Weird History

The Best American Founding Fathers 

Amy Boal
Originally by
Updated June 14, 2019 30.4k votes 4.9k voters 118.6k views 87 items

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!
list ordered by
1
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
February 22, 1732—Westmoreland County, Virginia

Nationality: British America

George Washington was the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the ...more
2
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 11, 1757—Charlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis

Nationality: United States of America

Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 – July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker and economist. He was one of the Founding ...more
3
Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 17, 1706—Boston, MA

Nationality: United States of America

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705] – April 17, 1790) was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, ...more
4
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
April 13, 1743—Shadwell, VA

Nationality: United States of America

Party (if partisan): Democratic-Republican Party

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 ...more
5
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
March 16, 1751—Port Conway, VA

Nationality: United States of America

Party (if partisan): Democratic-Republican Party

James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 ...more
6
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
October 30, 1735—Quincy, MA

Nationality: United States of America

Party (if partisan): Federalist Party

John Adams Jr. (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to ...more
7
Samuel Adams is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
September 27, 1722—Boston, MA

Nationality: United States of America

Samuel Adams (September 27 [O.S. September 16] 1722 – October 2, 1803) was an American statesman, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a politician ...more
8
John Hancock is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 23, 1737—Braintree, MA
John Hancock (January 23, 1737 [O.S. January 12, 1736] – October 8, 1793) was an American merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the ...more
9
Patrick Henry is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
James Englebert added May 29, 1736—Studley, VA

Nationality: United States of America

Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) was an American attorney, planter, and orator best known for his declaration to the Second Virginia Convention (1775): "Give me liberty, or give ...more
10
Benjamin Rush is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 4, 1746—Philadelphia, PA

Nationality: United States of America

Benjamin Rush (January 4, 1746 [O.S. December 24, 1745] – April 19, 1813) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence (U.S.) and a civic leader in Philadelphia, where he was a physician, ...more
11
James Monroe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Monroe Hall, Virginia, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Party (if partisan): Democratic-Republican Party

James Monroe (; April 28, 1758 – July 4, 1831) was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat and Founding Father who served as the fifth president of the United States from 1817 to 1825. A member ...more
12
Roger Sherman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
April 19, 1721—Newton, MA

Nationality: United States of America

Roger Sherman (April 19, 1721 – July 23, 1793) was an early American statesman and lawyer, as well as a Founding Father of the United States. He is the only person to have signed all four great ...more
13
Gouverneur Morris is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 30, 1752—New York City, NY

Nationality: United States of America

Gouverneur Morris (30 January 1752 – 6 November 1816) was an American statesman, a Founding Father of the United States, and a signatory to the Articles of Confederation and the United States ...more
14
John Penn is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Virginia, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

John Penn (May 17, 1741 – September 14, 1788) was a signer of both the United States Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation as a delegate of North Carolina.
15
Richard Henry Lee is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 20, 1732—Stratford Hall, VA

Nationality: United States of America

Richard Henry Lee (January 20, 1732 – June 19, 1794) was an American statesman and Founding Father from Virginia best known for the Lee Resolution, the motion in the Second Continental Congress ...more
16
Robert Morris is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 20, 1734—Liverpool, United Kingdom

Nationality: United States of America

Robert Morris, Jr. (January 20, 1734 – May 8, 1806) was an English-born merchant and a Founding Father of the United States. He served as a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, the Second ...more
17
Rufus King is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Scarborough, Maine, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Party (if partisan): Federalist Party

Rufus King (March 24, 1755 – April 29, 1827) was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He was a delegate for Massachusetts to the Continental Congress and the Philadelphia Convention and ...more
18
Aaron Burr is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
February 6, 1756—Newark, NJ

Nationality: United States of America

Aaron Burr Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician and lawyer. He was the third vice president of the United States (1801–1805), serving during President Thomas ...more
19
Charles Carroll of Carro... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Annapolis, Maryland, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Charles Carroll (September 19, 1737 – November 14, 1832), known as Charles Carroll of Carrollton or Charles Carroll III to distinguish him from his similarly-named relatives, was a wealthy ...more
20
Francis Lightfoot Lee is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
October 14, 1734—Stratford Hall, VA

Nationality: United States of America

Francis Lightfoot Lee (October 14, 1734 – January 11, 1797) was a member of the House of Burgesses in the Colony of Virginia. As an active protester regarding issues such as the Stamp Act, Lee ...more
21
Robert Treat Paine is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Robert Treat Paine (March 11, 1731 – May 11, 1814) was a Massachusetts lawyer and politician, best known as a signer of the Declaration of Independence as a representative of Massachusetts. He ...more
22
John Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Maryland, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

John Dickinson (November 2 Jul./November 13Greg., 1732 – February 14, 1808), a Founding Father of the United States, was a solicitor and politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and ...more
23
Samuel Chase is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Maryland, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Samuel Chase (April 17, 1741 – June 19, 1811) was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and a signatory to the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of ...more
24
George Wythe is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Hampton

Nationality: United States of America

George Wythe (;December 3, 1726 – June 8, 1806) was the first American law professor, a noted classics scholar, and a Virginia judge. The first of the seven Virginia signatories of the United ...more
25
John Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Gifford, United Kingdom

Nationality: United States of America, Scotland

John Knox Witherspoon (February 5, 1723 – November 15, 1794) was a Scottish-American Presbyterian minister and a Founding Father of the United States. Witherspoon embraced the concepts of ...more