The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American leaders who united the Thirteen Colonies, led the war for independence from Great Britain, and built a frame of government for the new United States of America upon republican principles during the latter decades of the 18th century.
Historian Richard B. Morris in 1973 identified the following seven figures as key Founding Fathers: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington based on the critical and substantive roles they played in the formation of the country's new government.Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin were members of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Hamilton, Madison, and Jay were authors of The Federalist Papers , advocating ratification of the Constitution. The constitutions drafted by Jay and Adams for their respective states of New York (1777) and Massachusetts (1780) were heavily relied upon when creating language for the U.S. Constitution. Jay, Adams, and Franklin negotiated the Treaty of Paris (1783) that would end the American Revolutionary War. Washington was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and was president of the Constitutional Convention. All held additional important roles in the early government of the United States, with Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison serving as president. Jay was the nation's first chief justice, Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury, and Franklin was America's most senior diplomat, and later the governmental leader of Pennsylvania.
The term Founding Fathers is sometimes more broadly used to refer to the Signers of the embossed version of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, although four significant founders – George Washington, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison – were not signers.Signers is not to be confused with the term Framers; the Framers are defined by the National Archives as those 55 individuals who were appointed to be delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention and took part in drafting the proposed Constitution of the United States. Of the 55 Framers, only 39 were signers of the Constitution. Two further groupings of Founding Fathers include: 1) those who signed the Continental Association, a trade ban and one of the colonists' first collective volleys protesting British control and the Intolerable Acts in 1774, and 2) those who signed the Articles of Confederation, the first U.S. constitutional document.
The phrase Founding Fathers is a 20th-century appellation, coined by Warren G. Harding in 1916.
The First Continental Congress met briefly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1774, consisting of 56 delegates from all thirteen American colonies except Georgia. Among them was George Washington, who would soon be drawn out of military retirement to command the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Also in attendance were Patrick Henry and John Adams, who, like all delegates, were elected by their respective colonial assemblies. Other delegates included Samuel Adams from Massachusetts, John Dickinson from Pennsylvania and New York's John Jay. This congress, in addition to formulating appeals to the British crown, established the Continental Association to administer boycott actions against Britain.
When the Second Continental Congress convened on May 10, 1775, it essentially reconstituted the First Congress. Many of the same 56 delegates who attended the first meeting participated in the second.New arrivals included Benjamin Franklin and Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, John Hancock of Massachusetts, John Witherspoon of New Jersey, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton of Maryland, who was named as a late delegate due to his being Roman Catholic. Hancock was elected Congress president two weeks into the session when Peyton Randolph was recalled to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses. Thomas Jefferson replaced Randolph in the Virginia congressional delegation. The second Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. Witherspoon was the only active clergyman to sign the Declaration. He also signed the Articles of Confederation and attended the New Jersey (1787) convention that ratified the Federal Constitution.
The newly founded country of the United States had to create a new government to replace the British Parliament. The U.S. adopted the Articles of Confederation, a declaration that established a national government with a one-house legislature. Its ratification by all thirteen colonies gave the second Congress a new name: the Congress of the Confederation, which met from 1781 to 1789.The Constitutional Convention took place during the summer of 1787, in Philadelphia. Although the convention was called to revise the Articles of Confederation, the intention from the outset for some including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton was to create a new frame of government rather than amending the existing one. The delegates elected George Washington to preside over the convention. The result of the convention was the United States Constitution and the replacement of the Continental Congress with the United States Congress.
The Founding Fathers represented a cross-section of 18th-century U.S. leadership. According to a study of the biographies by Caroline Robbins:
The Signers came for the most part from an educated elite, were residents of older settlements, and belonged with a few exceptions to a moderately well-to-do class representing only a fraction of the population. Native or born overseas, they were of British stock and of the Protestant faith.
They were leaders in their communities; several were also prominent in national affairs. Virtually all participated in the American Revolution; at the Constitutional Convention at least 29 had served in the Continental Army, most of them in positions of command. Scholars have examined the collective biography of the Founders, including both the signers of the Declaration and of the Constitution.
