Founding Fathers

  • Samuel Adams
  • John Hancock
  • John Adams
  • Paul Revere
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Thomas Paine
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • Patrick Henry
  • George Washington

Samuel Adams

  • Born 1722, Died 1803
  • Harvard Degree 1740
  • “The Son’s of Liberty”
  • Mastermind behind the
  • Boston Massacre propaganda campaign and the Boston Tea Party
    • Declined to participate in the Constitutional Convention of 1787,  believing the Constitution would give the American government too much power.
    • (He and John Hancock were almost captured by the British when Paul Revere arrived in time to warn the British were coming.  Local militia forces met the British and fighting between the two groups began. This marked the beginning of the War for Independence)

John Hancock

  • Born 1737, Died 1793
  • Boston Business Man
  • Graduated Harvard Business school
  • The British seizure of  the Liberty prompted festering Anti-British sentiment
  • President of the Continental Congress in 1775
  • He voted for, and was the first delegate to sign, the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams

  • Born 1735, Died 1826
  • Graduated from Harvard Law college
  • Defended John Hancock from English and English soldiers from Colonials.
  • Acted as Diplomat to France and Holland during the war
  • Served as Vice-President after the war under Washington
  • Elected 2nd President in 1796 (beat Jefferson by 3  votes)
  • Was a Federalist as opposed to a Republican
  • (Fought a Quasi War with the French who did not show the proper respect for America)

Paul Revere

  • Born 1735, Died 1818
  • Silversmith.
  • 1768 he made a famous silver bowl created for the Sons of Liberty
  • Revere helped to craft the press of the Boston Massacre
  • Most famous for his ride to warn American patriots of a planned British attack on concord
  • Revere signalled warning by hanging two lanterns in the tower of Boston’s North Church
  • “One if by Land, two if by Sea”
  • He crossed the river, “borrowed” a horse and went to Concord.
  • Yelling all the way “The British are coming, the British are coming”

Benjamin Franklin

  • Born 1706, Died 1790
  • Wrote in newspapers under the pen name “Silence Dogood”
  • Worked for numerous papers.
  • His testimony before Parliament helped persuade them to repeal the stamp act.
  • Elected to the Second Continental Congress and worked on the committee of five to draft the Declaration of Independence which he signed
  • Acted as an ambassador to the Court of Louis XVI.
  • (Invented a heat-efficient stove, swim fins and bifocals. Refused to take out a patent as the stove was invented to help improve society.  His kite experiment, which verified the nature of electricity and lightning, brought him international
  • fame.)

Thomas Paine and Common Sense

  • Born 1737 (England), Died 1809
  • A nobody until he came to America
  • Wrote and published his pamphlet: Common Sense (1776)
  • It challenged the authority of the Monarchy.
  • The plain language appealed to the common people of America and it was the first work to openly call for independence.
  • It established his reputation as a revolutionary propagandist. (Although he had only been in America for less than a year.)
  • He opposed any reconciliation with England
  • He called for the establishment of a republican constitution.
  • He was convinced that the American Revolution was a crusade for a superior political system and that America was ultimately unconquerable.

Thomas Jefferson

  • Born 1743, Died 1826
  • In Virginia he inherited land and property (slaves) from his father.
  • Author of the Declaration of Independence
  • Ironic that this slave owner should write that “all men are created equal”
  • 3rd President of the United States of America
  • (It is said that John Adams’ last words were “Jefferson still lives” or words to that affect.  Ironically, Jefferson died 3hrs. before Adams on July 4, 1826 on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence)

Alexander Hamilton

  • Born 1757, Died 1804
  • George Washington noticed him in the Militia
  • He was an outspoken member of the Convention which created the Federal Constitution.  (He resigned to practice law, however he was the only New Yorker who signed the Constitution)
  • In government he was influential in the early American economy
  • By 1792, Hamilton and Jefferson (Madison) argued over Hamilton’s domestic fiscal goals and friendly foreign policies towards Britain.
  • (the beginning of Federalist and Republican Parties)

Patrick Henry

  • Born 1736, Died 1799
  • He was the “orator of liberty” or the “voice of the revolution”
  • Major opponent of taxation without representation.
  • Known for his speeches: “If this be treason, make the most of it.”
  • His most famous speech was delivered in 1775 and became the call to arms that led the colonies into the Revolution….
  • “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
  • He worked on the Bill of Rights; desiring a more effective government that protected basic individual liberties.
  • When the republic was threatened by the idea that any state had the power to nullify acts of the Federal government he spoke of unity.
  • (Refused career opportunities, including Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Secretary of State, and turned down a sixth term as governor of Virginia.)

George Washington

  • Born 1732, Died 1799
  • A lieutenant colonel in the French and Indian War. (4 bullets 2 horses)
  • Washington elected Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in 1775
  • In 1781, with the aid of French allies, he forced the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, effectively ending the war.
  • Washington was unanimously elected president by the electoral college when the constitution was ratified in 1787.  Oath of office in N.Y. in 1789
  • The French Revolution (1789) eventually led to a war with England, Washington refused the recommendations of either his Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, (pro-French), or his Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton (pro-British). He insisted upon neutrality to protect America.
  • (Two parties were developing by the end of his first term. he retired at the end of his second. He urged his countrymen to forswear excessive party spirit and geographical distinctions. In foreign affairs, he warned against long-term alliances.)
  • Revolutionary Rebels
  • Unlike most revolutionaries, these founding fathers of America were reluctant hero’s; pressed into service by their common need to defend their land and their livelihood.
  • Had circumstances been different, history would have regarded them as traitorous lunatics who dared to defy the will of the greatest Empire on the planet.

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