The Constitution of the United States, World Book, September 17, 2017,weblink Jay, Adams, and Franklin negotiated the Treaty of Paris (1783) that would end the American Revolutionary War.WEB, PBS NewsHour, Forgotten Founding Father,weblink July 4, 2015, Washington was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and was president of the Constitutional Convention. All held additional important roles in the early government of the United States, with Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison serving as president. Jay was the nation's first chief justice, Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury, and Franklin was America's most senior diplomat, and later the governmental leader of Pennsylvania.The term Founding Fathers is sometimes used to refer to the Signers of the embossed version of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.WEB, Signers of the Declaration,weblink National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, April 7, 2017, Signers is not to be confused with the term Framers; the Framers are defined by the National Archives as those 55 individuals who were appointed to be delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention and took part in drafting the proposed Constitution of the United States. Of the 55 Framers, only 39 were signers of the Constitution.WEB, National Archives, Meet the Framers of the Constitution,weblink November 3, 2015, WEB, US Constitution Online, The Framers,weblink Two further groupings of Founding Fathers include: 1) those who signed the Continental Association, a trade ban and one of the colonists' first collective volleys protesting British control and the Intolerable Acts in 1774,WEB, Carpenter's Hall, Carl G. Karsch, The First Continental Congress: A Dangerous Journey Begins, April 10, 2017,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink January 18, 2012, or 2) those who signed the Articles of Confederation, the first U.S. constitutional document.Stanfield, Jack. America's Founding Fathers: Who Are They? Thumbnail Sketches of 164 Patriots (Universal-Publishers, 2001).The phrase "Founding Fathers" is a 20th-century appellation, coined by Warren G. Harding in 1916.{{fact|date=July 2019}} Prior to, and during, the 19th century, they were referred to as simply the "Fathers."{{fact|date=July 2019}} The term has been used to describe the founders and first settlers of the original royal colonies.BOOK, Parham, C. P., From Great Wilderness to Seaway Towns: A Comparative History of Cornwall, Ontario, and Massena, New York, 1784–2001,weblink SUNY Press, 2012 (chapter 1, page 7), November 20, 2017, The founding fathers of Cornwall and ...., 9780791485675, February 2012, Jill Lepore, The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle American History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), 16.{{toclimit|4}}


File:Albany Congress.jpeg|thumb|The Albany Congress of 1754 was a conference attended by seven colonies, which presaged later efforts at cooperation. The Stamp Act CongressStamp Act CongressThe First Continental Congress met briefly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1774, consisting of 56 delegates from all thirteen American colonies except Georgia. Among them was George Washington, who would soon be drawn out of military retirement to command the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Also in attendance were Patrick Henry and John Adams, who, like all delegates, were elected by their respective colonial assemblies. Other delegates included Samuel Adams from Massachusetts, John Dickinson from Pennsylvania and New York's John Jay. This congress, in addition to formulating appeals to the British crown, established the Continental Association to administer boycott actions against Britain.When the Second Continental Congress convened on May 10, 1775, it essentially reconstituted the First Congress. Many of the same 56 delegates who attended the first meeting participated in the second.Burnett, Continental Congress, 64–67. New arrivals included Benjamin Franklin and Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, John Hancock of Massachusetts, John Witherspoon of New Jersey, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton of Maryland, who was named as a late delegate due to his being Roman Catholic. Hancock was elected Congress president two weeks into the session when Peyton Randolph was recalled to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses. Thomas Jefferson replaced Randolph in the Virginia congressional delegation.Fowler, Baron of Beacon Hill, 189. The second Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. Witherspoon was the only active clergyman to sign the Declaration. He also signed the Articles of Confederation and attended the New Jersey (1787) convention that ratified the Federal Constitution.WEB, Signers of the Declaration,weblink National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, April 24, 2014, Biography #54, The newly founded country of the United States had to create a new government to replace the British Parliament. The U.S. adopted the Articles of Confederation, a declaration that established a national government with a one-house legislature. Its ratification by all thirteen colonies gave the second Congress a new name: the Congress of the Confederation, which met from 1781 to 1789.WEB,weblink Confederation Congress, Ohio Historical Society, October 23, 2010, The Constitutional Convention took place during the summer of 1787, in Philadelphia.BOOK, American Government: Political Development and Institutional Change, Calvin C. Jillson, 5th, Taylor & Francis, 2009, 978-0-203-88702-8, 31, Although the Convention was called to revise the Articles of Confederation, the intention from the outset for some including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton was to create a new frame of government rather than amending the existing one. The delegates elected George Washington to preside over the Convention. The result of the Convention was the United States Constitution and the replacement of the Continental Congress with the United States Congress.

