Founding Fathers of the United States

group of Americans who led the revolution against Great Britain

The Founding Fathers refers to certain men who lived during the American Revolutionary War era. These men signed the Declaration of Independence, either helped write the Constitution of the United States, or helped win the American Revolutionary War. Many of these men were members of the Continental Congress at some point. The term "Founding Fathers" was first used for these people in 1916.[1]

John Trumbull's painting, Declaration of Independence, depicting the five-man committee who wrote the Declaration of Independence presenting their work to the Congress.

There were many people who were Founding Fathers. Some scholars like to limit them to a small number, such as seven: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison.[2]

Most of the Founding Fathers were large landowners or rich merchants. Most of them owned slaves. After the Constitution, many of the Founding Fathers became leaders in the federal government. Five of them, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and James Monroe, were later elected president of the United States.


  1. Bernstein, Richard B.; Rice, Kym S. (1987). Are We to be a Nation?: The Making of the Constitution. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-04476-0.
  2. Morris, Richard Brandon (1973). Seven who Shaped Our Destiny: The Founding Fathers as Revolutionaries. Harper & Row. ISBN 978-0-06-013078-7.