The Founding Fathers of the United States was a group of philosophers, economists, authors, politicians, activists, lawyers, and commanders, which helped declare American independence on Britain in 1776, and build a new, unique government and state. Below are brief reminders of their roles.
Maybe the most famous founding fathers of them all. George Washington was in charge of the American armies in the war for independence. He managed to organize his troops and boost their morales. Besides, in 1789, Washington became the first president of the United States of America. He defined the role of the American president.
James Madison realized that the original Articles of Confederation were too weak. In 1787, he presented his scheme for the new constitution. Besides, in The Federalist, Madison supported his ideas of separation of power, republicanism, pluralism, or freedoms of speech and press. Hence, he won the nickname Father of the constitution. Besides, he is the author of the Bill of Rights. Madison was the fourth American president.
At the age of just 36 years, Thomas Jefferson was one of the leading authors of the 1776 Declaration of Independence. He called for equality and liberty for all. After the war, he was an ambassador to France. Besides, George Washington chose him as the first American Secretary of State. In 1801, he became the third US president.
In 1775, John Adams, the politician, and attorney nominated Geroge Washington to lead the Continental army. Besides, he was instrumental in the process of declaring independence on the UK. Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and two others were to write the declaration. He helped negotiate the 1883 Treaty of Paris, which officially ended the war. In 1797, he became the second US president.
Alexander Hamilton was one of the architects of modern republics. He was the foremost author of The Federalist. Hence, he had a chief influence on adopting the 1789 constitution. In the same year, George Washington chose him to be the first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton was a skilled economist and helped shape the financial system.
Unlike the other Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin had many other occupations. Nevertheless, he helped shape the 1776 Declaration of Independence as well as the 1789 constitution. Besides, his role in settling the Treaty of Paris was crucial. He was also an inventor and scientist.
Samual Adams was the second cousin to John Adams. In 1773, he planned the famous Boston Tea Party. Hence, Adams helped undermine British authority. Further, he was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
John Jay did not want a war with the UK. Yet, when it broke out, he knew on which side to stand. Jay also helped sign the Treaty of Paris to end the war. In addition, he wrote several essays for the Federalist Papers. George Washington chose him as the first chief justice of the Supreme Court.
Among the founding father, the England-born Thomas Paine is sometimes forgotten. Yet, his role was also vital. His Common Sense called for independence, and his American Crisis helped boost the spirits of the armies. Besides, he was a strong advocate for human rights and republicanism. He was also a supporter of the French Revolution
Along with Samuel Adam, John Hancock organized protests in Boston. He was the president of the Continental Congress between 1775 and 1777. That means he was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. His unusually large signature on the declaration is something he is remembered by.
Patrick Henry, the governor of Virginia, was a strong critic of the UK’s government. He was a talented speaker, and thus, his “give me freedom or give me death” resonated in the ears of Americans. However, his influence faded as he declined the 1789 constitution.
Other Founding Fathers
These are probably the most famous instrumental founding fathers. However, the list is much longer. For example, some recognize all 39 signators of the Declaration of Independence as founding fathers.
Yet, it was not only these few men that built the nation. They were the right people at the right time to lay the fundaments. But, they would not succeed without the common public. Their dedication and energy were equally significant.