Social background and commonalities

File:Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States.jpg|thumb|right|Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler ChristyHoward Chandler ChristyFile:Gilbert Stuart Williamstown Portrait of George Washington.jpg|thumb|right|upright|George WashingtonGeorge WashingtonFile:BenFranklinDuplessis.jpg|thumb|right|upright|Benjamin Franklin, an early advocate of colonial unity, was a foundational figure in defining the US ethosethosFile:Robert R Livingston, attributed to Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828).jpg|thumb|right|170px|Robert R. Livingston, member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence.]]File:Alexander Hamilton.jpg|thumb|right|upright|Alexander HamiltonAlexander HamiltonFile:John Jay (Gilbert Stuart portrait).jpg|thumb|right|upright|John JayJohn JayFile:James Madison by Gilbert Stuart 1804.jpeg|thumb|right|upright|James MadisonJames MadisonFile:PeytonRandolph.jpeg|thumb|right|upright|Peyton RandolphPeyton RandolphFile:Richard Henry Lee at Nat. Portrait Gallery IMG 4471.JPG|thumb|right|upright|Richard Henry Lee, who introduced the Lee ResolutionLee ResolutionFile:John Hancock 1770-crop.jpg|thumb|right|upright|John HancockJohn HancockFile:John Dickinson portrait.jpg|thumb|right|upright|John DickinsonJohn DickinsonFile:Henry laurens.jpg|thumb|right|upright|Henry LaurensHenry LaurensFile:RogerShermanPortrait.jpg|thumb|right|upright|Roger Sherman, a member of the Committee of FiveCommittee of FiveFile:Robert morris portrait.jpg|thumb|right|upright|Robert Morris, president of Pennsylvania's Committee of Safety and one of the founders of the financial system of the United States.]]The Founding Fathers represented a cross-section of 18th-century U.S. leadership. According to a study of the biographies by Caroline Robbins: }}They were leaders in their communities; several were also prominent in national affairs. Virtually all participated in the American Revolution; at the Constitutional Convention at least 29 had served in the Continental Army, most of them in positions of command. Scholars have examined the collective biography of the Founders, including both the signers of the Declaration and of the Constitution.See Brown (19764); Martin (19739); "Data on the Framers of the Constitution", at weblink


Many of the Founding Fathers attended or graduated from the colonial colleges, most notably Columbia known at the time as "King's College", Princeton originally known as "The College of New Jersey", Harvard College, the College of William and Mary, Yale College and University of Pennsylvania. Some had previously been home schooled or obtained early instruction from private tutors or academies.Brown (1976); Harris (1969) Others had studied abroad. Ironically, Benjamin Franklin who had little formal education himself would ultimately establish the College of Philadelphia based on European models (1740); "Penn" would have the first medical school (1765) in the thirteen colonies where another Founder, Benjamin Rush would eventually teach.With a limited number of professional schools established in the U.S., Founders also sought advanced degrees from traditional institutions in England and Scotland such as the University of Edinburgh, the University of St. Andrews, and the University of Glasgow.

Colleges attended

WEB, The University of Glasgow Story James Wilson, March 26, 2018,weblink and the University of Edinburgh though he never received a degree.

Advanced degrees and apprenticeships

Doctors of Medicine

  • University of Edinburgh: Rush WEB, Penn University Archives and Records Center, Benjamin Rush (1746–1813), April 9, 2017,weblink
  • University of Utrecht, Netherlands: Williamson


  • University of Edinburgh: Witherspoon (attended, no degree)
  • University of St. Andrews: Witherspoon (honorary doctorate)

Legal apprenticeships

Several like John Jay, James Wilson, John Williams and George WytheWEB, George Wythe, Colonial Williamsburg, April 9, 2017,weblink were trained as lawyers through apprenticeships in the colonies while a few trained at the Inns of Court in London. Charles Carroll of Carrollton earned his law degree at Temple in London.

Self-taught or little formal education

Franklin, Washington, John Williams and Henry Wisner had little formal education and were largely self-taught or learned through apprenticeship.


The great majority were born in the Thirteen Colonies. But at least nine were born in other parts of the British Empire:
  • England: Robert Morris, Button Gwinnett
  • Ireland: Butler, Fitzsimons, McHenry and Paterson
  • West Indies: Hamilton
  • Scotland: Wilson and Witherspoon
Many of them had moved from one colony to another. Eighteen had already lived, studied or worked in more than one colony: Baldwin, Bassett, Bedford, Davie, Dickinson, Few, Franklin, Ingersoll, Hamilton, Livingston, Alexander Martin, Luther Martin, Mercer, Gouverneur Morris, Robert Morris, Read, Sherman, and Williamson.Several others had studied or traveled abroad.


The Founding Fathers practiced a wide range of high and middle-status occupations, and many pursued more than one career simultaneously. They did not differ dramatically from the Loyalists, except they were generally younger and less senior in their professions.Greene (1973).
  • As many as thirty-five including Adams, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and Jay were trained as lawyers though not all of them practiced law. Some had also been local judges.Brown (1976).
  • Washington trained as a land surveyor before he became commander of a small militia.
  • At the time of the convention, 13 men were merchants: Blount, Broom, Clymer, Dayton, Fitzsimons, Shields, Gilman, Gorham, Langdon, Robert Morris, Pierce, Sherman and Wilson.
  • Broom and Few were small farmers.
  • Three had retired from active economic endeavors: Franklin, McHenry and Mifflin.
  • Franklin and Williamson were scientists, in addition to their other activities.
  • McClurg, McHenry, Rush and Williamson were physicians.
  • Johnson and Witherspoon were college presidents.


Historian Caroline Robbins in 1977 examined the status of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence and concluded:
A few of them were wealthy or had financial resources that ranged from good to excellent, but there are other founders who were less than wealthy. On the whole they were less wealthy than the Loyalists.
  • Seven were major land speculators: Blount, Dayton, Fitzsimmons, Gorham, Robert Morris, Washington, and Wilson.
  • Eleven speculated in securities on a large scale: Bedford, Blair, Clymer, Dayton, Fitzsimons, Franklin, King, Langdon, Robert Morris, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, and Sherman.
  • Many derived income from plantations or large farms which they owned or managed, which relied upon the labor of enslaved men and women particularly in the southern colonies: Bassett, Blair, Blount, Davie,William R. Davie, Blackwell P. Robinson. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1957. Johnson, Butler, Carroll, Jefferson, Jenifer, Madison, Mason, Charles Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Rutledge, Spaight, and Washington.
  • Eight of the men received a substantial part of their income from public office: Baldwin, Blair, Brearly, Gilman, Livingston, Madison, and Rutledge.

