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The People Who Founded America: A Founding Fathers Guide

The founding fathers of our country played important roles during our the American revolution and subsequent building of our political system. Without the leadership of these seven founders beliefs we might not be where we are as a country today, and it is their beliefs and values which contributed to shaping the government and society we live in.

Interestingly, though they sometimes worked in collaboration, they also had tumultuous relationships with one another.  For instance, Hamilton was a great friend and ally of Washington’s but he and Jefferson and Monroe were bitter political opponents.  Perhaps it is their deeply held convictions and ability to compromise that best remind us of how this nation was created.

Below you will find additional information on these men and American history.

Links about the Founding of the U.S., Constitution, and Revolution

George Washington

Considered the quintessential Founding Father, George Washington was the first President of the newly independent United States of America, serving from 1789 to 1797. He has a long list of political accomplishments, including leading the military victory over Great Britain in the American Revolution. Washington was also one of many delegates that presided over the Constitutional Convention. His character and ability to listen to views as divergent as Jefferson’s and Hamilton’s made him a leader many looked up to and he set a precedent for presidential behavior by stepping down after two terms.

Additionally, he is one of four presidents that his face carved into stone at Mount Rushmore. After his death, the Jeffersonians, unhappy with Washington’s influence and ideas, took issue with the building of the Washington Monument, but the monument was finally started in 1848 though it took 30 years to finish.

John Adams

John Adams, also a Founding Father, was the second President of the United States. Before that he served two terms under George Washington as vice president. Adams was a prominent lawyer in Boston. In addition, he was also noted for being a political theorist and diplomat. The federal Constitution was based on principals similar to what John Adams put into place in the Massachusetts state constitution. He is considered to be one of the most influential theorists and a brilliant legal mind.

  • Founding Fathers: A short biography of both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and how they contributed as founding fathers.
  • Patriot Week-John Adams: A short look at John Adams efforts during the American Revolution, including a look at his political accomplishments.
  • The American Revolution-John Adams: An in depth look at John Adams political career, including his presidency.
  • Abigail Adams, His Better Half: A short look at Abigail Adams, John Adams wife and her role in John Adams life.
  • Key Figures in the Boston Massacre Trials: A look at John Adams defense of the British soldier accused of giving the order to shoot and kill five Americans, including others.
  • American President-John Adams: An in depth look at John Adams presidency, including a look at his political adversary Alexander Hamilton.
  • The Amistad Case: An in depth look at the slave rebellion on the ship La Amistad, which later became known as the Amistad case. This article discusses John Adams role in the case.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States of America. Jefferson was the Governor of Virginia 1779-1881, but he made decisions that did not sit well with a lot of people and was not reelected. Despite that many consider him to be one of the great presidents. His greatest accomplishment may be that of being the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, which sets down many of the fundamental values our nation was founded under.

Jefferson was a very influential man and even became the first United States Secretary of State under Washington and as President negotiated the Louisiana Purchase. In addition, he was instrumental in the expedition of Lewis and Clark.

Benjamin Franklin

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was a man ahead of his time. Not only was he a politician and diplomat, leading the effort to persuade France to become a crucial ally during the Revolutionary War, , but he was also a distinguished inventor and one of the most famous men in the world. One of his inventions is bifocal glasses. In addition, he was an author, scientist and printer. He was also noted for forming the first public lending library and fire department in Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin was one of the most accomplished and respected men of his era.

John Jay

Founding Father John Jay was the first Chief Justice of the United States. John Jay served as the President of the Continental Congress from 1778-1779 and was a noted statesman and revolutionary. In addition, he served as the ambassador to both Spain and France during and after the Revolutionary War. He was also instrumental in bringing about Jay’s Treaty with Great Britain in 1794. Jay fought hard for the emancipation of slaves and tried to pass a law in favor or emancipation two times, but failed both times.

Alexander Hamilton, also a Founding Father, was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury in 1789. During the American Revolution he served as George Washington’s aide-de-camp. Later he served as one of America’s first constitutional lawyers.

Hamilton became leader of the Federalist party due to his opposition to the principles of the Democratic-Republican party. He founded and established the Bank of New York in 1784 and is known for some of the greatest contributions to the economy of the nation, including establishing the U.S. Mint. At the signing of the US Constitution, Hamilton was the only person from New York to sign and battled for the end of slavery. Along with Franklin, he was one of the few founding fathers not to become President.

James Madison

Founding Father James Madison served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809-1817. Historians often refer to him as the “Father of the Constitution” for his many consitutiional contribuitions.

During his presidency in 1812 he lead a war against Great Britain, which ended with the Treaty of Ghent in 1815. As a representative of the House of Representatives he drafted the Bill of Rights. He and Jefferson were founding members of the Democratic-Republican Party, which was established in the early 1790’s. He was also a staunch opponent of Alexander Hamilton.


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