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George Washington served for the British before fighting against them, serving as a commander in the French and Indian War. As a successful Virginia farmer with hundreds of slaves, he grew resentful of the British crown’s various levies and limitations imposed on the colonies.
When the Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, he was given command of the Continental Army, which suffered a near-fatal defeat in the Battle of Brooklyn. More defeats followed, and Washington ultimately lost more engagements than he gained. Nonetheless, he kept his ragged men together even during a cold winter at Valley Forge and was able to oust the British by 1783 with the support of his French friends.
Alexander Hamilton, a poor, illegitimate orphan, moved to New York as a youth from the British West Indies. As Washington’s aide-de-camp during the Revolutionary War, he rose to prominence and became an ardent believer of a strong central government.
Following his attendance at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he composed the majority of the very compelling Federalist Papers, which argued for the approval of the Constitution. Washington subsequently appointed him as the first U.S. Treasury Secretary, a position he utilized to advocate for the establishment of a national bank. Hamilton, who was later memorialized on the $10 dollar, was assassinated in an 1804 duel with his fierce enemy, reigning Vice President Aaron Burr.
Despite having a formal education that ended at the age of ten, Benjamin Franklin was a talented author, printer, scientist, inventor, and diplomat in early America. When he wasn’t constructing bifocals, harnessing electricity, playing music, or writing Poor Richard’s Almanack, he was working on municipal projects in his adoptive hometown of Philadelphia.
Franklin was chosen to the five-member committee that authored the Declaration of Independence during the early phases of the American Revolution. He subsequently journeyed to France, where he obtained French assistance for the war effort and assisted in negotiating the Treaty of Paris, which officially ended the conflict in 1783. Franklin functioned as a sort of elder statesman at the Constitutional Convention just before his death. Also, you must try to play this Which Founding Father Is Your Soulmate quiz.
Which Founding Father Is Your Soulmate?
John Adams, a famous Massachusetts lawyer, was an early supporter of the revolutionary cause. He, like Franklin, served on the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence, traveled abroad to gain French military aid, and assisted in the negotiations of the Treaty of Paris. He also chaired other important committees and found time to prepare the Massachusetts Constitution (which is still in use).
After roughly ten years of diplomatic duty abroad, Adams returned home in 1788 and later became Washington’s vice president. Following his two terms, Washington was elected president, serving from 1797 until 1801. Adams and his friend-turned-rival-turned-friend Thomas Jefferson died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
Samuel Adams, John Adams’s second cousin, was a political firebrand who galvanized massive opposition to British policy in Boston, a hotbed of resistance. He joined the Sons of Liberty, an underground rebel group that at times tarred and feathered British loyalists because he believed the colonists were subject to “taxation without representation.”
Adams most certainly plotted the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and his attempted arrest in 1775 sparked the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Revolutionary War’s first skirmishes. Unlike many of the other Founders, Adams was adamantly opposed to slavery. He was the governor of Massachusetts after signing the Declaration of Independence. You will get an answer to the question Which Founding Father Is Your Soulmate.
Thomas Jefferson, a well-educated and successful Virginia lawyer and politician, came to believe that the British Parliament had no jurisdiction over the 13 colonies. In 1776, he was tasked with penning the Declaration of Independence, in which he famously said that “all men are created equal” and that “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (As a lifetime slaveholder, he didn’t apply his ideas to African-Americans.)
As Washington’s secretary of state, Jefferson frequently battled with Hamilton over foreign policy and the role of government. He later served as John Adams’ vice president before becoming president himself in 1801.
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James Madison, a close friend of Jefferson’s, grew up on a Virginia plantation and served in the state legislature. He was likely the most significant delegate in the 1787 Constitutional Convention, developing a plan to divide the federal government into three branches—legislative, executive, and judicial—each with balances on its power. This idea, which was mostly implemented, earned him the title “Father of the Constitution.”
Madison then co-wrote the Federalist Papers and, as a United States legislator, was a leading factor for the Bill of Rights. After serving as Jefferson’s secretary of state, he was elected president in 1808.
Mr. John Jay
Despite not being as well-known as his fellow Founders, John Jay was instrumental in the formation of the United States. As a lawyer, he initially supported reconciliation with Britain to fight for independence. When war broke out, he wholeheartedly supported the colonists, serving as a diplomat to Spain and collaborating with Franklin and Adams to negotiate the Treaty of Paris.
When he returned to the United States, he served as secretary of foreign affairs under the Articles of Confederation and wrote several Federalist Papers. He became the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1789, and six years later he was elected Governor of New York.
Founders from Other Companies
Many more people have been named as Founding Fathers (or Mothers). These include John Hancock, best known for his flashy signature on the Declaration of Independence; Gouverneur Morris, who wrote much of the Constitution; Thomas Paine, the British-born author of Common Sense; Paul Revere, a Boston silversmith whose “midnight ride” warned of approaching redcoats; George Mason, who helped craft the Constitution but ultimately refused to sign it; Charles Carroll, the lone Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence; and Patrick Henry, who was born in Virginia.