Many of the Founding Fathers attended or graduated from the colonial colleges, most notably Columbia known at the time as "King's College", Princeton originally known as "The College of New Jersey", Harvard College, the College of William and Mary, Yale College and University of Pennsylvania. Some had previously been home schooled or obtained early instruction from private tutors or academies.Others had studied abroad. Ironically, Benjamin Franklin who had little formal education himself would ultimately establish the College of Philadelphia (1755); "Penn" would have the first medical school (1765) in the thirteen colonies where another Founder, Benjamin Rush would eventually teach.
With a limited number of professional schools established in the U.S., Founders also sought advanced degrees from traditional institutions in England and Scotland such as the University of Edinburgh, the University of St. Andrews, and the University of Glasgow.
Several like John Jay, James Wilson, John Williams and George Wythewere trained as lawyers through apprenticeships in the colonies while a few trained at the Inns of Court in London. Charles Carroll of Carrollton earned his law degree at Temple in London.
Franklin, Washington, John Williams and Henry Wisner had little formal education and were largely self-taught or learned through apprenticeship.
The great majority were born in the Thirteen Colonies. But at least nine were born in other parts of the British Empire:
Many of them had moved from one colony to another. Eighteen had already lived, studied or worked in more than one colony: Baldwin, Bassett, Bedford, Davie, Dickinson, Few, Franklin, Ingersoll, Hamilton, Livingston, Alexander Martin, Luther Martin, Mercer, Gouverneur Morris, Robert Morris, Read, Sherman, and Williamson.
Several others had studied or traveled abroad.
The Founding Fathers practiced a wide range of high and middle-status occupations, and many pursued more than one career simultaneously. They did not differ dramatically from the Loyalists, except they were generally younger and less senior in their professions.
Historian Caroline Robbins in 1977 examined the status of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence and concluded:
There were indeed disparities of wealth, earned or inherited: some Signers were rich, others had about enough to enable them to attend Congress. ... The majority of revolutionaries were from moderately well-to-do or average income brackets. Twice as many Loyalists belonged to the wealthiest echelon. But some Signers were rich; few, indigent. ... The Signers were elected not for wealth or rank so much as because of the evidence they had already evinced of willingness for public service.
A few of them were wealthy or had financial resources that ranged from good to excellent, but there are other founders who were less than wealthy. On the whole they were less wealthy than the Loyalists.
Several of the Founding Fathers had extensive national, state, local and foreign political experience prior to the adoption of the Constitution in 1787. Some had been diplomats. Several had been members of the Continental Congress or elected president of that body.
Nearly all of the 55 Constitutional Convention delegates had some experience in colonial and state government, and the majority had held county and local offices.Those who lacked national congressional experience were Bassett, Blair, Brearly, Broom, Davie, Dayton, Alexander Martin, Luther Martin, Mason, McClurg, Paterson, Charles Pinckney, Strong, and Yates.
Franklin T. Lambert (2003) has examined the religious affiliations and beliefs of some of the Founders. Of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 28 were Anglicans (i.e. Church of England; or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), 21 were other Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics (D. Carroll and Fitzsimons).Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists.
A few prominent Founding Fathers were anti-clerical notably Jefferson.
Historian Gregg L. Frazer argues that the leading Founders (John Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Wilson, Morris, Madison, Hamilton, and Washington) were neither Christians nor Deists, but rather supporters of a hybrid "theistic rationalism".
Many Founders deliberately avoided public discussion of their faith. Historian David L. Holmes uses evidence gleaned from letters, government documents, and second-hand accounts to identify their religious beliefs.
The founding fathers were not unified on the issue of slavery. Many of them were opposed to it and repeatedly attempted to end slavery in many of the colonies, but predicted that the issue would threaten to tear the country apart and had limited power to deal with it. In her study of Thomas Jefferson, historian Annette Gordon-Reed discusses this topic, "Others of the founders held slaves, but no other founder drafted the charter for freedom".In addition to Jefferson, George Washington, and many other of the Founding Fathers were slaveowners, but some were also conflicted by the institution, seeing it as immoral and politically divisive; Washington gradually became a cautious supporter of abolitionism and freed his slaves in his will. John Jay led the successful fight to outlaw the slave trade in New York. Conversely, many founders such as Samuel Adams and John Adams were against slavery their entire lives. Benjamin Rush wrote a pamphlet in 1773 which criticized the slave trade as well as the institution of slavery. In the pamphlet, Rush argued on a scientific basis that Africans were not by nature intellectually or morally inferior, and that any apparent evidence to the contrary was only the "perverted expression" of slavery, which "is so foreign to the human mind, that the moral faculties, as well as those of the understanding are debased, and rendered torpid by it." The Continental Association of 1774 contained a clause which banned any Patriot involvement in slave trading.
