George Washington

WashingtonGeneral WashingtonGeneral George Washington
List of American Revolutionary War battles. British Army during the American War of Independence. List of Continental Forces in the American Revolutionary War. Print sources. Primary sources. Online sources. George Washington Resources at the University of Virginia Library. Original Digitized Letters of George Washington Shapell Manuscript Foundation. The Papers of George Washington, subset of Founders Online from the National Archives. Copies of the wills of General George Washington: the first president of the United States and of Martha Washington, his wife (1904), edited by E. R. Holbrook. George Washington Personal Manuscripts.

Continental Congress

CongressContinental CongressmanDelegate to the Continental Congress
The Second Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, proclaiming that the 13 colonies were now independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. This body functioned as the provisional government for the U.S. until the nation's first Frame of Government, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, came into force on March 1, 1781, at which time it became the Congress of the Confederation.

Constitutional Convention (United States)

Constitutional ConventionPhiladelphia ConventionConstitutional Convention of 1787
Although the Convention was intended to revise the league of states and first system of government under the Articles of Confederation, the intention from the outset of many of its proponents, chief among them James Madison of Virginia and Alexander Hamilton of New York, was to create a new government rather than fix the existing one. The delegates elected George Washington of Virginia, former commanding general of the Continental Army in the late American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and proponent of a stronger national government, to become President of the Convention.

Second Continental Congress

Continental CongressCongressSecond
On May 15, they adopted a more radical preamble to this resolution, drafted by John Adams, which advised throwing off oaths of allegiance and suppressing the authority of the Crown in any colonial government that still derived its authority from the Crown. That same day, the Virginia Convention instructed its delegation in Philadelphia to propose a resolution that called for a declaration of independence, the formation of foreign alliances, and a confederation of the states. The resolution of independence was delayed for several weeks, as advocates of independence consolidated support in their home governments.

Congress of the Confederation

Confederation CongressCongressContinental Congress
On March 1, 1781, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were signed by delegates of Maryland at a meeting of the Second Continental Congress, which then declared the Articles ratified. As historian Edmund Burnett wrote, "There was no new organization of any kind, not even the election of a new President." The Congress still called itself the Continental Congress.

Alexander Hamilton

HamiltonHamiltonianA. Hamilton
Thomas Jefferson was his leading opponent, arguing for agrarianism and smaller government. Hamilton was born out of wedlock in Charlestown, Nevis. He was orphaned as a child and taken in by a prosperous merchant. When he reached his teens, he was sent to New York to pursue his education. He took an early role in the militia as the American Revolutionary War began. In 1777, he became a senior aide to General Washington in running the new Continental Army. After the war, he was elected as a representative from New York to the Congress of the Confederation. He resigned to practice law and founded the Bank of New York.

Massachusetts

MACommonwealth of MassachusettsMass.
Later, Adams was active in early American foreign affairs and succeeded Washington as the second United States President. His son John Quincy Adams, also from Massachusetts, would go on to become the sixth United States President. From 1786 to 1787, an armed uprising, known as Shays' Rebellion led by Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays wrought havoc throughout Massachusetts and ultimately attempted to seize the Federal armory. The rebellion was one of the major factors in the decision to draft a stronger national constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation. On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the United States Constitution.

United States Bill of Rights

Bill of RightsU.S. Bill of RightsUS Bill of Rights
Prior to the ratification and implementation of the United States Constitution, the thirteen sovereign states followed the Articles of Confederation, created by the Second Continental Congress and ratified in 1781. However, the national government that operated under the Articles of Confederation was too weak to adequately regulate the various conflicts that arose between the states. The Philadelphia Convention set out to correct weaknesses of the Articles that had been apparent even before the American Revolutionary War had been successfully concluded. The convention took place from May 14 to September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Lee Resolution

resolution of independenceresolutiona resolution
On June 10, Congress decided to form a committee to draft a declaration of independence in case the resolution should pass. On June 11, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were appointed as the Committee of Five to accomplish this. That same day, Congress decided to establish two other committees to develop the resolution's last two parts.

President of the United States

PresidentU.S. PresidentUnited States President
As of October 2019, a case was pending in the federal courts regarding access to personal tax returns in a criminal case brought against Donald Trump by the New York County District Attorney alleging violations of New York state law. The president fulfills many ceremonial duties. William Howard Taft started the tradition of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in 1910 at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C., on the Washington Senators's Opening Day. Every president since Taft, except for Jimmy Carter, threw out at least one ceremonial first ball or pitch for Opening Day, the All-Star Game, or the World Series, usually with much fanfare.

Benjamin Franklin

Ben FranklinFranklinFranklin, Benjamin
In June 1776, he was appointed a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Although he was temporarily disabled by gout and unable to attend most meetings of the Committee, Franklin made several "small but important" changes to the draft sent to him by Thomas Jefferson. At the signing, he is quoted as having replied to a comment by John Hancock that they must all hang together: "Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."

James Monroe

MonroePresident MonroePresident James Monroe
Upon Elizabeth's death in 1830, Monroe moved to New York City to live with his daughter Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur, who had married Samuel L. Gouverneur. Monroe's health began to slowly fail by the end of the 1820s. On July 4, 1831, Monroe died from heart failure and tuberculosis, thus becoming the third president to have died on Independence Day. His death came 55 years after the United States Declaration of Independence was proclaimed and five years after the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. His last words were, "I regret that I should leave this world without again beholding him." He referred to James Madison, who in fact was one of his best friends.