Prior political experience

Several of the Founding Fathers had extensive national, state, local and foreign political experience prior to the adoption of the Constitution in 1787. Some had been diplomats. Several had been members of the Continental Congress or elected president of that body. Nearly all of the 55 Constitutional Convention delegates had some experience in colonial and state government, and the majority had held county and local offices.Martin (1973); Greene (1973) Those who lacked national congressional experience were Bassett, Blair, Brearly, Broom, Davie, Dayton, Alexander Martin, Luther Martin, Mason, McClurg, Paterson, Charles Pinckney, Strong, and Yates.


{{See also|Religious views of George Washington|Religious views of Thomas Jefferson}}Franklin T. Lambert (2003) has examined the religious affiliations and beliefs of some of the Founders. Of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 28 were Anglicans (i.e. Church of England; or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), 21 were other Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics (D. Carroll and Fitzsimons).BOOK, The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, Lambert, Franklin T., Franklin T. Lambert, 2003, 2006, 978-0691126029, Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists.A few prominent Founding Fathers were anti-clerical Christians such as Thomas Jefferson,Letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813. "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government."Letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814. "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.""The Religion of Thomas Jefferson" {{webarchive|url= |date=November 23, 2011 }} Retrieved July 9, 2011 who constructed the Jefferson Bible, and Benjamin Franklin.Quoted in The New England Currant (July 23, 1722), "Silence Dogood, No. 9; Corruptio optimi est pessima." "And it is a sad Observation, that when the People too late see their Error, yet the Clergy still persist in their Encomiums on the Hypocrite; and when he happens to die for the Good of his Country, without leaving behind him the Memory of one good Action, he shall be sure to have his Funeral Sermon stuff'd with Pious Expressions which he dropt at such a Time, and at such a Place, and on such an Occasion; than which nothing can be more prejudicial to the Interest of Religion, nor indeed to the Memory of the Person deceas'd. The Reason of this Blindness in the Clergy is, because they are honourably supported (as they ought to be) by their People, and see nor feel nothing of the Oppression which is obvious and burdensome to every one else."Historian Gregg L. Frazer argues that the leading Founders (John Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Wilson, Morris, Madison, Hamilton, and Washington) were neither Christians nor Deists, but rather supporters of a hybrid "theistic rationalism".BOOK, The Religious Beliefs of America's Founders: Reason, Revelation, and Revolution, 978-0700620210, Gregg L., Frazer, University Press of Kansas, 2012, Many Founders deliberately avoided public discussion of their faith. Historian David L. Holmes uses evidence gleaned from letters, government documents, and second-hand accounts to identify their religious beliefs.David L. Holmes in The Faiths of the Founding Fathers (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Ownership of slaves and position on slavery

File:GW-painting.jpg|thumb |upright |right |Portrait of George Washington and his valet slave William Lee ]]{{See also|George Washington and slavery|Thomas Jefferson and slavery}}The founding fathers were not unified on the issue of slavery. In her study of Thomas Jefferson, historian Annette Gordon-Reed discusses this topic, "Others of the founders held slaves, but no other founder drafted the charter for freedom".Annette Gordon-Reed, Engaging Jefferson: Blacks and the Founding Father, The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 1 (Jan. 2000), pp. 171–182 In addition to Jefferson, George Washington, John Jay and many other of the Founding Fathers practiced slavery but were also conflicted by the institution which many saw as immoral and politically divisive.JOURNAL, The Founders and Slavery: John Jay Saves the Day,weblink The Economist, April 5, 2017, July 2011, Conversely, many founders such as Samuel Adams and John Adams were against slavery their entire lives. Benjamin Rush wrote a pamphlet in 1773 which harshly condemned slavery and beseeched the colonists to petition the king and put an end to the British African Company of Merchants which kept slavery and the slave trade going. The Continental Association of 1774 contains a clauseClause 2 severely limiting the slave trade as part of the general boycott of British trade.Notes on the history of slavery in Massachusetts, by George Henry Moore (author)The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A HistoryThe Loyalist Problem in Revolutionary New EnglandFranklin, though he was a key founder of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society,BOOK, William D., Wright, Critical Reflections on Black History, 2002, 125, Praeger Publishers, Westport, Connecticut, West Port, Connecticut, originally owned slaves whom he later manumitted. While serving in the Rhode Island Assembly, Stephen Hopkins introduced one of the earliest anti-slavery laws in the colonies, and John Jay would try unsuccessfully to abolish slavery as early as 1777 in the State of New York.The Selected Papers of John Jay. Columbia University. He nonetheless founded the New York Manumission Society in 1785, for which Hamilton became an officer. They and other members of the Society founded the African Free School in New York City, to educate the children of free blacks and slaves. When Jay was governor of New York in 1798, he helped secure and signed into law an abolition law; fully ending forced labor as of 1827. He freed his own slaves in 1798. Alexander Hamilton opposed slavery, as his experiences in life left him very familiar with slavery and its effect on slaves and on slaveholders,JOURNAL,weblink Horton, James O., 2004, Alexander Hamilton: Slavery and Race in a Revolutionary Generation, New York Journal of American History, 91, 3, 1151–1152, October 29, 2016, 10.2307/3663046, 3663046, although he did negotiate slave transactions for his wife's family, the Schuylers.WEB, Magness, Phillip, Alexander Hamilton's Exaggerated Abolitionism, April 6, 2017,weblink John Adams, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Paine never owned slaves.WEB, Encyclopædia Britannica, The Founding Fathers and Slavery, April 9, 2017,weblink Slaves and slavery are mentioned only indirectly in the 1787 Constitution. For example, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 prescribes that "three-fifths of all other Persons" are to be counted for the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives and direct taxes. Additionally, in Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3, slaves are referred to as "persons held in service or labor". The Founding Fathers, however, did make important efforts to contain slavery. Many Northern states had adopted legislation to end or significantly reduce slavery during and after the American Revolution.JOURNAL, Freehling, William W., The Founding Fathers and Slavery, February 1972, The American Historical Review, 77, 81–93, 1, 10.2307/1856595, 1856595, In 1782 Virginia passed a manumission law that allowed slave owners to free their slaves by will or deed.BOOK, The Cambridge History of Law in America, 2008, 278, As a result, thousands of slaves were manumitted in Virginia. Thomas Jefferson, in 1784, proposed to ban slavery in all the Western Territories, which failed to pass Congress by one vote. Partially following Jefferson's plan, Congress did ban slavery in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, for lands north of the Ohio River.The international slave trade was banned in all states except South Carolina, by 1800. Finally in 1807, President Jefferson called for and signed into law a Federally-enforced ban on the international slave trade throughout the U.S. and its territories. It became a federal crime to import or export a slave. However, the domestic slave trade was allowed, for expansion, or for diffusion of slavery into the Louisiana Territory.

