The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers, were a group of philosophers, politicians, and writers who led the American Revolution against the Kingdom of Great Britain. Most were descendants of colonists settled in the Thirteen Colonies in North America. Historian Richard B. Morris in 1973 identified the following seven figures as the key Founding Fathers: Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin were members of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence.
Founding FathersFounding FatherFounding Father of the United States
This need to protect virtue was a philosophical underpinning of the American Revolution. The "Founding Fathers" were strong advocates of republican values, especially Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. Thomas Jefferson defined a republic as: "... a government by its citizens in mass, acting directly and personally, according to rules established by the majority; and that every other government is more or less republican, in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of the direct action of the citizens.
American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (1998). Miller, John C. Triumph of Freedom, 1775-1783 (1948) ISBN: 0-313-20779-8. Full text of Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789. Interactive Flash Version of John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence.
Battle of LexingtonLexington and ConcordLexington
The Minute Men: The First Fight: Myths & Realities of the American Revolution, Pergamon-Brassey's, Washington, D.C., 1989. ISBN: 0-08-036733-X. This book provides a military perspective on the battle and its leaders. * Raphael, Ray and Marie Raphael (2015). The Spirit of '74: How the American Revolution Began. New York: New Press. * Greenwalt, Phillip S., and Robert Orrison. A Single Blow: The Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Beginning of the American Revolution, April 19, 1775. Emerging Revolutionary War Series. El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-61121-379-9. National Park Service site for Minute Man National Historical Park.
Tom PainePainePaine, Thomas
One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution and inspired the patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era ideals of transnational human rights. Saul K. Padover described him as "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination". Born in Thetford in the English county of Norfolk, Paine migrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, arriving just in time to participate in the American Revolution.
CongressContinental Congressman from DelawareDelegate to the Continental Congress
The Second Continental Congress convened on May 10, 1775, at Philadelphia's State House, passing the resolution for independence the following year on July 2, 1776, and publicly asserting the decision two days later with the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson of Virginia drafted the declaration, and John Adams was a leader in the debates in favor of its adoption. John Hancock of Massachusetts was the president during those debates. To govern during the American Revolutionary War, the Second Continental Congress continued, meeting at various locations, until it became the Congress of the Confederation when the Articles of Confederation were ratified on March 1, 1781.
This is a timeline of United States history, comprising important legal and territorial changes as well as political, social, and economic events in the United States and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of the United States.
In an original copy of a letter discovered November 2009 from Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Bringhurst, caretaker of Dickinson in his later years, Jefferson responded to news of Dickinson's death: "A more estimable man, or truer patriot, could not have left us. Among the first of the advocates for the rights of his country when assailed by Great Britain, he continued to the last the orthodox advocate of the true principles of our new government and his name will be consecrated in history as one of the great worthies of the revolution." He shares with Thomas McKean the distinction of serving as Chief Executive of both Delaware and Pennsylvania after the Declaration of Independence.
The Boston Tea PartyTea PartyBoston
The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams. New York: Knopf, 1980. ISBN: 0-394-51096-8. Raphael, Ray. Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past. New York: The New Press, 2004. ISBN: 1-56584-921-3. Thomas, Peter D. G. The Townshend Duties Crisis: The Second Phase of the American Revolution, 1767–1773. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. ISBN: 0-19-822967-4. Thomas, Peter D. G. Tea Party to Independence: The Third Phase of the American Revolution, 1773–1776. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991. ISBN: 0-19-820142-7. Young, Alfred F. The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution. Boston: Beacon Press, 1999.
Independence Day4th of JulyFourth of July
From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress. Historians have long disputed whether members of Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.
Governor HancockJohn Hancock IIIfirst signer
The financial company passed on the name to the John Hancock Tower in Boston, the John Hancock Center in Chicago, as well as the John Hancock Student Village at Boston University. American Revolution. List of richest Americans in history. List of wealthiest historical figures. Signing of the United States Declaration of Independence. United States Declaration of Independence. Baxter, William T. The House of Hancock: Business in Boston, 1724–1775. 1945. Reprint, New York: Russell & Russell, 1965. Deals primarily with Thomas Hancock's business career. Brandes, Paul D. John Hancock’s Life and Speeches: A Personalized Vision of the American Revolution, 1763–1793.
Independence MallIndependence Hall areaIndependence Mall area
Although the measure amounted to a virtual declaration of war by the British, Congress did not have immediate authority to declare independence until each individual colony authorized its delegates to vote for independence. On June 11, Congress appointed the "Committee of Five," consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut, to draft an official declaration of independence. Congress unanimously adopted its final version of the Declaration on July 4, marking the formation of the United States of America.
LafayetteMarquis de LafayetteGeneral Lafayette
Thomas Jefferson Letter, 30 November 1813 From the Collections at the Library of Congress.
Robert R. LivingstonRobert LivingstonChancellor Livingston
He was a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence, along with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Roger Sherman. Livingston administered the Oath of Office to George Washington when he assumed the presidency in 1789. Livingston was the eldest son of Judge Robert Livingston (1718–1775) and Margaret ( Beekman) Livingston, uniting two wealthy Hudson River valley families. He had nine brothers and sisters, all of whom wed and made their homes on the Hudson River near the family seat at Clermont Manor. Among his siblings was his younger brother, Edward Livingston (1764-1836), who also served as U.S.