Franklin, though he was a key founder of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society,originally owned slaves whom he later manumitted. While serving in the Rhode Island Assembly, Stephen Hopkins introduced one of the earliest anti-slavery laws in the colonies, and John Jay would try unsuccessfully to abolish slavery as early as 1777 in the State of New York. He nonetheless founded the New York Manumission Society in 1785, for which Hamilton became an officer. They and other members of the Society founded the African Free School in New York City, to educate the children of free blacks and slaves. When Jay was governor of New York in 1798, he helped secure and signed into law an abolition law; fully ending forced labor as of 1827. He freed his own slaves in 1798. Alexander Hamilton opposed slavery, as his experiences in life left him very familiar with slavery and its effect on slaves and on slaveholders, although he did negotiate slave transactions for his wife's family, the Schuylers. John Adams, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Paine never owned slaves.
Slaves and slavery are mentioned only indirectly in the 1787 Constitution. For example, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 prescribes that "three-fifths of all other Persons" are to be counted for the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives and direct taxes. Additionally, in Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3, slaves are referred to as "persons held in service or labor".The Founding Fathers, however, did make important efforts to contain slavery. Many Northern states had adopted legislation to end or significantly reduce slavery during and after the American Revolution. In 1782 Virginia passed a manumission law that allowed slave owners to free their slaves by will or deed. As a result, thousands of slaves were manumitted in Virginia. Thomas Jefferson, in 1784, proposed to ban slavery in all the Western Territories, which failed to pass Congress by one vote. Partially following Jefferson's plan, Congress did ban slavery in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, for lands north of the Ohio River.
The international slave trade was banned in all states except South Carolina, by 1800. Finally in 1807, President Jefferson called for and signed into law a Federally-enforced ban on the international slave trade throughout the U.S. and its territories. It became a federal crime to import or export a slave.However, the domestic slave trade was allowed, for expansion, or for diffusion of slavery into the Louisiana Territory.
In the winter and spring of 1786–1787, twelve of the thirteen states chose a total of 74 delegates to attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Nineteen delegates chose not to accept election or attend the debates. Among them was Patrick Henry of Virginia, who in response to questions about his refusal to attend was quick to reply, "I smelled a rat." He believed that the frame of government convention organizers were intent on building would trample upon the rights of citizens.Also, Rhode Island's lack of representation at the convention was due to leader's suspicions of the convention delegates' motivations. As the colony was founded by Roger Williams as a sanctuary for Baptists, Rhode Island's absence at the convention in part explains the absence of Baptist affiliation among those who did attend. Of the 55 who did attend at some point, no more than 38 delegates showed up at one time.
Only four (Baldwin, Gilman, Jenifer, and Alexander Martin) were lifelong bachelors. Many of the Founding Fathers' wives, like Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Sarah Livingston Jay, Dolley Madison, Mary White Morris and Catherine Alexander Duer, were strong women who made significant contributions of their own to the fight for liberty.
Sherman fathered the largest family: 15 children by two wives. At least nine (Bassett, Brearly, Johnson, Mason, Paterson, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Sherman, Wilson, and Wythe) married more than once. George Washington, who became known as "The Father of His Country",had no biological children, though he and his wife raised two children from her first marriage and two grandchildren.