Attendance at conventions

In the winter and spring of 1786–1787, twelve of the thirteen states chose a total of 74 delegates to attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Nineteen delegates chose not to accept election or attend the debates. Among them was Patrick Henry of Virginia, who in response to questions about his refusal to attend was quick to reply, "I smelled a rat." He believed that the frame of government convention organizers were intent on building would trample upon the rights of citizens.JOURNAL, The Summer of 1787: Getting a Constitution, Williams, J. D., Brigham Young University Studies, 27, 3, Summer 1987, 67–89, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 43041299, Also, Rhode Island's lack of representation at the convention was due to leader's suspicions of the convention delegates' motivations. As the colony was founded by Roger Williams as a sanctuary for Baptists, Rhode Island's absence at the Convention in part explains the absence of Baptist affiliation among those who did attend. Of the 55 who did attend at some point, no more than 38 delegates showed up at one time.See the discussion of the Convention in Clinton L. Rossiter, 1787: The Grand Convention (New York: Macmillan, 1966; reprint ed., with new foreword by Richard B. Morris, New York: W. W. Norton, 1987).

Spouses and children

Only four (Baldwin, Gilman, Jenifer, and Alexander Martin) were lifelong bachelors. Many of the Founding Fathers' wives, like Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Sarah Livingston Jay, Dolley Madison, Mary White Morris and Catherine Alexander Duer, were strong women who made significant contributions of their own to the fight for liberty.Griswold, Rufus (1855), The Republican Court, or, American Society in the Days of Washington, D. Appleton & Co.Sherman fathered the largest family: 15 children by two wives. At least nine (Bassett, Brearly, Johnson, Mason, Paterson, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Sherman, Wilson, and Wythe) married more than once. George Washington, who became known as "The Father of His Country",WEB, George Washington's Mount Vernon, Father of His Country, April 6, 2017,weblink had no biological children, though he and his wife raised two children from her first marriage and two grandchildren.

