Founding Fathers Of The United States of America
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, and establishing the United States Constitution.
Within the large group known as the “Founding Fathers”, there are two key subsets: the Signers of the Declaration of Independence (who signed the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776) and the Framers of the Constitution (who were delegates to the Constitutional Convention and took part in framing or drafting the proposed Constitution of the United States). A further subset is the group that signed the Articles of Confederation.
Warren G. Harding, then a Republican Senator from Ohio, coined the phrase “Founding Fathers” in his keynote address to the 1916 Republican National Convention. He used it several times thereafter, most prominently in his 1921 inaugural address as President of the United States.
The links below represent our ever growing collection of books and source documents designed to tell the tale of the Founding Fathers and the Founding Era without the filter of either the public education system or the media.
George Washington’s Farewell Address – Washington’s Farewell Address is considered on of the most important and influential writings of the founding era. In fact every year since 1896, the Senate has observed Washington’s Birthday by selecting one of its members, alternating parties, to read the 7,641-word statement in legislative session
George Washington the Christian by William J. Johnson – Originally written in 1919, William Johnson, citing dozens of letters and books puts forth the case that Washington was not, as many claim, a deist, meaning a belief in a God, but one uninvolved with the world after its creation.
Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior by George Washington – This is one of the very few documents to survive from George Washington’s childhood and adolescence.
The Maxims of Washington by John Fred Shroeder – The Maxims of Washington is a small collection of the writings of George Washington taken by the author from public documents, private letters, manuscripts and printed volumes, with a view to the completeness and interest of the collection found within. Nothing but authentic materials were used in this compilation.
The Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 by H.M. Brackenridge – This was the first use of the Militia Law of 1792 setting a precedent for the use of the militia to “execute the laws of the union, (and) suppress insurrections,” asserting the right of the national government to enforce order in one state with troops raised in other states. Even more importantly, it was the first test of power of the new federal government, establishing its primacy in disputes with individual states.
The Wisdom of George Washington by Bill Bailey – The Wisdom of George Washington is unlike biographies or other publications about the Father of his country. This effort uses Washington’s own words to tell his story from his youth until his death.
A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law – -In this document Adams explained that the opposition of the colonies to the Stamps Act was because the act deprived the American colonists of two basic rights guaranteed to all Englishmen, and which all free men deserved: rights to be taxed only by consent and to be tried only by a jury of one’s peers.
John Adams – Statesman of the American Revolution by Mellen Chamberlain – John Adams entered public life with the first session of the Continental Congress, which met at Philadelphia, September 5, 1774, and re- upon mained in the service of the country almost uninterruptedly until the close of his administration, March 4, 1801.
Letters of John and Abigail Adams During the Revolution by Charles Francis Adams – “The Letters of John and Abigail Adams” provides an insightful record of American life before, during, and after the Revolution.
Novanglus Essays by John Adams – Novanglus, meaning “New Englander,” is the pseudonym used by John Adams in 1774 and 1775 for a series of letters he published in the Boston Gazette just prior to the start of the armed conflict in America.
Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 – The Kentucky Resolutions asserted that states had the power to nullify unconstitutional federal laws.
Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth by Thomas Jefferson – The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth is commonly referred to as the Jefferson Bible. This volume was kept largely secret and passed among Jefferson’s relatives until 1895, when it was discovered by the librarian at the Smithsonian. In 1904, it was published by Congress.
Notes On The State Of Virginia – Notes on the State of Virginia is the only full length book written by Thomas Jefferson.
Original Draft of the Declaration of Independence – The original draft of the Declaration of Independence
Summary View of the Rights of British America by Thomas Jefferson– A Summary View of the Rights of British America was a tract written before the U.S. Declaration of Independence in which Jefferson laid out justifications for the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution.
The True Thomas Jefferson” by William E. Curtis – The True Thomas Jefferson is not a formal biography, it is intended to be a series of sketches as graphic and as accurate as possible, without partisanship or prejudice, of a remarkable man.
The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom, 1786 – Argues that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.
Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 by James Madison – Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 was James Madison’s record of the daily debates held by delegates at the Philadelphia Convention, which resulted in the drafting of the current United States Constitution.
The Life of James Madison by Sydney Howard Gay – Madison is one of the men of whom the country has always, and with good reason, been especially proud. It was not alone that his character was high, but his qualities as a statesman have been recognized as of the first order. None of our public men has been more useful to the country.
Benjamin Franklin Autobiography – Considered to be the greatest autobiography produced in Colonial America, Franklin’s Autobiography portrays a fascinating picture of life in Philadelphia, as well as Franklin’s shrewd observations on the literature, philosophy and religion of America’s Colonial and Revolutionary periods
Letter of Silence Dogood – Young Ben Franklin never got anything he wrote published so he wrote 14 letters under the assumed name of a woman, Silence Dogood. The letters poked fun at various aspects of life in colonial America, such as the drunkenness of locals, religious hypocrisy, and the persecution of women.
