history The Best American Founding Fathers  

Amy Boal
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List Rules Signers of the Declaration of Independence and/or 1787 Constitutional Convention delegates only. Upvote the men who had the most important impacts on the creation of America.

The Founding Fathers of the United States of America boast luminary names like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and John Adams. But there were dozens of signers of the Declaration of Independence and delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, many of whom had noteworthy careers in law, politics, and the military. Most of their names are known only to historians or devotees of the period.

There were dozens of people who played key roles in the founding of America, but their names have been overshadowed by the most famous of the Founders. Here's your chance to vote up the Founders that you think have been unfairly forgotten by history, or that people just don't know enough about. Likewise, if you think a Founding Father is overrated or maybe wasn't as important as people think, give them a down vote.

The Founding Fathers were a pretty interesting bunch of guys, learn more about them (including a cool essay Benjamin Franklin wrote about flatulence!) on this list of Founding Fathers facts!

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George Washington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
George Washington George Washington was the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United ...more

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Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin FRS was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A renowned polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, ...more

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Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton was a founding father of the United States, chief staff aide to General George Washington, one of the most influential interpreters and promoters of the U.S. Constitution, the ...more

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Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States. He was a spokesman for democracy, and embraced ...more

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James Madison is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
James Madison James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman, political theorist, and the fourth President of the United States. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for being instrumental in ...more

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John Adams is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
John Adams John Adams was the second president of the United States, having earlier served as the first vice president of the United States. An American Founding Father, Adams was a statesman, diplomat, and a ...more

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Samuel Adams is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Samuel Adams Samuel Adams was an American statesman, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. As a politician in colonial Massachusetts, Adams was a leader of the movement that ...more

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John Hancock is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
John Hancock John Hancock was a merchant, smuggler, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and third Governor of ...more

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Patrick Henry is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Patrick Henry Patrick Henry was an American attorney, planter and politician who became known as an orator during the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. A Founding Father, he served as the first ...more

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Benjamin Rush is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Benjamin Rush Benjamin Rush was a Founding Father of the United States. Rush was a civic leader in Philadelphia, where he was a physician, politician, social reformer, educator and humanitarian, as well as the ...more

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Richard Henry Lee is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Richard Henry Lee Richard Henry Lee was an American statesman from Virginia best known for the motion in the Second Continental Congress calling for the colonies' independence from Great Britain. He was a signatory to ...more

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Gouverneur Morris is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Gouverneur Morris Gouverneur Morris was an American statesman, a Founding Father of the United States, and a native of New York City who represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He was a ...more

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Robert Morris is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Robert Morris Robert Morris, Jr., a Founding Father of the United States, was a Liverpool-born American merchant who financed the American Revolution and was signatory to the Declaration of Independence, the ...more

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George Wythe is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
George Wythe George Wythe was the first American law professor, a noted classics scholar and Virginia judge, as well as a prominent opponent of slavery. The first of the seven Virginia signatories of the United ...more

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Samuel Chase is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Samuel Chase Samuel Chase was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and earlier was a signatory to the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Maryland. Early in life, ...more

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Roger Sherman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Roger Sherman Roger Sherman was an early American lawyer and politician, as well as a Founding Father of the United States. He served as the first mayor of New Haven, Connecticut, and served on the Committee of ...more

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Caesar Rodney is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Caesar Rodney Caesar Rodney was an American lawyer and politician from St. Jones Neck in Dover Hundred, Kent County, Delaware, east of Dover. He was an officer of the Delaware militia during the French and Indian ...more

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Francis Lightfoot Lee is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Francis Lightfoot Lee Francis Lightfoot Lee was a member of the House of Burgesses in the Colony of Virginia. As an active protester of issues such as the Stamp Act, Lee helped move the colony in the direction of ...more

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Josiah Bartlett is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Josiah Bartlett Josiah Bartlett was an American physician and statesman, delegate to the Continental Congress for New Hampshire, and signatory of the Declaration of Independence. He was later Chief Justice of the New ...more

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Robert Treat Paine is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Robert Treat Paine Robert Treat Paine was a Massachusetts lawyer and politician, best known as a signer of the Declaration of Independence as a representative of Massachusetts. He served as the state's first attorney ...more

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Edward Rutledge is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Edward Rutledge Edward Rutledge was an American politician, a slaveholder, and youngest signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. He later served as the 39th Governor of South Carolina.

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John Penn is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
John Penn John Penn was a signer of both the United States Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation as a representative of North Carolina.