Signatories to founding documents

Among the state documents promulgated between 1774 and 1789 by the Continental Congress, four are paramount: the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. Altogether, 145 men signed at least one of the four documents. In each instance, roughly 50% of the names signed are unique to that document. Only a few people (6) signed three of the four, and only Roger Sherman of Connecticut signed all of them.WEB, Werther, Richard J., Analyzing the Founders: A Closer Look at the Signers of Four Founding Documents,weblink Journal of the American Revolution, October 24, 2017, May 2, 2019, The following persons signed one or more of these formative documents:{{hid|zed}}{| class="wikitable sortable"! style="width:150pt;" | Name! style="width:105pt;" | Province/state! style="width:15pt;" | #DS! style="width:25pt;" | CA (1774)! style="width:25pt;" | DI (1776)! style="width:25pt;" | AC (1777)! style="width:25pt;" | USC (1787)
Andrew Adams (politician)>Andrew Adams Connecticut 1 {{hidzed}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
John Adams >Massachusetts >zed}} {{hid|zed}}
Samuel Adams >Massachusetts >zed}}
Thomas Adams (politician)>Thomas Adams Virginia 1 {{hidzed}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
John Alsop >New York (state)>New York 1 {{yes}} {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Abraham Baldwin >Georgia (U.S. state)>Georgia 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
John Banister (lawyer)>John Banister Virginia 1 {{hidzed}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
Josiah Bartlett >New Hampshire >zed}} {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
Richard Bassett (Delaware politician)>Richard Bassett Delaware 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Gunning Bedford Jr. >Delaware >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Edward Biddle >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{hidzed}}
John Blair Jr.>John Blair Virginia 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Richard Bland >Virginia >zed}} {{hidzed}}
William Blount >North Carolina >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Simon Boerum >New York (state)>New York 1 {{yes}} {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Carter Braxton >Virginia >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
David Brearley >New Jersey >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Jacob Broom >Delaware >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Pierce Butler >South Carolina >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Charles Carroll of Carrollton >Maryland >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
Daniel Carroll >Maryland >zed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Richard Caswell >North Carolina >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Samuel Chase >Maryland >zed}} {{hid|zed}}
Abraham Clark >New Jersey >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
William Clingan >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{hidzed}}
George Clymer >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{yes}} {{hid| {{yes}}
John Collins (Continental Congress)>John Collins Rhode Island 1 {{hidzed}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
Stephen Crane (Continental Congress)>Stephen Crane New Jersey 1 {{yes}} {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Thomas Cushing >Massachusetts >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Francis Dana >Massachusetts >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Jonathan Dayton >New Jersey >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Silas Deane >Connecticut >zed}} {{hidzed}}
John De Hart >New Jersey >zed}} {{hidzed}}
John Dickinson (Pennsylvania and Delaware) >Delaware > 3{{efnzed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Pennsylvania >zed}} {{hidzed}}
William Henry Drayton >South Carolina >zed}} {{hidzed}}
James Duane >New York (state)>New York 2 {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
William Duer (Continental Congressman)>William Duer New York (state) >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Eliphalet Dyer >Connecticut >zed}} {{hidzed}}
William Ellery >Rhode Island >zed}} {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
William Few >Georgia (U.S. state)>Georgia 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Thomas Fitzsimons >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
William Floyd >New York (state)>New York 2 {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
Nathaniel Folsom >New Hampshire >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Benjamin Franklin >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{yes}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Christopher Gadsden >South Carolina >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Joseph Galloway >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Elbridge Gerry >Massachusetts >zed}} {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
Nicholas Gilman >New Hampshire >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Nathaniel Gorham >Massachusetts >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Button Gwinnett >Georgia (U.S. state)>Georgia 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Lyman Hall >Georgia (U.S. state)>Georgia 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Alexander Hamilton >New York (state)>New York 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
John Hancock >Massachusetts >zed}} {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
John Hanson >Maryland >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Cornelius Harnett >North Carolina >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Benjamin Harrison V>Benjamin Harrison Virginia 2 {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
John Hart (New Jersey politician)>John Hart New Jersey 2 {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
John Harvie >Virginia >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Patrick Henry >Virginia >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Joseph Hewes >North Carolina >zed}} {{hid|zed}}
Thomas Heyward Jr. >South Carolina >zed}} {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
Samuel Holten >Massachusetts >zed}} {{hidzed}}
William Hooper >North Carolina >zed}} {{hid|zed}}
Stephen Hopkins (politician)>Stephen Hopkins Rhode Island 2 {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
Francis Hopkinson >New Jersey >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
Titus Hosmer >Connecticut >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Charles Humphreys >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Samuel Huntington (statesman)>Samuel Huntington Connecticut 2 {{hidzed}}
Richard Hutson >South Carolina >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Jared Ingersoll >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
William Jackson (secretary)>William Jackson South Carolina 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
John Jay >New York (state)>New York 1 {{yes}} {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Thomas Jefferson >Virginia >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer >Maryland >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Thomas Johnson (jurist)>Thomas Johnson Maryland 1 {{yes}} {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
William Samuel Johnson >Connecticut >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Rufus King >Massachusetts >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
James Kinsey >New Jersey >zed}} {{hidzed}}
John Langdon (politician)>John Langdon New Hampshire 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Edward Langworthy >Georgia (U.S. state)>Georgia 1 {{hidzed}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
Henry Laurens >South Carolina >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Francis Lightfoot Lee >Virginia >zed}} {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
Richard Henry Lee >Virginia >zed}}
Francis Lewis >New York (state)>New York 2 {{hidzed}}
Philip Livingston >New York (state)>New York 2 {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
William Livingston >New Jersey >zed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
James Lovell (Continental Congress)>James Lovell Massachusetts 1 {{hidzed}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
Isaac Low >New York (state)>New York 1 {{yes}} {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Thomas Lynch (statesman)>Thomas Lynch South Carolina 1 {{yes}} {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Thomas Lynch Jr. >South Carolina >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
James Madison >Virginia >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Henry Marchant >Rhode Island >zed}} {{hidzed}}
John Mathews (lawyer)>John Mathews South Carolina 1 {{hidzed}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
James McHenry >Maryland >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Thomas McKean >Delaware >zed}}
Arthur Middleton >South Carolina >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
Henry Middleton >South Carolina >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Thomas Mifflin >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Gouverneur Morris New York (state) > 2{{efnzed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
Pennsylvania >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Lewis Morris >New York (state)>New York 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Robert Morris (financier)>Robert Morris Pennsylvania 3 {{hid| {{yes}}
John Morton (American politician)>John Morton Pennsylvania 2 {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
Thomas Nelson Jr. >Virginia >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
William Paca >Maryland >zed}} {{hid|zed}}
Robert Treat Paine >Massachusetts >zed}} {{hid|zed}}
William Paterson (judge)>William Paterson New Jersey 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Edmund Pendleton >Virginia >zed}} {{hidzed}}
John Penn (Continental Congress)>John Penn North Carolina 2 {{hidzed}}
Charles Pinckney (governor)>Charles Pinckney South Carolina 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney >South Carolina >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Peyton Randolph >Virginia >zed}} {{hidzed}}
George Read (American politician, born 1733)>George Read Delaware 3 {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Joseph Reed (politician)>Joseph Reed Pennsylvania 1 {{hidzed}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
Daniel Roberdeau >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Caesar Rodney >Delaware >zed}} {{hid|zed}}
George Ross (American politician)>George Ross Pennsylvania 2 {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
Benjamin Rush >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
Edward Rutledge >South Carolina >zed}} {{hid|zed}}
John Rutledge >South Carolina >zed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Nathaniel Scudder >New Jersey >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Roger Sherman >Connecticut >| {{yes}}
James Smith (delegate)>James Smith Pennsylvania 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Jonathan Bayard Smith >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Richard Smith (Continental Congress)>Richard Smith New Jersey 1 {{yes}} {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Richard Dobbs Spaight >North Carolina >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
Richard Stockton (Continental Congressman)>Richard Stockton New Jersey 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Thomas Stone >Maryland >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
John Sullivan (general)>John Sullivan New Hampshire 1 {{yes}} {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
George Taylor (delegate)>George Taylor Pennsylvania 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Edward Telfair >Georgia (U.S. state)>Georgia 1 {{hidzed}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
Matthew Thornton >New Hampshire >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
Matthew Tilghman >Maryland >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Nicholas Van Dyke (governor)>Nicholas Van Dyke Delaware 1 {{hidzed}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
George Walton >Georgia (U.S. state)>Georgia 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
John Walton (Continental Congress)>John Walton Georgia (U.S. state) >zed}} {{hidzed}}
Samuel Ward (American statesman)>Samuel Ward Rhode Island 1 {{yes}} {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
George Washington >Virginia >zed}} {{hid| {{yes}}
John Wentworth Jr. >New Hampshire >zed}} {{hidzed}}
William Whipple >New Hampshire >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}
John Williams (Continental Congress)>John Williams North Carolina 1 {{hidzed}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
William Williams (Continental Congress)>William Williams Connecticut 1 {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
Hugh Williamson >North Carolina >zed}} {{hidzed}} {{yes}}
James Wilson >Pennsylvania >zed}} {{yes}} {{hid| {{yes}}
Henry Wisner >New York (state)>New York 1 {{yes}} {{hidzed}} {{hid|zed}}
John Witherspoon >New Jersey >zed}} {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
Oliver Wolcott >Connecticut >zed}} {{yes}} {{yes}} {{hid|zed}}
George Wythe >Virginia >zed}} {{yes}} {{hidzed}}