Founding Fathers of the United States

Founding FathersFounding FatherFounding Father of the United States
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. 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.

Virginia

Commonwealth of VirginiaVAState of Virginia
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. In 1781, the combined action of Continental and French land and naval forces trapped the British army on the Virginia Peninsula, where troops under George Washington and Comte de Rochambeau defeated British General Cornwallis in the Siege of Yorktown.

Thirteen Colonies

American coloniescoloniescolonial
After the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the British renamed the colony "York City" or "New York". Large numbers of Dutch remained in the colony, dominating the rural areas between New York City and Albany, while people from New England started moving in as well as immigrants from Germany. New York City attracted a large polyglot population, including a large black slave population. In 1674, the proprietary colonies of East Jersey and West Jersey were created from lands formerly part of New York. Pennsylvania was founded in 1681 as a proprietary colony of Quaker William Penn.

Treaty of Paris (1783)

Treaty of Paris1783 Treaty of ParisTreaty of Paris of 1783
Confederation Period, the era of United States history in the 1780s after the American Revolution and prior to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. History of the United States (1776–1789). Diplomacy in the American Revolutionary War. Specialized essays by scholars. Specialized essays by scholars. Specialized essays by scholars. Specialized essays by scholars. Specialized essays by scholars. Specialized essays by scholars. Franklin, Benjamin. The Papers of Benjamin Franklin: January 21 Through May 15, 1783 (Vol. 39. Yale University Press, 2009).

Committee of Five

committeefive-man committeefive-man drafting committee
John Adams, representative of Massachusetts, who became the second U.S. President. Thomas Jefferson, representative of Virginia, who became the third U.S. President. Benjamin Franklin, representative of Pennsylvania, known as one of the most famous of the Founding Fathers and the first U.S. Minister to France. Roger Sherman, representative of Connecticut, the only person to sign all four of the U.S. state papers: the Continental Association, the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. Robert Livingston, representative of New York, who later negotiated the Louisiana Purchase as the Minister to France.

Robert R. Livingston (chancellor)

Robert R. LivingstonRobert LivingstonChancellor Livingston
Robert Robert Livingston (November 27, 1746 (Old Style November 16) – February 26, 1813) was an American lawyer, politician, diplomat from New York, and a Founding Father of the United States. He was known as "The Chancellor", after the high New York state legal office he held for 25 years. 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.

Elbridge Gerry

Elbridge T. GerryMr. GerryDeath of Elbridge Gerry
Born into a wealthy merchant family, Gerry vocally opposed British colonial policy in the 1760s, and was active in the early stages of organizing the resistance in the American Revolutionary War. Elected to the Second Continental Congress, Gerry signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He was one of three men who attended the Constitutional Convention in 1787 who refused to sign the United States Constitution because it did not then include a Bill of Rights.

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette

Marquis de LafayetteLafayetteGeneral Lafayette
Thomas Jefferson Letter, 30 November 1813 From the Collections at the Library of Congress.

George Mason

George Mason IVaddressedMason
He also wrote a constitution for the state; Thomas Jefferson and others sought to have the convention adopt their ideas, but they found that Mason's version could not be stopped. During the American Revolutionary War, Mason was a member of the powerful House of Delegates of the Virginia General Assembly but, to the irritation of Washington and others, he refused to serve in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, citing health and family commitments. In 1787, Mason was named one of his state's delegates to the Constitutional Convention and traveled to Philadelphia, his only lengthy trip outside Virginia.

Thomas Paine

Tom PainePainePaine, Thomas
However, in 1781, he accompanied John Laurens on his mission to France. Eventually, after much pleading from Paine, New York State recognized his political services by presenting him with an estate at New Rochelle, New York and Paine received money from Pennsylvania and from Congress at Washington's suggestion. During the Revolutionary War, Paine served as an aide-de-camp to the important general, Nathanael Greene. In what may have been an error, and perhaps even contributed to his resignation as the secretary to the Committee of Foreign Affairs, Paine was openly critical of Silas Deane, an American diplomat who had been appointed in March 1776 by the Congress to travel to France in secret.

History of the United States

American historyU.S. historyUnited States history
John Adams, a Federalist, defeated Jefferson in the 1796 election. War loomed with France and the Federalists used the opportunity to try to silence the Republicans with the Alien and Sedition Acts, build up a large army with Hamilton at the head, and prepare for a French invasion. However, the Federalists became divided after Adams sent a successful peace mission to France that ended the Quasi-War of 1798. During the first two decades after the Revolutionary War, there were dramatic changes in the status of slavery among the states and an increase in the number of freed blacks.

Intolerable Acts

Coercive Actsactsamong other actions
As tensions escalated, the American Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, leading in July 1776 to the declaration of an independent United States of America. Relations between the Thirteen Colonies and the British Parliament slowly but steadily worsened after the end of the Seven Years' War (French and Indian War) in 1763. The war had plunged the British government deep into debt, and so the British Parliament enacted a series of measures to increase tax revenue from the colonies.