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
- The Constitutional Convention-What the Founding Fathers Said: A lesson plan for instructors teaching about the US constitution.
- American Revolution in Texas: An in depth look at the American Revolution, including the people and battles.
- The Constitution of the United States: The exhibition of the US Constitution, including images of the original constitution.
- The Constitutional Convention-What the Founding Fathers Said: A lesson plan and resources for instructors teaching students about the US Constitution.
- The American Revolution: An In depth look at the American Revolution.
- 1776-1783: American Revolution: A timeline of the American Revolution.
- Jefferson’s “Original Rough Draft” of the Declaration of Independence: Excerpts from Thomas Jefferson’s drafts of the Declaration of Independence.
- Investigating US History: Lessons for instructors teaching history, in particular the US Constitution.
- The Founders Constitution: The entire text of the US Constitution separated into smaller sections.
- Symbols of a New Nation: The true history of the American Flag.
- Pathways to the Past: A comprehensive list of links for instructors teaching American History.
- What the Founding Fathers Said About Slavery: A list of quotes by the founding fathers on slavery.
- The Constitutional Convention of 1787: A look at what the Constitutional Convention was and why it was called.
- Religion in the 18th Century: An in depth look at religion in the 18th century and how it helped shape our country.
- The Declaration of Independence: Text of the Declaration of Independence.
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.
- George Washington and the American Revolution: A short biography of George Washington.
- Toward Fact-A Biography: A biography of George Washington’s life.
- Chronology-George Washington: The chronological events of the American Revolution and George Washington’s role.
- President George Washington’s First Inaugural Speech: George Washington’s first presidential address, including images of the actual text.
- George Washington’s Birthday: This site discusses how President George Washington’s birthday became a federal holiday.
- George Washington’s Character and Slavery: An in depth look at who George Washington was and his views on slavery.
- The Founding Father and His Slaves: This site discusses George Washington and his keeping of slaves.
- The Founding Fathers of American Intelligence: How George Washington played a role in the formation of the CIA, including others such as Benjamin Franklin.
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 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.
- President Thomas Jefferson: An in depth biography of the life of Thomas Jefferson, including his political career.
- Thomas Jefferson: A short biography of Thomas Jefferson, including text, quotes and resources, including an entire collection of his thoughts and views.
- Thomas Jefferson: An in depth biography, including a look at his accomplishments as a revolutionary leader.
- President Thomas Jefferson’s Instructions to Captain Meriwether Lewis: Detailed instructions given by Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis for his expedition.
- Jefferson’s Indian Policy: Text from President Jefferson to William Henry Harrison on Indian policy.
- First Inaugural Address of President Thomas Jefferson: The inaugural speech given by President Thomas Jefferson.
- The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Links to Thomas Jefferson’s autobiography, including documents and text from President Jefferson.
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.
- The World of Benjamin Franklin-Glimpses of the Man: A short biography of Benjamin Franklin.
- Ben Franklin-The Inventor: A look at Benjamin Franklin’s achievements as an inventor, including how he invented bifocal glasses.
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin: The text of his autobiography, including an introduction and notes.
- Democratic Origins and Revolutionary Writers, (1776-1820): An in depth look at Benjamin Franklin’s life.
- Benjamin Franklin-First American Diplomat (1776-1785): A short look at Benjamin Franklin’s accomplishments as a diplomat when trying to gain support from France for American Independence of England.
- Citizen Ben: How Benjamin Franklin became a founding father and his role in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
- Benjamin Franklin and Slavery-A Man Ahead of His Times: A comprehensive biography of Ben Franklin, including his thoughts and feelings on slavery.
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.
- A Brief Biography of John Jay: An in depth biography of John Jay.
- John Jay: A short biography of John Jay.
- John Jay-Representing New York at the Continental Congress: A look at John Jay’s political past, including a look at his appointment as Minister to Spain to help get recognition of independence from England.
- John Jay-An American Wilberforce?: An in depth look at John Jay’s efforts to abolish slavery.
- John Jay and Slavery: A short incisive look at John Jay’s history with slavery, includes links.
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.
- Alexander Hamilton: An in depth look at Alexander Hamilton’s life.
- Alexander Hamilton (1789-1795): This article provides a look at Alexander Hamilton’s involvement in the formation of the US Treasury.
- Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton: A look at Alexander Hamilton’s wife and his marriage to her.
- The Rise and Fall of Alexander Hamilton: An online book depicting Hamilton’s life and how he affected the shaping of our country.
- Alexander Hamilton on the French Revolution: A look at Alexander Hamilton’s thoughts on the French Revolution.
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.
- A Colored Man’s Reminiscences of James Madison: An electronic edition of the book by Paul Jennings about a slaves life with James Madison.
- James Madison (1751-1836): A short biography of President James Madison.
- Women in History-Dolley Madison Biography: A biography of Dolley Madison, James Madison’s wife.
- James Madison: An in depth biography of President James Madison.
- The James Madison Papers: An extensive collection of articles and texts on James Madison, including his involvement in politics and the Constitutional Convention.
- James Madison: An in depth look at James Madison’s political career.