Post-constitution life

Subsequent events in the lives of the Founding Fathers after the adoption of the Constitution were characterized by success or failure, reflecting the abilities of these men as well as the vagaries of fate.Martin (1973) Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe served in highest U.S. office of president. Jay would be appointed as president of the United States and later elected to two terms as Governor of New York.Seven (Fitzsimons, Gorham, Luther Martin, Mifflin, Robert Morris, Pierce, and Wilson) suffered serious financial reversals that left them in or near bankruptcy. Robert Morris spent three of the last years of his life imprisoned following bad land deals. Two, Blount and Dayton, were involved in possibly treasonous activities. Yet, as they had done before the convention, most of the group continued to render public service, particularly to the new government they had helped to create.

Youth and longevity

(File:Death Age-Founding Fathers.svg|thumb|right|Death age of the Founding Fathers)Many of the Founding Fathers were under 40 years old at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776: Alexander Hamilton was 19, Aaron Burr was 20, Gouverneur Morris was 24. The oldest were Benjamin Franklin, 70, and Samuel Whittemore, 81.WEB, Andrlik, Todd, How Old Were the Leaders of the American Revolution on July 4, 1776?,weblink A few Founding Fathers lived into their nineties, including: Paine Wingate, who died at age 98; Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who died at age 95; Charles Thomson, who died at 94; William Samuel Johnson, who died at 92; and John Adams, who died at 90. Among those who lived into their eighties were Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Whittmore, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Armstrong Jr., Hugh Williamson, and George Wythe. Approximately 16 died while in their seventies, and 21 in their sixties. Three (Alexander Hamilton, Richard Dobbs Spaight, and Button Gwinnett) were killed in duels. Two, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, died on the same day, July 4, 1826.WEB, History, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams Die,weblink The last remaining founders, also poetically called the "Last of the Romans", lived well into the nineteenth century.BOOK, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Eugene D. Genovese, The Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders' Worldview,weblink 2005, Cambridge University Press, 278, 9780521850650, The last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence was Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who died in 1832.WEB, Irish Americans in the U.S. Congress, Hallac, Joanna,weblink March 16, 2012, U.S. Capitol Historical Society, Washington, D.C., May 9, 2019, The last surviving member of the Continental Congress was John Armstrong Jr., who died in 1843. He gained this distinction in 1838 upon the death of the only other surviving delegate, Paine Wingate.WEB, John Armstrong, Jr. Passes Away, April 1, 2018,weblink Today in Masonic History,, May 9, 2019,

