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The Best American Founding Fathers

Updated June 14, 2019 34.6k votes 5.4k voters 127.6k views87 items

List RulesSigners 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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    2,190
    532

    George Washington

    February 22, 1732—Westmoreland County

    NationalityBritish America

    George Washington was the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the...  more
  • 2
    2,280
    686

    Alexander Hamilton

    January 11, 1757—Charlestown

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 – July 12, 1804) was an American statesman,...  more
  • 3
    1,853
    576

    Benjamin Franklin

    January 17, 1706—Boston

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705] – April 17, 1790) was an American...  more
  • 4
    1,765
    638

    Thomas Jefferson

    April 13, 1743—Shadwell

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Party (if partisan)Democratic-Republican Party

    Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of...  more
  • 5
    1,194
    443

    James Madison

    March 16, 1751—Port Conway

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Party (if partisan)Democratic-Republican Party

    James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, lawyer,...  more
  • 6
    1,266
    475

    John Adams

    October 30, 1735—Quincy

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Party (if partisan)Federalist Party

    John Adams Jr. (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney,...  more
  • 7
    878
    393

    Samuel Adams

    September 27, 1722—Boston

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Samuel Adams (September 27 [O.S. September 16] 1722 – October 2, 1803) was an American...  more
  • 8
    812
    376

    John Hancock

    January 23, 1737—Braintree

    NationalityUnited States of America

    John Hancock (January 23, 1737 [O.S. January 12, 1736] – October 8, 1793) was an American...  more
  • 9
    723
    324

    Patrick Henry

    May 29, 1736—Studley

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) was an American attorney, planter, and orator best...  more
  • 10
    478
    223

    James Monroe

    Monroe Hall, Virginia

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Party (if partisan)Democratic-Republican Party

    James Monroe (; April 28, 1758 – July 4, 1831) was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat and...  more
  • 11
    377
    277

    Gouverneur Morris

    January 30, 1752—New York City

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Gouverneur Morris (30 January 1752 – 6 November 1816) was an American statesman, a Founding...  more
  • 12
    361
    297

    Benjamin Rush

    January 4, 1746—Philadelphia

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Benjamin Rush (January 4, 1746 [O.S. December 24, 1745] – April 19, 1813) was a signer of the...  more
  • 13
    319
    244

    Richard Henry Lee

    January 20, 1732—Stratford Hall

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Richard Henry Lee (January 20, 1732 – June 19, 1794) was an American statesman and Founding...  more
  • 14
    342
    302

    Roger Sherman

    April 19, 1721—Newton

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Roger Sherman (April 19, 1721 – July 23, 1793) was an early American statesman and lawyer, as...  more
  • 15
    255
    184

    Robert Morris

    January 20, 1734—Liverpool

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Robert Morris, Jr. (January 20, 1734 – May 8, 1806) was an English-born merchant and a...  more
  • 16
    170
    141

    Rufus King

    Scarborough, Maine

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Party (if partisan)Federalist Party

    Rufus King (March 24, 1755 – April 29, 1827) was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat....  more
  • 17
    171
    132

    Robert Treat Paine

    Boston, Massachusetts

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Robert Treat Paine (March 11, 1731 – May 11, 1814) was a Massachusetts lawyer and politician,...  more
  • 18
    243
    221

    John Penn

    Virginia, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    John Penn (May 17, 1741 – September 14, 1788) was a signer of both the United States...  more
  • 19
    170
    134

    John Dickinson

    Maryland, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    John Dickinson (November 2 Jul./November 13Greg., 1732 – February 14, 1808), a Founding Father...  more
  • 20
    205
    182

    Samuel Chase

    Maryland, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Samuel Chase (April 17, 1741 – June 19, 1811) was an Associate Justice of the United States...  more
  • 21
    174
    165

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Charles Carroll (September 19, 1737 – November 14, 1832), known as Charles Carroll of...  more
  • 22
    167
    157

    John Witherspoon

    Gifford, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited States of America, Scotland

    John Knox Witherspoon (February 5, 1723 – November 15, 1794) was a Scottish-American...  more
  • 23
    130
    111

    Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

    Charleston, South Carolina

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Party (if partisan)Federalist Party

    Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (February 25, 1746 – August 16, 1825) was an early American...  more
  • 24
    166
    148

    NationalityUnited States of America

    George Wythe (;December 3, 1726 – June 8, 1806) was the first American law professor, a noted...  more
  • 25
    125
    96

    James Wilson

    Ceres, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited States of America, Scotland

    James Wilson (September 14, 1742 – August 21, 1798) was one of the Founding Fathers of the...  more