Poor Richard’s Almanack by Benjamin Franklin – Poor Richard’s Almanack was published yearly by Benjamin Franklin under the pseudonym of “Poor Richard” or “Richard Saunders”. The publication appeared continually from 1732 to 1758. It was a best seller for a pamphlet published in the American colonies; print runs reached more than 10,000 per year.
Real Benjamin Franklin – The Real Benjamin Franklin seats us across the table from the one person who really knew Benjamin Franklin — that is, Franklin himself — and gives him an opportunity to explain his life and ideas in his own words.
Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin – “The Way to Wealth” is an essay written by Benjamin Franklin in 1758. It is a collection of adages and advice presented in Poor Richard’s Almanack during its first 25 years of publication, organized into a speech given by “Father Abraham” to a group of people.
Life And Public Services of Samuel Adams by William V. Wells – His writings are evidence of his amazing industry, his courage, ceaseless vigilance, wise statesmanship, and his cheerfulness and fortitude amid disasters.
The Life of Samuel Adams by James K. Hosner – In the constellation of great men, which adorned the revolutionary era few shone with more brilliancy, or exercised a more powerful influence than Samuel Adams.
Life, Correspondence & Speeches of Patrick Henry by William Wirt Henry – This is the epic story of Patrick Henry in his own words. Remembered largely for his cry for “liberty or death,” Henry was one of the first (and most colorful) of America’s Founding Fathers—first to call Americans to arms against Britain, first to demand a bill of rights, and first to fight the growth of big government after the Revolution.
Patrick Henry – American Statesman by Moses Coit Tyler – Patrick Henry was a consistent advocate of State Rights, and was ever jealous of any infringement upon them. For that reason, he was opposed to the Federal Constitution, and in the Virginia convention, called in 1788, to consider it, he opposed its ratification with all the power of his great eloquence
Common Sense by Thomas Paine – Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. and published in 1776, Common Sense challenged the authority of the British government and the royal monarchy. The plain language that Paine used spoke to the common people of America and was the first work to openly ask for independence from Great Britain.
The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine – The Age of Reason contains his opinions of religion. In the introduction Paine writes “You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine.
The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine –The Rights of Man posits that popular political revolution is permissible when a government does not safeguard its people, their natural rights, and their national interests.
Other Founding Fathers
John Hancock, Patriot – John Hancock’s large contributions to the Revolutionary cause; his skillful guidance of discordant statesmen into agreement in a critical time; his efficient service in retaining the French good-will when its threatened loss would have entailed eventual defeat at Yorktown; his influence in securing the ratification of the Constitution by Massachusetts, and in consequence by a majority of the States, —all these services and responsibilities together made him a man to be reckoned with in a troubled period.
The Writings of Benjamin Rush – Benjamin Rush’s pamphlets, articles, letters, and speeches mount into the thousands. He pleaded for the abolition of slavery. He argued for the amelioration of the lot of civil prisoners. He advocated the establishment of special hospitals for the insane. There was no current cause worthy of support that did not benefit from the warm heart, the outstretched hand, and the uplifted voice of Benjamin Rush.
Life of Dolley Madison by Maud W. Goodwin – Dolley Payne Todd Madison (May 20, 1768 – July 12, 1849) was the spouse of the fourth President of the United States, James Madison, and was First Lady of the United States from 1809 to 1817. She was notable for her social gifts and helped define the role of the First Lady
Life of Catherine Schuyler by Mary G. Humphreys – Through the position of her own family and as the wife of General Philip Schuyler, she is a representative figure among the women of the Dutch Colony and the matrons of the Revolution.
The Life of Eliza Pinkney by Harriet H.Ravenel – Eliza Lucas Pinckney (December 28, 1722–1793) changed agriculture in colonial South Carolina, where she developed indigo as one of its most important cash crops.
Life of Martha Washington by Anne H. Wharton – The story of Martha Washington s life has not been an easy one to tell, so largely has she, as a distinct personality, been overshadowed by the greater importance of the figure that has stood beside her.
Life of Mercy Otis Warren by Alice Brown – Mercy Otis Warren, sister of James Otis, was born in Barnstable, Massachusetts September 1728. She was important as a political writer and propagandist of the American Revolution
Founding Father Quotes
The Essential Abigail Adams – In this booklet are the most important and essential Abigail Adams quotes and her biography. References are included if you wish to research the original document.
The Essential Alexander Hamilton – In this page booklet are the most important and essential Alexander Hamilton quotes. References are included if you wish to research the original document.
The Essential Benjamin Franklin – In thisbooklet are the most important and essential Benjamin Franklin quotes. References are included if you wish to research the original document.
The Essential Founding Fathers – In this booklet are the most important and essential Founding Father quotes. References are included if you wish to research the original document.
The Essential James Madison – In this booklet are the most important and essential James Madison quotes. References are included if you wish to research the original document.
The Essential John Adams – In this booklet are the most important and essential John Adams quotes. References are included if you wish to research the original document.
The Essential Thomas Jefferson – In this booklet are the most important and essential Thomas Jefferson quotes. References are included if you wish to research the original document.
The Essential Thomas Paine –In this booklet are the most important and essential Thomas Paine quotes. References are included if you wish to research the original document.