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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John Penn 
                    is listed (or ranked) 10 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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Benjamin Rush 
                    is listed (or ranked) 11 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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Roger Sherman 
                    is listed (or ranked) 12 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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Josiah Bartlett 
                    is listed (or ranked) 13 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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Francis Lightfoot Lee 
                    is listed (or ranked) 14 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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Gouverneur Morris 
                    is listed (or ranked) 15 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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John Witherspoon 
                    is listed (or ranked) 16 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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Edward Rutledge 
                    is listed (or ranked) 17 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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Richard Henry Lee 
                    is listed (or ranked) 18 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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Charles Pinckney 
                    is listed (or ranked) 19 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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Robert Morris 
                    is listed (or ranked) 20 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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Lyman Hall 
                    is listed (or ranked) 21 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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George Wythe 
                    is listed (or ranked) 22 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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Stephen Hopkins 
                    is listed (or ranked) 23 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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Samuel Chase 
                    is listed (or ranked) 24 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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Caesar Rodney 
                    is listed (or ranked) 25 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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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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William Ellery 
                    is listed (or ranked) 27 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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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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John Blair, Jr. 
                    is listed (or ranked) 29 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) 30 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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William Blount 
                    is listed (or ranked) 31 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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William Few 
                    is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
William Few William Few, Jr. was an American politician and a farmer, and a businessman and a Founding Father of the United States. William represented the U.S. state of Georgia at the Constitutional Convention. ...more

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Robert Treat Paine 
                    is listed (or ranked) 33 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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John Langdon 
                    is listed (or ranked) 34 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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Rufus King 
                    is listed (or ranked) 35 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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Thomas Mifflin 
                    is listed (or ranked) 36 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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Charles Carroll of Carrollton 
                    is listed (or ranked) 37 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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James McHenry 
                    is listed (or ranked) 38 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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Gunning Bedford, Jr. 
                    is listed (or ranked) 39 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

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Thomas Fitzsimons 
                    is listed (or ranked) 40 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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Francis Hopkinson 
                    is listed (or ranked) 41 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 Samuel Johnson 
                    is listed (or ranked) 42 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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Abraham Baldwin 
                    is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Abraham Baldwin 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 he ...more

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Nathaniel Gorham 
                    is listed (or ranked) 44 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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Abraham Clark 
                    is listed (or ranked) 45 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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Nicholas Gilman 
                    is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Nicholas Gilman Nicholas Gilman, Jr. was a soldier in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, a delegate to the Continental Congress, and a signer of the U.S. Constitution, representing New ...more

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James Wilson 
                    is listed (or ranked) 47 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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Elbridge Gerry 
                    is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best American Founding Fathers
Elbridge Gerry 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 known best ...more

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James Smith 
                    is listed (or ranked) 49 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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Richard Bassett 
                    is listed (or ranked) 50 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