Other notable people of the period

The following men and women who had little or nothing to do with actually setting up the American federal government are occasionally called "founders" of the United States by some 21st-century writers:{{cn|reason=Why whom? Is that what the following cite indicates? If so, please elaborate for the reader.|date=March 2019}}{{Div col}}
  • Abigail Adams, advisor, First Lady and mother of a president
  • Ethan Allen, military and political leader in VermontJOURNAL, McWilliams, J., The Faces of Ethan Allen: 1760–1860, The New England Quarterly, 49, 2, 257–282, 10.2307/364502, 1976, 364502,
  • Richard Allen, African-American bishopNewman, Richard. Freedom's Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers (NYU Press, 2009).
  • John Bartram, botanist, horticulturist and explorerJane Goodall (August 27, 2013). Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants. Grand Central Publishing. pp. 60–61. {{ISBN|978-1-4555-1321-5}}.
  • Egbert Benson, politician from New YorkBallenas, Carl. Images of America: Jamaica (Arcadia Publishing, 2011).
  • Elias Boudinot, New Jersey delegate to Continental CongressHolmes, David (2006). The Faiths of the Founding Fathers. Oxford University Press US.
  • Aaron Burr, Vice President under JeffersonWood, Gordon S. (2007). Revolutionary Characters, What Made the Founding Fathers Different. New York: Penguin Books, pp 225–242.
  • George Rogers Clark, army general
  • George Clinton, New York governor and Vice President of the U.S.R. B. Bernstein (2009). The Founding Fathers Reconsidered New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Tench Coxe, economist in the Continental CongressBOOK, Stephen Yafa, Cotton: The Biography of a Revolutionary Fiber,weblink 2006, Penguin, 75, 9780143037224,
  • William Richardson Davie, delegate to the Constitutional Convention (leaving before he could sign it), and Governor of North Carolina
  • Albert Gallatin, politician and Treasury SecretaryDungan, Nicholas (2010). Gallatin: America's Swiss Founding Father. NYU Press.
  • Horatio Gates, army general
  • Nathanael Greene, army general
  • Nathan Hale, captured U.S. soldier executed in 1776
  • Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, wife of Alexander HamiltonRoberts, Cokie (2005). Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. Harper Perennial.Roberts, Cokie (2008). Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation. Harper.
  • Esek Hopkins, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Navy
  • James Iredell, advocate for Constitution, judge
  • John Paul Jones, navy captain
  • Henry Knox, army general, Secretary of War
  • Tadeusz KoÅ›ciuszko, Polish army general
  • Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, French army general
  • John Laurance, New York politician and judge who served as Judge Advocate General during the Revolution.Jones, Keith Marshall, III. John Laurance: The Immigrant Founding Father America Never Knew. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 2019.
  • Henry Lee III, army officer and Virginia governorBuchanan, John. "Founding Fighters: The Battlefield Leaders Who Made American Independence (review)". The Journal of Military History (Volume 71, Number 2, April 2007), pp. 522–524.
  • Robert R. Livingston, diplomat and juristEncyclopædia Britannica. Founding fathers: the essential guide to the men who made America (John Wiley and Sons, 2007).
  • William Maclay, Pennsylvania politician and U.S. Senator
  • Dolley Madison, spouse of President James Madison
  • John Marshall, fourth Chief Justice of the United States
  • George Mason, revolutionary writer, co-father of the Bill of RightsBOOK, Broadwater, Jeff, George Mason, Forgotten Founder, 2006, Kindle, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, University of North Carolina Press, {{sfnRef, Broadwater, | isbn=978-0-8078-3053-6| oclc=67239589| url-access=registration| url=}}
  • Philip Mazzei, Italian physician, merchant and authorLaGumina, Salvatore (2000). The Italian American experience: an encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis, p. 361.
  • James Monroe, fifth President of the United StatesBOOK, Unger, Harlow, James Monroe: The Last Founding Father, Da Capo Press, New York, 2009, 978-0-306-81808-0,
  • Daniel Morgan, military hero and Virginia Congressman
  • Samuel Nicholas, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Marines
  • James Otis Jr., Massachusetts lawyer and politicianBOOK, The Gendering of American Politics: Founding Mothers, Founding Fathers, and Political Patriarchy, xi, Mark E., Kann, ABC-CLIO, 1999, 978-0-275-96112-1,
  • Thomas Paine, author of Common SenseJOURNAL, Founding Father Thomas Paine: He Genuinely Abhorred Slavery, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 48, 45, 2005, 25073236, David Braff (2009). "Forgotten Founding Father: The Impact of Thomas Paine". In Joyce Chumbley (ed.), Thomas Paine: In Search of the Common Good (2009) pp. 39–43
  • Andrew Pickens, army general and South Carolina congressman
  • Timothy Pickering, U.S. Secretary of State from MassachusettsBurstein, Andrew. "Politics and Personalities: Garry Wills takes a new look at a forgotten founder, slavery and the shaping of America", Chicago Tribune (November 9, 2003). "Forgotten founders such as Pickering and Morris made as many waves as those whose faces stare out from our currency."
  • Israel Putnam, army general
  • Edmund Randolph, first United States Attorney General, second Secretary of StateWEB,weblink Founding Fathers: Virginia, FindLaw Constitutional Law Center, 2008, 14 November 2008,
  • Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, French army general
  • Haym Solomon, financier and spy for Continental ArmySchwartz, Laurens R. Jews and the American Revolution: Haym Solomon and Others, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 1987.
  • Thomas Sumter, South Carolina military hero and member of both houses of Congress
  • Richard Varick, Private secretary to George Washington, mayor of New York City, 2nd attorney general of New York State, founder of the American Bible Society
  • Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Prussian officer
  • Joseph Warren, doctor, revolutionary leaderRafael, Ray. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Founding Fathers: And the Birth of Our Nation (Penguin, 2011).
  • Mercy Otis Warren, political writer
  • Anthony Wayne, army general and politician
  • Noah Webster, writer, lexicographer, educatorKendall, Joshua. The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture (Penguin 2011).
  • Thomas Willing, bankerJOURNAL, Wright, R. E., Thomas Willing (1731–1821): Philadelphia Financier and Forgotten Founding Father, Pennsylvania History, 63, 4, 525–560, 27773931, 1996,
{{Div col end}}


Institutions formed by Founders

Several Founding Fathers were instrumental in establishing schools and societal institutions that still exist today:
  • Franklin founded the University of Pennsylvania, while Jefferson founded the University of Virginia.
  • Rush founded Dickinson College and Franklin College, (today Franklin and Marshall) as well as the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the oldest medical society in America.
  • Hamilton founded the New York Post, as well as the United States Coast Guard.
  • KnoxWEB, Society of the Cincinnati, The Founding of the Society, 1783–1784, April 9, 2017,weblink helped found the Society of the Cincinnati in 1783; the society was predicated on service as an officer in the Revolutionary War and heredity. Members included Washington, Hamilton and Burr. Other Founders like Sam Adams, John Adams, Franklin and Jay criticized the formation of what they considered to be an elitist body and threat to the Constitution. Franklin would later accept an honorary membership though Jay declined.WEB, History:The Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut,weblink

Scholarship on the Founders

Articles and books by twenty-first century historians combined with the digitization of primary sources like handwritten letters continue to contribute to an encyclopedic body of knowledge about the Founding Fathers.

