Thomas Jefferson

JeffersonPresident JeffersonJeffersonian
Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

American Revolution

RevolutionRevolutionary WarRevolutionary
The Declaration of Independence was drafted largely by Thomas Jefferson and presented by the committee; it was unanimously adopted by the entire Congress on July 4, and each of the colonies became independent and autonomous. The next step was to form a union to facilitate international relations and alliances. The Second Continental Congress approved the "Articles of Confederation" for ratification by the states on November 15, 1777; the Congress immediately began operating under the Articles' terms, providing a structure of shared sovereignty during prosecution of the war and facilitating international relations and alliances with France and Spain.

Articles of Confederation

Articles of Confederation and Perpetual UnionConfederationArticles
Beyond improving their existing association, the records of the Second Continental Congress show that the need for a declaration of independence was intimately linked with the demands of international relations. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution before the Continental Congress declaring the colonies independent; at the same time he also urged Congress to resolve "to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances" and to prepare a plan of confederation for the newly independent states. Congress then created three overlapping committees to draft the Declaration, a model treaty, and the Articles of Confederation.

American Revolutionary War

Revolutionary WarAmerican War of IndependenceAmerican Revolution
Both sides used partisan warfare but the Americans effectively suppressed Loyalist activity when British regulars were not in the area. Seeking to coordinate military efforts, the Continental Congress established a regular army on June 14, 1775, and appointed George Washington as commander-in-chief. The development of the Continental Army was always a work in progress, and Washington used both his regulars and state militia throughout the war. Three current branches of the United States Military trace their institutional roots to the American Revolutionary War; the United States Army comes from the Continental Army, formed by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775.

Thirteen Colonies

American coloniescoloniescolonial
In response, the colonies formed bodies of elected representatives known as Provincial Congresses, and Colonists began to boycott imported British merchandise. Later in 1774, 12 colonies sent representatives to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. During the Second Continental Congress, the remaining colony of Georgia sent delegates, as well. Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage feared a confrontation with the colonists; he requested reinforcements from Britain, but the British government was not willing to pay for the expense of stationing tens of thousands of soldiers in the Thirteen Colonies. Gage was instead ordered to seize Patriot arsenals.

Samuel Adams

Sam AdamsSamuelAdams
Samuel Adams (September 27 1722 – October 2, 1803) was an American statesman, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a politician in colonial Massachusetts, a leader of the movement that became the American Revolution, and one of the architects of the principles of American republicanism that shaped the political culture of the United States. He was a second cousin to his fellow Founding Father, President John Adams. Adams was born in Boston, brought up in a religious and politically active family. A graduate of Harvard College, he was an unsuccessful businessman and tax collector before concentrating on politics.

Lee Resolution

resolution of independenceresolutiona resolution
In the Second Continental Congress, the movement towards independence was guided principally by an informal alliance of delegates eventually known as the "Adams-Lee Junto", after Samuel Adams and John Adams of Massachusetts and Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. On May 15, 1776, the revolutionary Virginia Convention, then meeting in Williamsburg, passed a resolution instructing Virginia's delegates in the Continental Congress "to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain".

George Washington

WashingtonGeneral WashingtonGeneral George Washington
George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Previously, he led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War for Independence. He presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the U.S. Constitution and a federal government. Washington has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation. Washington received his initial military training and command with the Virginia Regiment during the French and Indian War.

John Adams

AdamsJohnPresident John Adams
Adams was a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress and became a principal leader of the Revolution. He assisted in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and was its foremost advocate in Congress. As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the peace treaty with Great Britain and secured vital governmental loans. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, which influenced the United States' own constitution, as did his earlier Thoughts on Government. Adams was elected to two terms as vice president under President George Washington and was elected as the United States' second president in 1796.

United States Congress

CongressU.S. CongressCongressional
Congress is directly responsible for the governing of the District of Columbia, the current seat of the federal government. The First Continental Congress was a gathering of representatives from twelve of the thirteen British Colonies in North America. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, referring to the new nation as the "United States of America". The Articles of Confederation in 1781 created the Congress of the Confederation, a unicameral body with equal representation among the states in which each state had a veto over most decisions.

President of the Continental Congress

PresidentPresident of CongressPresident of the Confederation Congress
The President of the Continental Congress, later known as the President of the Congress of Confederation, was the presiding officer of the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates that emerged as the first (transitional) national government of the United States during the American Revolution. The president was a member of Congress elected by the other delegates to serve as a neutral discussion moderator during meetings of Congress. Designed to be a largely ceremonial position without much influence, the office was unrelated to the later office of President of the United States.

Committee of Five

committeefive-man committeefive-man drafting committee
Dunlap broadside: The Dunlap broadside of the Declaration of Independence, as first published on July 5, 1776, entitled "A DECLARATION By The Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA In General Congress assembled". Goddard broadside: The Goddard broadside of the Declaration of Independence, as first published on January 31, 1777, entitled "The unanimous DECLARATION of the Thirteen United States of AMERICA".

Congress of the Confederation

Confederation CongressCongressContinental Congress
History of the United States (1776–1789). List of delegates to the Continental Congress. Major documents from the Congress, including journals, letters, debates, via Library of Congress. Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1789.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PACity of Philadelphia
The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States. Philadelphia is one of the oldest municipalities in the United States. William Penn, an English Quaker, founded the city in 1682 to serve as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony. Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 at the Second Continental Congress, and the Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787.