George IIIKing George IIIKing George
The grievances in the United States Declaration of Independence were presented as "repeated injuries and usurpations" that he had committed to establish an "absolute Tyranny" over the colonies. The Declaration's wording has contributed to the American public's perception of George as a tyrant.
Revolutionary WarAmerican RevolutionAmerican War of Independence
George Washington in the American Revolution. Intelligence in the American Revolutionary War. List of American Revolutionary War battles. List of British Forces in the American Revolutionary War. List of Continental Forces in the American Revolutionary War. List of infantry weapons in the American Revolution. List of plays and films about the American Revolution. List of revolutions and rebellions. Naval operations in the American Revolutionary War. Treaty of El Pardo (1778). Black, Jeremy. War for America: The Fight for Independence, 1775–1783. 2001. Analysis from a noted British military historian. Benn, Carl Historic Fort York, 1793–1993. Toronto: Dundurn Press Ltd. 1993.
American patriotPatrick Henry, Junrthat revolutionary patriot
Despite his qualms, Henry served as one of Virginia's presidential electors, voting for Washington (elected President) and John Adams (elected Vice President). Henry was disappointed when the First Congress passed only amendments dealing with personal liberties, not those designed to weaken the government. A final cause Henry engaged in before leaving the House of Delegates at the end of 1790 was over the Funding Act of 1790, by which the federal government took over the debts of the states, much of which dated from the Revolutionary War.
George Mason IVaddressedMason
Mason left no extensive paper trail, no autobiography like Franklin, no diary like Washington or John Adams. Washington left papers collected into 100 volumes; for Mason, with many documents lost to fire, there are only three. Mason fought on the side that failed, both at Philadelphia and Richmond, leaving him a loser in a history written by winners—even his speeches to the Constitutional Convention descend through the pen of Madison, a supporter of ratification. After the Richmond convention, he was, according to Senese, "a prophet without honor in his own country".
Treaty of Alliance1778 Treaty of Alliancetreaty
Those Americans who disliked the proposition of being eternally tied to France, most notably the Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and his supporters in the Federalist Party, seized on the French Revolution as a chance to officially nullify the treaty. Despite a consensus of European monarchs who considered the treaty nullified by the execution of King Louis XVI during the French Revolution, President George Washington sided with his Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and declared the treaty would remain in effect, despite the regime change in France.
JayChief Justice John Jayfirst Chief Justice of the United States
His mission was to get financial aid, commercial treaties and recognition of American independence. The royal court of Spain refused to officially receive Jay as the Minister of the United States, as it refused to recognize American Independence until 1783, fearing that such recognition could spark revolution in their own colonies. Jay, however, convinced Spain to loan $170,000 to the US government. He departed Spain on May 20, 1782. On June 23, 1782, Jay reached Paris, where negotiations to end the American Revolutionary War would take place. Benjamin Franklin was the most experienced diplomat of the group, and thus Jay wished to lodge near him, in order to learn from him.
Dr. Benjamin RushBenjamin F. RushRush
Rush later expressed regret for his gossip against Washington. In a letter to John Adams in 1812, Rush wrote, "He [Washington] was the highly favored instrument whose patriotism and name contributed greatly to the establishment of the independence of the United States." Rush also successfully pleaded with Washington's biographers Judge Bushrod Washington and Chief Justice John Marshall to delete his association with those stinging words.
Secretary of the Continental Congress
He was allied with Benjamin Franklin, the leader of the anti-proprietary party, but the two men parted politically during the Stamp Act crisis in 1765. Thomson became a leader of Philadelphia's Sons of Liberty. He was married to the sister of Benjamin Harrison V, another signer, as delegate, of the Declaration of Independence. Thomson was a leader in the revolutionary crisis of the early 1770s. John Adams called him the "Samuel Adams of Philadelphia". Thomson served as the secretary of the Continental Congress through its entirety. Through those 15 years, the Congress saw many delegates come and go, but Thomson's dedication to recording the debates and decisions provided continuity.
VACommonwealth of VirginiaVa.
On May 15, 1776, the Convention declared Virginia's independence from the British Empire and adopted George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was then included in a new constitution. Another Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, drew upon Mason's work in drafting the national Declaration of Independence. When the American Revolutionary War began, George Washington was selected to head the colonial army. During the war, the capital was moved to Richmond at the urging of Governor Thomas Jefferson, who feared that Williamsburg's coastal location would make it vulnerable to British attack.
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual UnionArticles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.Confederation
The resulting paralysis embarrassed and frustrated many American nationalists, including George Washington. Many of the most prominent national leaders, such as Washington, John Adams, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin, retired from public life, served as foreign delegates, or held office in state governments; and for the general public, local government and self-rule seemed quite satisfactory. This served to exacerbate Congress's impotence. Inherent weaknesses in the confederation's frame of government also frustrated the ability of the government to conduct foreign policy.
The American Revolution was the main source of civil religion. It produced a Moses-like leader (George Washington), prophets (Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine), apostles (John Adams, Benjamin Franklin) and martyrs (Boston Massacre, Nathan Hale), as well as devils (Benedict Arnold), sacred places (Valley Forge), rituals (raising the Liberty Tree), flags (the Betsy Ross flag), sacred holidays (July 4th) and a holy scripture (The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution). The elitists who ran the Federalists were conscious of the need to boost voter identification with their party.