Among the state documents promulgated between 1774 and 1789 by the Continental Congress, four are paramount: the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution. Altogether, 145 men signed at least one of the four documents. In each instance, roughly 50% of the names signed are unique to that document. Only a few people (6) signed three of the four, and only Roger Sherman of Connecticut signed all of them.The following persons signed one or more of these United States formative documents:
|CA (1774)||DI (1776)||AC (1777)||USC (1787)|
|John Alsop||New York||1||Yes|
|Josiah Bartlett||New Hampshire||2||Yes||Yes|
|Gunning Bedford Jr.||Delaware||1||Yes|
|William Blount||North Carolina||1||Yes|
|Simon Boerum||New York||1||Yes|
|David Brearley||New Jersey||1||Yes|
|Pierce Butler||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|Charles Carroll of Carrollton||Maryland||1||Yes|
|Richard Caswell||North Carolina||1||Yes|
|Abraham Clark||New Jersey||1||Yes|
|John Collins||Rhode Island||1||Yes|
|Stephen Crane||New Jersey||1||Yes|
|Jonathan Dayton||New Jersey||1||Yes|
|John De Hart||New Jersey||1||Yes|
|William Henry Drayton||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|James Duane||New York||2||Yes||Yes|
|William Duer||New York||1||Yes|
|William Ellery||Rhode Island||2||Yes||Yes|
|William Floyd||New York||2||Yes||Yes|
|Nathaniel Folsom||New Hampshire||1||Yes|
|Christopher Gadsden||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|Nicholas Gilman||New Hampshire||1||Yes|
|Alexander Hamilton||New York||1||Yes|
|Cornelius Harnett||North Carolina||1||Yes|
|John Hart||New Jersey||2||Yes|
|Joseph Hewes||North Carolina||2||Yes||Yes|
|Thomas Heyward Jr.||South Carolina||2||Yes||Yes|
|William Hooper||North Carolina||2||Yes||Yes|
|Stephen Hopkins||Rhode Island||2||Yes||Yes|
|Francis Hopkinson||New Jersey||1||Yes|
|Richard Hutson||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|William Jackson||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|John Jay||New York||1||Yes|
|Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer||Maryland||1||Yes|
|William Samuel Johnson||Connecticut||1||Yes|
|James Kinsey||New Jersey||1||Yes|
|John Langdon||New Hampshire||1||Yes|
|Henry Laurens||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|Francis Lightfoot Lee||Virginia||2||Yes||Yes|
|Richard Henry Lee||Virginia||3||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Francis Lewis||New York||2||Yes||Yes|
|Philip Livingston||New York||2||Yes||Yes|
|William Livingston||New Jersey||2||Yes||Yes|
|Isaac Low||New York||1||Yes|
|Thomas Lynch||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|Thomas Lynch Jr.||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|Henry Marchant||Rhode Island||1||Yes|
|John Mathews||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|Arthur Middleton||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|Henry Middleton||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|Gouverneur Morris||New York||2||Yes|
|Lewis Morris||New York||1||Yes|
|Thomas Nelson Jr.||Virginia||1||Yes|
|Robert Treat Paine||Massachusetts||2||Yes||Yes|
|William Paterson||New Jersey||1||Yes|
|John Penn||North Carolina||2||Yes||Yes|
|Charles Pinckney||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|Charles Cotesworth Pinckney||South Carolina||1||Yes|
|Edward Rutledge||South Carolina||2||Yes||Yes|
|John Rutledge||South Carolina||2||Yes||Yes|
|Nathaniel Scudder||New Jersey||1||Yes|
|Jonathan Bayard Smith||Pennsylvania||1||Yes|
|Richard Smith||New Jersey||1||Yes|
|Richard Dobbs Spaight||North Carolina||1||Yes|
|Richard Stockton||New Jersey||1||Yes|
|John Sullivan||New Hampshire||1||Yes|
|Matthew Thornton||New Hampshire||1||Yes|
|Nicholas Van Dyke||Delaware||1||Yes|
|Samuel Ward||Rhode Island||1||Yes|
|John Wentworth Jr.||New Hampshire||1||Yes|
|William Whipple||New Hampshire||1||Yes|
|John Williams||North Carolina||1||Yes|
|Hugh Williamson||North Carolina||1||Yes|
|Henry Wisner||New York||1||Yes|
|John Witherspoon||New Jersey||2||Yes||Yes|
Subsequent events in the lives of the Founding Fathers after the adoption of the Constitution were characterized by success or failure, reflecting the abilities of these men as well as the vagaries of fate.Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe served in highest U.S. office of president. Jay would be appointed as the first chief justice of the United States and later elected to two terms as Governor of New York. Alexander Hamilton would be appointed the first Secretary of the Treasury in 1789, and later Inspector General of the Army under President John Adams in 1798.
