History The Best American Founding Fathers  

Amy Boal
Originally by
20k votes 3.3k voters 78.2k 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!

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1,213 338
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
George Washington 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

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1,113 338
Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Benjamin Franklin 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

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1,284 367
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Alexander Hamilton 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

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1,035 373
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Thomas Jefferson 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

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685 244
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
James Madison 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

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714 297
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
John Adams 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

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525 220
Samuel Adams is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Samuel Adams 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

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495 213
John Hancock is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
John Hancock 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

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417 169
Patrick Henry is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
James Englebert added Patrick Henry 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

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154 55
James Monroe is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
James Monroe 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

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195 176
Roger Sherman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Roger Sherman 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

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187 153
Gouverneur Morris is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Gouverneur Morris 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

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304 269
Aaron Burr is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Aaron Burr 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

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180 161
Benjamin Rush is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Benjamin Rush 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

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186 138
Richard Henry Lee is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Richard Henry Lee 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

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John Penn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
John Penn Virginia, 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.

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Francis Lightfoot Lee is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Francis Lightfoot Lee 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

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Robert Morris is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Robert Morris 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

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Benjamin Harrison is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Benjamin Harrison North Bend, Ohio, United States of America 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

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Samuel Chase is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Samuel Chase 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

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Caesar Rodney is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Caesar Rodney 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

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Charles Carroll of Carrollton is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Charles Carroll of Carrollton 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

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97 84
George Wythe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
George Wythe 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

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Elbridge Gerry is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Elbridge Gerry 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

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John Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
John Witherspoon 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

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Josiah Bartlett is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Josiah Bartlett 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

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Robert Treat Paine is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Robert Treat Paine 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

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Rufus King is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Rufus King 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

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John Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
John Dickinson 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

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Lyman Hall is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Lyman Hall 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.

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William Jackson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
William Jackson 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

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Stephen Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Stephen Hopkins 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

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Edward Rutledge is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Edward Rutledge 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.

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Charles Cotesworth Pinckney is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney 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

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Francis Hopkinson is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Francis Hopkinson 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

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Charles Pinckney is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Charles Pinckney 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

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James McHenry is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
James McHenry 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

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George Taylor is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
George Taylor 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

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Button Gwinnett is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Button Gwinnett 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

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William Blount is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
William Blount 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

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James Wilson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
James Wilson Ceres, United Kingdom 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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Abraham Clark is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Abraham Clark 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

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Abraham Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Abraham Baldwin 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

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George Ross is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
George Ross 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

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Richard Bassett is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Richard Bassett 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

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John Langdon is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
John Langdon 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

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William Whipple is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
William Whipple 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

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Thomas Fitzsimons is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Thomas Fitzsimons 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.

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Thomas Mifflin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Thomas Mifflin 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

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Francis Lewis is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Francis Lewis Llandaff, Cardiff, United Kingdom 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