Patrick Henry

American patriotPatrick Henry, Junrthat revolutionary patriot
Patrick Henry has been honored twice on U.S. postage stamps. On October 7, 1955, the United States Post Office Department issued a $1 definitive stamp honoring Henry, one of the high values in the Liberty issue. A painting of Henry by American artist Alonzo Chappel (1828–1887) was used as the inspiration and as the model by the engraver for this issue. In 1960–1961, the U.S. Post Office issued the American Credo series, six stamps with well-known patriotic quotations. Patrick Henry's most famous words are inscribed on the final issue in the series, a 4-cent stamp first released in Richmond on January 11, 1961.

Constitution of the United States

United States ConstitutionU.S. ConstitutionConstitution
The Continental Congress could print money but it was worthless. Congress could borrow money, but couldn't pay it back. No state paid all their U.S. taxes; some paid nothing. Some few paid an amount equal to interest on the national debt owed to their citizens, but no more. No interest was paid on debt owed foreign governments. By 1786, the United States would default on outstanding debts as their dates came due. Internationally, the United States had little ability to defend its sovereignty. Most of the troops in the 625-man United States Army were deployed facing – but not threatening – British forts on American soil.

Benjamin Franklin

Ben FranklinFranklinFranklin, Benjamin
A signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Franklin is considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. His pervasive influence in the early history of the nation has led to his being jocularly called "the only President of the United States who was never President of the United States." Franklin's likeness is ubiquitous. Since 1928, it has adorned American $100 bills, which are sometimes referred to in slang as "Benjamins" or "Franklins." From 1948 to 1963, Franklin's portrait was on the half dollar. He has appeared on a $50 bill and on several varieties of the $100 bill from 1914 and 1918. Franklin appears on the $1,000 Series EE Savings bond.

List of delegates to the Continental Congress

Delegate to the Continental CongressDelegateContinental Congress Delegate
The Continental Congress was initially a convention of delegates from several British American colonies at the height of the American Revolution era, who spoke and acted collectively for the people of the Thirteen colonies that ultimately became the United States of America. The term most specifically refers to the First Continental Congress of 1774 and the Second Continental Congress of 1775–81. More broadly, it also refers to the Congress of the Confederation of 1781–89, thus covering the entire period the Continental Congress served as the chief legislative and executive body of the U.S. government.

Thomas Paine

Tom PainePainePaine, Thomas
In "Public Good," Paine argued that these lands belonged to the American government as represented by the Continental Congress. This angered many of Paine's wealthy Virginia friends, including Richard Henry Lee of the powerful Lee family, who had been Paine's closest ally in Congress, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, all of whom had claimed to huge wild tracts that Paine was advocating should be government owned. The view that Paine's had advocated eventually prevailed when the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was passed.

James Monroe

MonroePresident MonroePresident James Monroe
James Monroe (April 28, 1758 – July 4, 1831) was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat and Founding Father who served as the fifth president of the United States from 1817 to 1825. A member of the Democratic-Republican Party, Monroe was the last president of the Virginia dynasty; his presidency coincided with the Era of Good Feelings. He is perhaps best known for issuing the Monroe Doctrine, a policy of opposing European colonialism in the Americas. He also served as the governor of Virginia, a member of the United States Senate, the U.S. ambassador to France and Britain, the seventh Secretary of State, and the eighth Secretary of War.

Roger Sherman

Elizabeth Hartwell
Roger Sherman (April 19, 1721 – July 23, 1793) was an early American statesman and lawyer, as well as a Founding Father of the United States. He is the only person to have signed all four great state papers of the United States: the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. Born in Newton, Massachusetts, known today to be located in Canton, Massachusetts, Sherman established a legal career in Litchfield County, Connecticut despite a lack of formal education. After a period in the Connecticut House of Representatives, he served as a Justice of the Superior Court of Connecticut from 1766 to 1789.

Intolerable Acts

Coercive Actsactsamong other actions
Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, for example, described the acts as "a most wicked System for destroying the liberty of America." The citizens of Boston not only viewed this as an act of unnecessary and cruel punishment, but the Coercive Acts drew hatred toward Britain even further. As a result of the Intolerable Acts, even more colonists turned against British rule. Great Britain hoped that the Intolerable Acts would isolate radicals in Massachusetts and cause American colonists to concede the authority of Parliament over their elected assemblies.

Francis Hopkinson

HopkinsonHopkinson, Francis
He designed the first official American flag, Continental paper money, and the first United States coin. He was also one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, as a delegate from New Jersey. He served in various roles in the early United States government including as a member of the Second Continental Congress and as a member of the Navy Board. He later became the first federal judge of the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania on September 30, 1789.

Virginia

Commonwealth of VirginiaVAState of Virginia
In the House of Burgesses, opposition to taxation without representation was led by Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee, among others. Virginians began to coordinate their actions with other colonies in 1773, and sent delegates to the Continental Congress the following year. After the House of Burgesses was dissolved by the royal governor in 1774, Virginia's revolutionary leaders continued to govern via the Virginia Conventions. 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.

First Continental Congress

FirstContinental Congress1st Continental Congress
Of these, only Georgia would ultimately send delegates to the next Congress. * Peter Force, ed. American Archives, 9 vol 1837-1853, major compilation of documents 1774-1776. online edition * Full text of Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789 Founding Fathers of the United States. List of delegates to the Continental Congress. Papers of the Continental Congress. Patriot (American Revolution). Bancroft, George. History of the United States of America, from the discovery of the American continent. (1854–78), vol 4-10 online edition.