MADISON, Wisconsin — In honor of The United States’ 238th birthday, The Borgen Project has compiled a list of the ten most important founding fathers. The founding fathers were men who signed the Declaration of Independence, took part in the American Revolutionary War and helped create the U.S. Constitution. These three activities ultimately helped shape the country to what it is today: a beacon of hope, freedom and opportunity.
10. Gouverneur Morris
Gouverneur Morris helped to foment the idea of being loyal to the country and not the individual states. He was a member of the Second Continental Congress, signed the Articles of Confederation and is credited with writing parts of the Constitution. Many credit him for writing its preamble.
Photo: Special Forces
9. Alexander Hamilton
Hamilton fought during the Revolutionary War, but his most important roles came after the war when he wrote The Federalist Papers and became the first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton appears on the U.S. $20 bill and is credited with creating the basis for America’s financing and economics.
8. Thomas Paine
Many credit Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense as the final encouragement needed to break away from Great Britain. He is one of the most brilliant writers in American history, solidifying popular opinion that America should be a free and independent entity from Great Britain.
7. Patrick Henry
“Give me liberty, or give me death.” These words from Patrick Henry epitomize the fight for freedom. He was a huge proponent of the Bill of Rights because he wanted the individuals freedoms to be stated outright.
6. Samuel Adams
One of the founder of the Sons of Liberty, Adams was a true rebel from the start. He helped organize the Boston Tea Party, was a delegate at the First and Second Continental Congress, fought for the Declaration of Independence and helped craft the Articles of Confederation. Later he would become governor of Massachusetts and craft the Massachusetts Constitution.
Photo: The Federalist Papers
5. Benjamin Franklin
One of the most brilliant minds of all times, Benjamin Franklin was integral to the American independence movement. He was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, was a part of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence, obtained French aid for America during the Revolutionary War and negotiated the Treaty of Paris which officially ended the war.
Photo: Brain Pickings
4. James Madison
Known as the Father of the Constitution, Madison wrote about how the federal government should be run. He also drafted the Bill of Rights which outlines each individual’s basic freedoms. Later he would become the fourth president of the United States.
3. Thomas Jefferson
A delegate at the Second Continental Congress, Jefferson was selected to be a part of the Committee of Five that would draft the Declaration of Independence. There, he was unanimously voted to write the Declaration. After serving as a diplomat in France and then vice president to John Adams, Jefferson became the third president of the United States and is to this day one of the most popular leaders in American history.
2. John Adams
John Adams was a member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence and was essential to its implementation. He was also integral to ending the war with Great Britain, and after serving as vice-president to George Washington, he would become the second president of the United States.
1. George Washington
George Washington was a constant source of support and leadership during the fight for independence. He served as leader of the Continental Army, president of the Constitutional Convention, and most importantly was the first president of the United States.
– Sarah Dalgleish
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