Seven (Fitzsimons, Gorham, Luther Martin, Mifflin, Robert Morris, Pierce, and Wilson) suffered serious financial reversals that left them in or near bankruptcy. Robert Morris spent three of the last years of his life imprisoned following bad land deals.Two, Blount and Dayton, were involved in possibly treasonous activities. Yet, as they had done before the convention, most of the group continued to render public service, particularly to the new government they had helped to create.
Many of the Founding Fathers were under 40 years old at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776: Aaron Burr was 20, Alexander Hamilton was 21, Gouverneur Morris was 24. The oldest were Benjamin Franklin, 70, and Samuel Whittemore, 81.
A few Founding Fathers lived into their nineties, including: Paine Wingate, who died at age 98; Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who died at age 95; Charles Thomson, who died at 94; William Samuel Johnson, who died at 92; and John Adams, who died at 90. Among those who lived into their eighties were Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Whittmore, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Armstrong Jr., Hugh Williamson, and George Wythe. Approximately 16 died while in their seventies, and 21 in their sixties. Three (Alexander Hamilton, Richard Dobbs Spaight, and Button Gwinnett) were killed in duels. Two, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, died on the same day, July 4, 1826.
The last remaining founders, also poetically called the "Last of the Romans", lived well into the nineteenth century.The last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence was Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who died in 1832. The last surviving member of the Continental Congress was John Armstrong Jr., who died in 1843. He gained this distinction in 1838 upon the death of the only other surviving delegate, Paine Wingate.
The following men and women also advanced the new nation through their actions.
Several Founding Fathers were instrumental in establishing schools and societal institutions that still exist today:
Articles and books by twenty-first century historians combined with the digitization of primary sources like handwritten letters continue to contribute to an encyclopedic body of knowledge about the Founding Fathers.
Ron Chernow won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of George Washington. His bestselling book about Alexander Hamilton inspired the blockbuster musical of the same name.
Joseph J. Ellis – According to Ellis, the concept of the Founding Fathers of the U.S. emerged in the 1820s as the last survivors died out. Ellis says "the founders", or "the fathers", comprised an aggregate of semi-sacred figures whose particular accomplishments and singular achievements were decidedly less important than their sheer presence as a powerful but faceless symbol of past greatness. For the generation of national leaders coming of age in the 1820s and 1830s – men like Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C. Calhoun – "the founders" represented a heroic but anonymous abstraction whose long shadow fell across all followers and whose legendary accomplishments defied comparison.
We can win no laurels in a war for independence," Webster acknowledged in 1825. "Earlier and worthier hands have gathered them all. Nor are there places for us ... [as] the founders of states. Our fathers have filled them. But there remains to us a great duty of defence and preservation.
Joanne B. Freeman – Freeman's area of expertise is the life and legacy of Alexander Hamilton as well as political culture of the revolutionary and early national eras.Freeman has documented the often opposing visions of the Founding Fathers as they tried to build a new framework for governance, "Regional distrust, personal animosity, accusation, suspicion, implication, and denouncement—this was the tenor of national politics from the outset."
Annette Gordon-Reed is an American historian and Harvard Law School professor. She is noted for changing scholarship on Thomas Jefferson regarding his relationship with Sally Hemings and her children. She has studied the challenges facing the Founding Fathers particularly as it relates to their position and actions on slavery. She points out "the central dilemma at the heart of American democracy: the desire to create a society based on liberty and equality" that yet does not extend those privileges to all."
David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize winning 2001 book, John Adams. , focuses on the Founding Father, and his 2005 book, 1776 , details George Washington's military history in the American Revolution and other independence events carried out by America's founders.