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Charles Carroll of Carrollton is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Charles Carroll of Carrollton Charles Carroll, known as Charles Carroll of Carrollton or Charles Carroll III to distinguish him from his similarly named relatives, was a wealthy Maryland planter and an early advocate of ...more

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Stephen Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Stephen Hopkins Stephen Hopkins was a governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, a Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. From a ...more

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John Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
John Witherspoon John Knox Witherspoon was a Scots Presbyterian minister and a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Jersey. As president of the College of New Jersey, ...more

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George Ross is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
George Ross George Ross was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Pennsylvania. He was born in New Castle, Delaware, and educated at home. He studied law at his brother ...more

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James Wilson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
James Wilson James Wilson was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence. Wilson was elected twice to the Continental Congress, where he ...more

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William Jackson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
William Jackson William Jackson was a figure in the American Revolution, most noteworthy as the secretary to the United States Constitutional Convention. He also served with distinction in the Continental Army during ...more

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Charles Pinckney is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Charles Pinckney Charles Pinckney was an American politician who was a signer of the United States Constitution, the 37th Governor of South Carolina, a Senator and a member of the House of Representatives. He was ...more

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Francis Hopkinson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Francis Hopkinson Francis Hopkinson was an American author and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from New Jersey. He later served as a federal judge in Pennsylvania. He played a key ...more

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William Ellery is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
William Ellery William Ellery was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Rhode Island. In 1764, the Baptists consulted with Ellery and the Congregationalist Reverend Ezra ...more

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Lyman Hall is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Lyman Hall Lyman Hall, physician, clergyman, and statesman, was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Georgia. Hall County is named after him.

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James McHenry is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
James McHenry James McHenry was an Irish-born American statesman. McHenry was a signer of the United States Constitution from Maryland and the namesake of Fort McHenry. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress ...more

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Thomas Fitzsimons is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Thomas Fitzsimons Thomas Fitzsimons was an American merchant and statesman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He represented Pennsylvania in the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the U.S. Congress.

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Philip Livingston is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Philip Livingston Philip Livingston was an American merchant and statesman from New York City. He was a delegate for New York to the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1778, and signed the Declaration of Independence.

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John Langdon is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
John Langdon John Langdon, a Founding Father of the United States who, as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention signed the United States Constitution, was a politician from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and one ...more

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Abraham Clark is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Abraham Clark Abraham Clark was an American politician and Revolutionary War figure. He was delegate for New Jersey to the Continental Congress where he signed the Declaration of Independence and later served in ...more

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Rufus King is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Rufus King Rufus King was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He was a delegate for Massachusetts to the Continental Congress. He also attended the Constitutional Convention and was one of the signers ...more

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William Blount is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
William Blount William Blount was an American statesman and land speculator, and a signer of the United States Constitution. He was a member of the North Carolina delegation at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, ...more

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Button Gwinnett is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Button Gwinnett Button Gwinnett was a British-born American political leader who, as a representative of Georgia to the Continental Congress, was the second of the signatories on the United States Declaration of ...more

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William Samuel Johnson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
William Samuel Johnson William Samuel Johnson was an early American statesman who was notable for signing the United States Constitution, for representing Connecticut in the United States Senate, and for serving as ...more

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Thomas Mifflin is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Thomas Mifflin Thomas Mifflin was an American merchant and politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a major general in the Continental Army and the 1st and 3rd Quartermaster General during the American ...more

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James Smith is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
James Smith James L. Smith, was an American lawyer and a signer to the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Pennsylvania. He was born in Province of Ulster, Ireland; his family ...more

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George Taylor is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
George Taylor George Taylor was a Colonial ironmaster and a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Pennsylvania. Today, his former home, the George Taylor House in ...more

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Aaron Burr is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Aaron Burr Aaron Burr, Jr. was the third Vice President of the United States; he served during President Thomas Jefferson's first term. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr ...more

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John Blair, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
John Blair, Jr. John Blair, Jr. was an American politician, Founding Father and jurist. Blair was one of the best-trained jurists of his day. A famous legal scholar, he avoided the tumult of state politics, ...more

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Charles Cotesworth Pinckney is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Charles Cotesworth "C. C." Pinckney, was an early American statesman of South Carolina, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He was twice nominated by ...more

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Richard Bassett is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Richard Bassett Richard Bassett was an American lawyer and political figure from the state of Delaware who, as a veteran of the Revolutionary War and delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, is considered ...more

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Nathaniel Gorham is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Nathaniel Gorham Nathaniel Gorham was a politician and merchant from Massachusetts. He was a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, and for six months served as the presiding officer of that body. He ...more

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Gunning Bedford, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Gunning Bedford, Jr. Gunning Bedford, Jr. was an American lawyer and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware. He served in the Delaware General Assembly, as a Continental Congressman from Delaware and ...more