History The Best American Founding Fathers  

Amy Boal
Originally by
21k votes 3.4k voters 86.8k views 89 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
1,261 352
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
February 22, 1732—Westmoreland County, Virginia 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 ...more

2
1,143 367
Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 17, 1706—Boston, MA 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

3
1,352 379
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 11, 1757—Charlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis 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

4
1,069 394
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
April 13, 1743—Shadwell, VA 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
717 256
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
March 16, 1751—Port Conway, VA 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 ...more

6
742 314
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
October 30, 1735—Quincy, MA 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, ...more

7
548 232
Samuel Adams is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
September 27, 1722—Boston, MA 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 ...more

8
433 176
Patrick Henry is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
James Englebert added May 29, 1736—Studley, VA 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 ...more

9
515 226
John Hancock is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 23, 1737—Braintree, MA 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 ...more

10
204 186
Roger Sherman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
April 19, 1721—Newton, MA 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 ...more

11
170 66
James Monroe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Monroe Hall, Virginia, United States of America James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States. Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the ...more

12
202 162
Gouverneur Morris is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 30, 1752—New York City, NY 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

13
323 291
Aaron Burr is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
February 6, 1756—Newark, NJ 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, ...more

14
187 172
Benjamin Rush is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 4, 1746—Philadelphia, PA 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 ...more

15
192 147
Richard Henry Lee is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 20, 1732—Stratford Hall, VA 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 ...more

16
139 126
John Penn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Caroline County, Contiguous United States, United States of America John Penn was a signer of both the United States Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation as a representative of North Carolina.

17
136 111
Robert Morris is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
January 20, 1734—Liverpool, United Kingdom 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

18
133 139
Francis Lightfoot Lee is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
October 14, 1734—Stratford Hall, VA 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

19
88 108
Benjamin Harrison is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Ohio, United States, with Territories Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States; he was the grandson of the ninth President, William Henry Harrison. Harrison had become a prominent local attorney, Presbyterian ...more

20
110 114
Samuel Chase is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Maryland, United States of America 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 ...more

21
95 111
Caesar Rodney is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Dover, Delaware, United States of America 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 ...more

22
103 98
Charles Carroll of Carrollton is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Annapolis, Maryland, United States of America 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

23
64 86
Elbridge Gerry is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Marblehead, United States of America, United States Elbridge Thomas Gerry was an American statesman and diplomat. As a Democratic-Republican he was selected as the fifth Vice President of the United States, serving under James Madison. He is ...more

24
99 90
George Wythe is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area, Hampton 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 ...more

25
88 81
John Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Gifford, United Kingdom 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 ...more

26
101 100
Josiah Bartlett is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
November 21, 1729—Amesbury, MA 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 ...more

27
79 71
Robert Treat Paine is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America 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 ...more

28
66 68
Rufus King is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Scarborough, Maine, United States of America 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 ...more

29
66 80
Lyman Hall is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Eastern United States, Wallingford, New England 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.

30
70 73
John Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Talbot County, United States, with Territories John Dickinson, a Founding Father of the United States, was a solicitor and politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware known as the "Penman of the Revolution" ...more

31
80 75
Stephen Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Eastern United States, New England, Rhode Island 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 ...more

32
66 79
Edward Rutledge is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America 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.

33
67 75
William Jackson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Cumberland, United Kingdom 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 ...more

34
57 68
Francis Hopkinson is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America 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 ...more

35
59 73
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America 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 ...more

36
73 77
Charles Pinckney is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America 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 ...more

37
50 49
George Taylor is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Republic of Ireland 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

38
54 51
James Wilson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Eurasia, United Kingdom, Fife 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

39
47 63
James McHenry is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Ballymena, United Kingdom 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 ...more

40
51 64
William Blount is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Eastern North Carolina, Atlantic coastal plain, United States of America 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 ...more

41
52 67
Button Gwinnett is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Gloucester, United Kingdom 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 ...more

42
50 54
Abraham Clark is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States of America 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 ...more

43
50 70
George Ross is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
New Castle, Delaware, United States of America 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 ...more

44
43 44
John Langdon is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States of America 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, ...more

45
41 58
Abraham Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Guilford, Connecticut, USA Abraham Baldwin was a Connecticut-born and raised minister, Patriot, American politician, and Founding Father. A graduate of Yale University and its divinity school, after the Revolutionary War ...more

46
47 52
Richard Bassett is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Maryland, United States of America 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 ...more

47
41 49
Francis Lewis is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Wales, South Glamorgan, Eurasia Francis Lewis was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New York. Born in Llangurig, Powys, Wales, he was the child of Morgan Lewis and Anne ...more

48
40 45
Thomas Mifflin is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America 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 ...more

49
39 43
William Whipple is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Kittery, Maine, United States of America William Whipple, Jr. was a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Hampshire. Whipple was a member of the Continental congress from 1776 through ...more

50
48 71
Thomas Fitzsimons is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Leinster, Republic of Ireland 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.