History of the first 13 Colonies, Colonial Government and Congress
The Founding Fathers were prominent statesmen and patriots who participated in the American Revolution
The American Founding Fathers
Many of the 'framers' of State Constitutions and the Articles of Confederation were to play important roles in the 'Birth of the Nation' and were later honored in history with the title of Founding Fathers. Who were the American Founding Fathers? Definition: The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were prominent statesmen, patriots and political leaders who participated in the American Revolution by:
- Signing the Declaration of Independence
- Framing and establishing the Constitution
- Participating in the American Revolutionary War
These three groups of Patriots therefore fall into three distinct sections:
- The Signers
- The Framers
- The Participants
This article on the American Founding Fathers details the groups included in lists of the Founding Fathers and details of the seven key seven, key political leaders and statesmen defined as "Founding Fathers" who were either the "Signers of the Declaration of Independence" or the "Framers of the Constitution".
Number of Founding Fathers - the Participants
The exact number of the American Founding Fathers varies according to how they are defined. The "Founding Fathers" as defined by the above to mean a very large group of Patriots including not only the Signers and the Framers but also those who participated in the creation of the United States of American in their roles of politicians, statesmen, soldiers, diplomats and ordinary citizens. Many brave men took part in winning American independence from the British in many different ways. Some of the names appeared on more than one list. These lists of Founding Fathers might include the names of:
- The 56 delegates who attended the First Continental Congress in 1774 included the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence
- The 53 Signers of the Continental Association
- The 48 Signers of the Articles of Confederation
- The 40 Signers of the Constitution
- The Soldiers and Ordinary citizens who played a major role in the Revolutionary War
Founding Fathers - the Signers
A number of Founding Fathers are referred to as the Signers. The term 'Signers' refers to the men who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the congressional representatives of the 13 Colonies of Colonial America. The document was signed by 56 delegates to the Continental Congress (the Signers) and asserted the independence of the Colonies from Great Britain.
The Signers - Signatures on the Declaration of Independence
Founding Fathers - the Framers
A number of Founding Fathers are referred to as the Framers. These were the 55 men who attended what is now known as the Federal Convention in Philadelphia. These delegates (the Framers) were prominent, well educated men of their times. Many were well versed in the law, politics, colonial and state government, were members of the Continental Congress and had participated in the American Revolutionary War.
Seven Key Founding Fathers
There were seven, key political leaders and statesmen sometimes referred to as the Seven Founding Fathers of the United States of America. The seven key Founding Fathers that have been selected as key figures were George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton The seven key "Founding Fathers" were either the "Signers of the Declaration of Independence" or the "Framers of the Constitution". Other famous patriot who is also often referred to as a Founding Father is Patrick Henry.
Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence
There is always some confusion regarding which of the key Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence:
- Framer! George Washington was one of the Founding Fathers who did not sign the Declaration of Independence, he was considered a Founding Father due to his role in framing the Constitution.
- Signer! John Adams was one of the Founding Fathers who did sign the Declaration of Independence
- Signer! Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers who did sign the Declaration of Independence
- Framer! James Madison was one of the Founding Fathers who did not sign the Declaration of Independence, he was considered a Founding Father due to his role in framing the Constitution
- Framer! John Jay was one of the Founding Fathers who did not sign the Declaration of Independence
- Signer! Thomas Jefferson was one of the Founding Fathers who did sign the Declaration of Independence
- Framer! Alexander Hamilton was one of the Founding Fathers who did not sign the Declaration of Independence
The Founding Fathers and Religion
About three-quarters of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were nominally Anglican laymen. The religion of the Founding Fathers was based on the Christian doctrine. Different denominations were organized shortly after the American Revolution when a separation from the Church of England was forced because Church of England clergy were required to swear allegiance to the British monarch. The different denominations consisted of religious congregations and churches that were unified together due to their agreement on certain issues and had their own organizations refer to Religion in the Colonies. The Founding Fathers adhered to the religious practises of the following denominations:
Anglican - those with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, but did not swear allegiance to the British monarch
Episcopalian - In which the Church government views the bishop as the principal officer
Presbyterian - Its organisation is based on government by elders. The church adheres to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism
Congregationalist - Its Protestant organisation is based on the freedom of each church to control its affairs
Roman Catholic - The traditional Christian Church based in the Vatican in Rome and presided over by an Episcopal hierarchy with celibate male leadership, headed by the pope
Unitarian - Liberal Christians who assert the unity of God but reject the doctrine of the Trinity. Individual freedom of belief and a united world community
Evangelists held conservative theological views believing in the Bible as the word of God and sufficient for salvation. The Evangelist movement was characterized by revival meetings and emotional conversion - refer to the Great Awakening.
Deist - Believe that God exists and created the universe but does not intervene in the world. An enlightenment religion, partly a reaction against Calvinism and religious superstition, emphasizing reason and morality but rejecting supernatural events such as miracles, prophecy and divine revelation in holy books prominent in organized religion
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