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Our Founding Fathers

The Founding Fathers of the United States were the political leaders who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 or otherwise took part in the American Revolution in winning American independence from Great Britain, or who participated in framing and adopting the United States Constitution in 1787-1788, or in putting the new government under the Constitution into effect. Within the large group known as "the founding fathers," there are two key subsets, the Signers (who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776) and the Framers (who were delegates to the Federal Convention and took part in framing or drafting the proposed Constitution of the United States). Most historians define the "founding fathers" to mean a larger group, including not only the Signers and the Framers but also all those who, whether as politicians or jurists or statesmen or soldiers or diplomats or ordinary citizens, took part in winning American independence and creating the United States of America.[2] The eminent American historian Richard B. Morris, in his 1973 book Seven Who Shaped Our Destiny: The Founding Fathers as Revolutionaries, identified the following seven figures as the key founding fathers: Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton.

Warren G. Harding, then a Republican Senator from Ohio, coined the phrase "Founding Fathers" in his keynote address to the 1916 Republican National Convention. He used it several times thereafter, most prominently in his 1921 inaugural address as President of the United States.-Courtesy Wikipedia

George Washington
Commander in Chief of the Continental Forces.
1st President of the United States of America (1789-97)

In May 1787, Washington headed the Virginia delegation to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and was unanimously elected presiding officer. His presence lent prestige to the proceedings, and although he made few direct contributions, he generally supported the advocates of a strong central government. After the new Constitution was submitted to the states for ratification and became legally operative, he was unanimously elected President (1789).
John Adams John Adams
Drafted the Declaration of Independence
2nd President of the United States

In 1774-76, Adams was a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. His speeches and writings (especially a newspaper series signed "Novanglus" in 1775) articulating the colonial cause and his brilliant championing of American rights in Congress caused Thomas Jefferson to call him the "Colossus of Independence." Adams helped draft the Declaration of Independence, secured its unanimous adoption in Congress, and wrote his wife on July 3, 1776, that "the most memorable Epoch in the History of America has begun." Adams was revered by his countrymen not only as one of the founding fathers but also as a plain, honest man who personified the best of what the nation could hope of its citizens and leaders.

Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson
Governor of Virginia. U.S. Minister to France. Secretary of State under
George Washington. Vice-President of the United States of America.
3rd President of the United States

Thomas Jefferson wished to be remembered for three achievements in his public life. He had served as the Governor of Virginia, as US Minister to France, as Secretary of State under George Washington, Vice President of the United States under John Adams, and two terms as President of the United States (1801 - 1809). On his tombstone, however, which he designed and for which he wrote the inscription, there is no mention of these offices. Rather, it reads that Thomas Jefferson was "Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the State of Virginia for religious freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia," and, as he requested, "not a word more."
James Madison
4th President of the United States
In 1801, Madison was appointed secretary of state by the new president, Jefferson

James Madison was the foremost architect of the U.S. Constitution, a leading theorist of republican government.In 1814, Napoleon's defeat released thousands of veteran British troops for service in North America. The greatly improved American armies successfully defended the Niagara frontier, but the city of Washington itself was captured by the British and burned. Madison watched the flames from the other side of the Potomac. Soon afterward, however, the British were defeated in Baltimore harbor and repulsed in their invasion of New York State via Lake Champlain.
Alexander Hamilton
First Secretary of the Treasury
Alexander Hamilton was one of the most influential of the United States' founding fathers.  Hamilton's own career was terminated prematurely when he was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr in 1804. He proposed, therefore, to pay the nation's debts in full and also to assume the unpaid debts of the various states. He urged this candidly as a means of both diminishing the fiscal importance of the states and cementing the loyalty of wealthy commercial interests to the federal government. With the nation's economy thus buttressed and biased toward commerce, Hamilton proposed that a national bank be established to help the federal government manage the nation's trade and finance. These proposals were accepted by Congress, and the Bank of the United States was chartered in 1791.

Benjamin Franklin
In his many careers as printer, moralist, essayist, civic leader, scientist, inventor, statesman, diplomat, and philosopher, Benjamin Franklin became for later generations of Americans both a spokesman, a model for the national character, and considered as a "Founding Father." In October 1776, Franklin and his two grandsons sailed for France, where he achieved an amazing personal triumph and gained critical French aid for the Revolutionary War. Franklin then became the first American minister to France. For seven years he acted as diplomat, purchasing agent, recruiting officer, loan negotiator, admiralty court, and intelligence chief and was generally the main representative of the new United States in Europe.


John Jay
First Chief Justice of the United States
Served as the second Secretary of Foreign Affairs

An American politician, statesman, revolutionary, diplomat, President of the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1779. During and after the American Revolution, he was a minister (ambassador) to Spain and France, helping to fashion United States foreign policy and to secure favorable peace terms from the British (the Jay Treaty) and French. He co-wrote the Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison.


  For a complete list of all the Presidents the United States with links to their biographies go to this recommended link.

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