Peter S. Onuf – Thomas Jefferson
Jack N. Rakove – Thomas Jefferson
The Founding Fathers were portrayed in the Tony Award–winning 1969 musical 1776, which depicted the debates over, and eventual adoption of, the Declaration of Independence. The stage production was adapted into the 1972 film of the same name.
The 1989 film A More Perfect Union , which was filmed on location in Independence Hall, depicts the events of the Constitutional Convention. The writing and passing of the founding documents are depicted in the 1997 documentary miniseries Liberty! , and the passage of the Declaration of Independence is portrayed in the second episode of the 2008 miniseries John Adams and the third episode of the 2015 miniseries Sons of Liberty . The Founders also feature in the 1986 miniseries George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation , the 2002-03 animated television series Liberty's Kids , the 2020 miniseries Washington , and in many other films and television portrayals.
Several Founding Fathers—Hamilton, Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Burr—were reimagined in Hamilton, a 2015 musical inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The musical won eleven Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
In their 2015 children's book, The Founding Fathers author Jonah Winter and illustrator Barry Blitt categorized 14 leading patriots into two teams based on their contributions to the formation of America – the Varsity Squad (Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, John Adams, Madison, Jay, and Hamilton) and the Junior Varsity Squad (Sam Adams, Hancock, Henry, Morris, Marshall, Rush, and Paine).
James Madison Jr. was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the Constitution of the United States and the United States Bill of Rights. He co-wrote The Federalist Papers, co-founded the Democratic-Republican Party, and served as the fifth United States Secretary of State from 1801 to 1809.
James Monroe was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat and Founding Father who served as the fifth president of the United States from 1817 to 1825. A member of the Democratic-Republican Party, Monroe was the last president of the Virginia dynasty; his presidency coincided with the Era of Good Feelings. He is perhaps best known for issuing the Monroe Doctrine, a policy of opposing European colonialism in the Americas. He also served as the governor of Virginia, a member of the United States Senate, the U.S. ambassador to France and Britain, the seventh Secretary of State, and the eighth Secretary of War.
The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronouncement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration explained why the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain regarded themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. The declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
Alexander Hamilton was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was an influential interpreter and promoter of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the founder of the nation's financial system, the Federalist Party, the United States Coast Guard, and the New York Post newspaper. As the first secretary of the treasury, Hamilton was the main author of the economic policies of George Washington's administration. He took the lead in the federal government's funding of the states' debts, as well as establishing the nation's first two de facto central banks, the Bank of North America and the First Bank of the United States, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. His vision included a strong central government led by a vigorous executive branch, a strong commercial economy, government-controlled banks, support for manufacturing, and a strong military.
Charles Pinckney was an American planter and politician who was a signer of the United States Constitution. He was elected and served as the 37th Governor of South Carolina, later serving two more non-consecutive terms. He also served as a US Senator and a member of the House of Representatives. He was first cousin once removed of fellow signer Charles Cotesworth Pinckney.
Robert Morris, Jr. was an English-born merchant and a Founding Father of the United States. He served as a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, the Second Continental Congress, and the United States Senate, and he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution. From 1781 to 1784, he served as the Superintendent of Finance of the United States, becoming known as the "Financier of the Revolution." Along with Alexander Hamilton and Albert Gallatin, he is widely regarded as one of the founders of the financial system of the United States.
Roger Sherman was an early American statesman and lawyer, as well as a Founding Father of the United States. He is the only person to have signed all four great state papers of the United States: the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution.
Rufus King was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He was a delegate for Massachusetts to the Continental Congress and the Philadelphia Convention and was one of the signers of the United States Constitution in 1787. After formation of the new Congress he represented New York in the United States Senate. He emerged as a leading member of the Federalist Party, serving as the party's last presidential nominee in the 1816 presidential election.
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was an early American statesman of South Carolina, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He was twice nominated by the Federalist Party as its presidential candidate in 1804 and 1808, losing both elections.
Gouverneur Morris was an American statesman, a Founding Father of the United States, and a signatory to the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution. He wrote the Preamble to the United States Constitution and has been called the "Penman of the Constitution." In an era when most Americans thought of themselves as citizens of their respective states, Morris advanced the idea of being a citizen of a single union of states. He was also one of the most outspoken opponents of slavery among all of those who were present at the Constitutional Convention. He represented New York in the United States Senate from 1800 to 1803.