Historians who focus on the Founding Fathers

Ron Chernow won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of George Washington. His bestselling book about Alexander Hamilton inspired the blockbuster musical of the same name.Joseph J. Ellis – According to Ellis, the concept of the Founding Fathers of the U.S. emerged in the 1820s as the last survivors died out. Ellis says "the founders", or "the fathers", comprised an aggregate of semi-sacred figures whose particular accomplishments and singular achievements were decidedly less important than their sheer presence as a powerful but faceless symbol of past greatness. For the generation of national leaders coming of age in the 1820s and 1830s – men like Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C. Calhoun – "the founders" represented a heroic but anonymous abstraction whose long shadow fell across all followers and whose legendary accomplishments defied comparison.We can win no laurels in a war for independence," Webster acknowledged in 1825. "Earlier and worthier hands have gathered them all. Nor are there places for us ... [as] the founders of states. Our fathers have filled them. But there remains to us a great duty of defence and preservation.Joseph J. Ellis; Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams. (2001) p. 214.Joanne B. Freeman – Freeman's area of expertise is the life and legacy of Alexander Hamilton as well as political culture of the revolutionary and early national eras.NEWS, The New York Times, Jennifer Schuessler, Up From the Family Basement, a Little-Seen Hamilton Trove,weblink January 9, 2017, -WEB, The New York Times, Joanne B. Freeman, The Long History of Political Idiocy,weblink WEB, Slate, Joanne B. Freeman, How Hamilton Uses History: What Lin-Manuel Miranda Included in His Portrait of a Heroic, Complicated Founding Father—and What He Left Out, April 9, 2017,weblink Freeman has documented the often opposing visions of the Founding Fathers as they tried to build a new framework for governance, "Regional distrust, personal animosity, accusation, suspicion, implication, and denouncement—this was the tenor of national politics from the outset." WEB, The Baffler, Chris Bray, Tip and Gip Sip and Quip-The politics of never, April 11, 2017,weblink July 6, 2014, Annette Gordon-Reed is an American historian and Harvard Law School professor. She is noted for changing scholarship on Thomas Jefferson regarding his relationship with Sally Hemings and her children. She has studied the challenges facing the Founding Fathers particularly as it relates to their position and actions on slavery. She points out "the central dilemma at the heart of American democracy: the desire to create a society based on liberty and equality" that yet does not extend those privileges to all."Jack N. Rakove – Thomas JeffersonPeter S. Onuf – Thomas Jefferson

Noted collections of the Founding Fathers

In stage and film

The Founding Fathers were portrayed in the Tony Award–winning musical 1776, which depicted the debates over, and eventual adoption of, the Declaration of Independence; the stage production was adapted into the 1972 film of the same name.{{Citation needed|date=August 2019}}Several Founding Fathers—Hamilton, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Laurens and Burr—were reimagined in Hamilton, a production inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton,{{Citation needed|date=August 2019}} with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The musical won eleven Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.WEB, Playbill, Robert Viagas, Hamilton Tops Tony Awards With 11 Wins, April 9, 2017,weblink June 13, 2016,

Children's books

In their 2015 children's book, The Founding Fathers author Jonah Winter and illustrator Barry Blitt categorized 14 leading patriots into two teams based on their contributions to the formation of America – the Varsity Squad (Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, John Adams, Madison, Jay, and Hamilton) and the Junior Varsity Squad (Sam Adams, Hancock, Henry, Morris, Marshall, Rush, and Paine).Winter, Jonah and Blitt, Barry, The Founding Fathers!Those Horse-Ridin', Fiddle-Playin', Book-Readin', Gun-Totin' Gentlemen Who Started America Simon and Schuster, New York (2015)

See also



Further reading

  • American National Biography Online, (2000).
  • Bailyn, Bernard. To Begin the World Anew Knopf, 2003.
  • Bernstein, Richard B. Are We to Be a Nation? The Making of the Constitution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987.
  • Bernstein, R.B. The Founding Fathers Reconsidered (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • Brown, Richard D. "The Founding Fathers of 1776 and 1787: A Collective View," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., Vol. 33, No. 3 (July 1976), pp. 465–480 {{JSTOR|1921543}}.
  • Commager, Henry Steele. "Leadership in Eighteenth-Century America and Today," Daedalus 90 (Fall 1961): 650–673, reprinted in Henry Steele Commager, Freedom and Order (New York: George Braziller, 1966).
  • Ellis, Joseph J. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000).
  • Ellis, Joseph J. The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783–1789 (New York: First Vintage Books Edition, May 2016).
  • Freeman, Joanne B. Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.
  • Green, Steven K. Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • Greene, Jack P. "The Social Origins of the American Revolution: An Evaluation and an Interpretation," Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 88, No. 1 (Mar. 1973), pp. 1–22 {{JSTOR|2148646}}.
  • Harris, P.M.G., "The Social Origins of American Leaders: The Demographic Foundations, " Perspectives in American History 3 (1969): 159–364.
  • Lefer, David. The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution (2013)
  • Kann, Mark E. The Gendering of American Politics: Founding Mothers, Founding Fathers, and Political Patriarchy (New York: Frederick Praeger, 1999).
  • Adrienne Koch; Power, Morals, and the Founding Fathers: Essays in the Interpretation of the American Enlightenment (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1961).
  • K. M. Kostyal. Founding Fathers: The Fight for Freedom and the Birth of American Liberty (2014)
  • Franklin T. Lambert, The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America. (Princeton, NJ Princeton University Press, 2003).
  • James Kirby Martin, Men in Rebellion: Higher Governmental Leaders and the coming of the American Revolution, (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1973; reprint, New York: Free Press, 1976).
  • Richard B. Morris, Seven Who Shaped Our Destiny: The Founding Fathers as Revolutionaries (New York: Harper & Row, 1973).
  • Robert Previdi; "Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America," Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 29, 1999
  • Rakove, Jack. Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2010) 487 pages; scholarly study focuses on how the Founders moved from private lives to public action, beginning in the 1770s
  • Cokie Roberts. Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. New York: William Morrow, 2005.
  • Gordon S. Wood. Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different (New York: Penguin Press, 2006)

External links

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