The Three-fifths Compromise was a compromise reached among state delegates during the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention. Delegates disputed whether and how slaves would be counted when determining a state's total population, as this number would determine a state's number of seats in the House of Representatives and how much it would pay in taxes. The compromise counted three-fifths of each state's slave population toward that state's total population for the purpose of apportioning the House of Representatives, giving the Southern states a third more seats in Congress and a third more electoral votes than if slaves had been ignored, but fewer than if slaves and free people had been counted equally. The compromise was proposed by delegate James Wilson and seconded by Charles Pinckney.
The United States Constitution has served as the supreme law of the United States since taking effect in 1789. The document was written at the 1787 Philadelphia Convention and was ratified through a series of state conventions held in 1787 and 1788. Since 1789, the Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times; particularly important amendments include the ten amendments of the United States Bill of Rights and the three Reconstruction Amendments.
Gunning Bedford Jr. was a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation, Attorney General of Delaware, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 which drafted the United States Constitution, a signer of the United States Constitution and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.
The Constitutional Convention took place from May 25 to September 17, 1787, in the old Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia. Although the convention was intended to revise the league of states and first system of government under the Articles of Confederation, the intention from the outset of many of its proponents, chief among them James Madison of Virginia and Alexander Hamilton of New York, was to create a new government rather than fix the existing one. The delegates elected George Washington of Virginia, former commanding general of the Continental Army in the late American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and proponent of a stronger national government, to become President of the convention. The result of the convention was the creation of the Constitution of the United States, placing the Convention among the most significant events in American history.
The drafting of the Constitution of the United States began on May 25, 1787, when the Constitutional Convention met for the first time with a quorum at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to revise the Articles of Confederation, and ended on September 17, 1787, the day the Constitution drafted by the convention's delegates to replace the Articles was adopted and signed. The ratification process for the Constitution began that day, and ended when the final state, Rhode Island, ratified it on May 29, 1790. In addition to key events during the Constitutional Convention and afterward while the Constitution was before the states for their ratification, this timeline includes important events that occurred during the run-up to the convention and during the nation's transition from government under the Articles of Confederation to government under the Constitution, and concludes with the unique ratification vote of Vermont, which at the time was a sovereign state outside the Union. The time span covered is 5 years, 9 months, from March 25, 1785 to January 10, 1791.
1776 is a 1972 American musical drama film directed by Peter H. Hunt. The screenplay by Peter Stone was based on his book for the 1969 Broadway musical of the same name. The song score was composed by Sherman Edwards. The film stars William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Donald Madden, John Cullum, Ken Howard and Blythe Danner.
The Confederation Period was the era of United States history in the 1780s after the American Revolution and prior to the ratification of the United States Constitution. In 1781, the United States ratified the Articles of Confederation and prevailed in the Battle of Yorktown, the last major land battle between British and American forces in the American Revolutionary War. American independence was confirmed with the 1783 signing of the Treaty of Paris. The fledgling United States faced several challenges, many of which stemmed from the lack of a strong national government and unified political culture. The period ended in 1789 following the ratification of the United States Constitution, which established a new, more powerful, national government.
John Jay was an American statesman, patriot, diplomat, Founding Father, abolitionist, negotiator, and signatory of the Treaty of Paris of 1783. He served as the second Governor of New York and the first Chief Justice of the United States (1789–1795). He directed U.S. foreign policy for much of the 1780s and was an important leader of the Federalist Party after the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788.
Events from the year 1790 in the United States.
The Signing of the United States Constitution occurred on September 17, 1787, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, representing 12 states, endorsed the Constitution created during the four-month-long convention. In addition to signatures, this endorsement, the Constitution's closing protocol, included a brief declaration that the delegates' work has been successfully completed and that those whose signatures appear on it subscribe to the final document. Included are, a statement pronouncing the document's adoption by the states present, a formulaic dating of its adoption, along with the signatures of those endorsing it. Additionally, the convention's secretary, William Jackson, added a note to verify four amendments made by hand to the final document, and signed the note to authenticate its validity.
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