If you live in the United States of America or have a passionate interest in this country, you must have wondered at least once how it all began. What forces united and created one of the largest and most developed nations in the world? There is no doubt that every person inhabiting this land contributed to its development in their unique way. Farmers who cultivated agriculture, builders who slowly filled the US with homes of all kinds, writers and painters who immortalized those old times — everyone had a role to play. They still do, and everyone from engineers to students asks, “Could an expert do my essay today?” because they hope to expand their knowledge of history. But five prominent people continue to stand out due to the staggering number of their accomplishments. These are Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison, also known as the Founding Fathers.

These five men embodied the revolution that changed the course of history and inspired countless people to embrace and fight for independence. If you ever need to buy a research paper about them, you’ll learn that they succeeded in uniting the colonies, which were so different yet so similar in their burning desire for freedom; they worked relentlessly to shake off the British influence, and they helped the US to emerge in its new independent form. After years of hard work and fierce battles, they set up the model of government modern Americans continue to rely upon. The Founding Fathers signed the Articles of Confederation, established the American Constitution, organized the Bill of Rights, and released multiple priceless speeches and writings that continue to inspire millions. The Federalist Papers alone had 85 articles and essays, becoming a part of a valuable historical collection. If you’re in need of cheap custom essays along with free useful materials about these five men and other legendary figures, this platform is for you. You’ll find multiple historical accounts about them and more.

We invested meticulous effort into gathering authentic biographies of the Founding Fathers, collecting various documents they created or contributed to, and presenting hundreds of their quotes that made history. You can find all this material within a minute on our website. See photos and general information about people who helped shape the US via one click; look for quotes by sorting them by categories — discover what American Founding Fathers said about democracy, censorship, debt, justice, God, and a variety of other topics. Look at the timeline: we recorded every important moment from their life. Check out our library, watch relevant videos, read articles, or see what pages our other visitors browse, as well as what kind of comments they leave. This is a great chance to discover something new. You can even see our recent additions by clicking on this category: this way, you will never lose touch with our platform, and the moment we post a new piece of information about the Founding Fathers, you will be able to find it.

Research shows that students visit our site most frequently, and this fact never fails to delight us. Learning is essential, and it’s not just about memorizing information to do well at college. Discovering new bits of data about the past is a sure way to understand the present and predict the outlines of the future. Sure, you might say that Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Washington, Adams, and other Founding Fathers lived a long time ago, but the thing is, the values they were promoting continue to flourish at the heart of modern American society. Times change, and people evolve, but the thirst for progress and independence remains.

None of the Founding Fathers was a perfect human being, a topic you might be interested in exploring in one of your college essays. This is an objective aspect of life, and if you read the biographies or study the documents we gathered on this website, you’ll get a chance to witness the flaws of all these notable people with your own eyes. But having flaws is normal: even the worst person is capable of fighting for the good and establishing eternal values. Freedom continues to be a vital part of the US; it is one of the first words we learn and for a good reason. As humans, we deserve the right to be free — to be who we are, to love who we love, and to stand up for what is right. This is exactly the principles that the Founding Fathers tried to instill. By learning more about them, you’ll get an opportunity to see how US history unfolded in all its complicated, mesmerizing glory; by reading the quotes we collected, you’ll dive right into the Founders’ minds. Hear their words, study the ideas they shared, and gain a new, improved understanding of American history.

The Founding Fathers

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

John Adams was born at Quincy, then part of the ancient town of Braintree, on the 19th day of October, old style, 1735. He was a descendant of the Puritans, his ancestors having early emigrated from England, and settled in Massachusetts. Discovering early a strong love of reading and of knowledge, proper care was taken by his father to provide for his education. His youthful studies were prosecuted in Braintree, under Mr. Marsh, a gentleman whose fortune it was to instruct several children, who in manhood were destined to act a conspicuous part in the scenes of the revolution.

Samuel Adams (1722 - 1803)

Among those who signed the Declaration of Independence, and were conspicuous in the revolution, there existed, of course, a great diversity of intellectual endowments; nor did all render to their country, in those perilous days, the same important services. Like the luminaries of heavens each contributed his portion of influence; but, like them, they differed, as star differeth from star in glory. But in the constellation of great men, which adorned that era, few shone with more brilliancy, or exercised a more powerful influence than Samuel Adams.

Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

“Dr. Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania) is well known to be the greatest phylosopher of the present age;–all the operations of nature he seems to understand,–the very heavens obey him, and the Clouds yield up their Lightning to be imprisoned in his rod. But what claim he has to the politician, posterity must determine. It is certain that he does not shine much in public Council,–he is no Speaker, nor does he seem to let politics engage his attention. He is, however, a most extraordinary Man, and tells a story in a style more engaging than anything I ever heard. Let his Biographer finish his character. He is 82 years old, and possesses an activity of mind equal to a youth of 25 years of age.” — Character Sketches of Delegates to the Federal Convention by William Pierce (1787)

John Hancock (1737 - 1793)

The events leading to the declaration of independence, which have been rapidly passed in review, in the preceding pages, have brought us to the more particular notice of those distinguished men, who signed their names to that instrument, and thus identified themselves with the glory of this American republic.

George Washington (1732 - 1799)

“Genl. George Washington (Virginia) is well known as the Commander in chief of the late American Army. Having conducted these states to independence and peace, he now appears to assist in framing a Government to make the People happy. Like Gustavus Vasa, he may be said to be the deliverer of his Country;–like Peter the great he appears as the politician and the States-man; and like Cincinnatus he returned to his farm perfectly contented with being only a plain Citizen, after enjoying the highest honor of the Confederacy,–and now only seeks for the approbation of his Country-men by being virtuous and useful. The General was conducted to the Chair as President of the Convention by the unanimous voice of its Members. He is in the 52d. year of his age.” — Character Sketches of Delegates to the Federal Convention by William Pierce (1787)

Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

Thomas Jefferson was born on the second day of April, O. S. 1743, ( April 13, 1743) at a place called Shadwell, in the county of Albermarle, and state of Virginia, a short distance from Monticello. His family were among the earliest emigrants from England. They sustained an honorable standing in the territory in which they resided, and lived in circumstances of considerable affluence. His father, Peter Jefferson, was much known in the province, as a gentleman of considerable scientific attainments, and more than ordinary firmness and integrity. It was probably in consequence of these qualifications, that he was selected as one of the commissioners appointed to the delicate and responsible task of determining the division line between Virginia and North Carolina. On the decease of the father, the son inherited from him an extensive and valuable estate.

James Madison (1751 - 1836)

“James Madison (Virginia) is a character who has long been in public life; and what is very remarkable every Person seems to acknowledge his greatness. He blends together the profound politician, with the Scholar. In the management of every great question he evidently took the lead in the Convention, and tho’ he cannot be called an Orator, he is a most agreable, eloquent, and convincing Speaker. From a spirit of industry and application which he possesses in a most eminent degree, he always comes forward the best informed Man of any point in debate. The affairs of the United States, he perhaps, has the most correct knowledge of, of any Man in the Union. He has been twice a Member of Congress, and was always thought one of the ablest Members that ever sat in that Council. Mr. Maddison is about 37 years of age, a Gentleman of great modesty,–with a remarkable sweet temper. He is easy and unreserved among his acquaintance, and has a most agreable style of conversation.” — Character Sketches of Delegates to the Federal Convention by William Pierce (1787)

Thomas Paine (1737 - 1809)

Few men nave ever received so large a share of the podium of common public opinion (which Hood defined as “the average prejudice of mankind”) as Thomas Paine, whose pen was almost as powerful in support of the republican cause in the early years of the Revolution, as was the sword of Washington ; because it gave vitality to that latent national sentiment which formed the necessary basis of support to the civil and military power then just evoked by the political exigencies of the American people. He was a native of Thetford, England, where he was born, in 1737.

Josiah Bartlett (1729 - 1795)

Josiah Bartlett, the first of the New-Hampshire delegation who signed the Declaration of Independence, was born in Amesbury, Massachusetts, in 1729. He was the fourth son of Stephen Bartlett, whose ancestors came from England during the seventeenth century, and settled at Beverly.
The early education of young Bartlett appears to have been respectable, although he had not the advantages of a collegiate course. At the age of sixteen he began the study of medicine, for which he had a competent knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages.

Carter Braxton (1736 - 1797)

Carter Braxton was the son of George Braxton, a wealthy planter of Newington, in the county of King and Queen, in Virginia, where he was born on the tenth of September, 1736. His mother was the daughter of Robert Carter, who was for some time a member, and the president of the king’s council.
Carter Braxton was liberally educated, at the college of William and Mary. About the time that he left college, it is supposed that his father died. although this is not well ascertained. On this event, he became possessed of a considerable fortune, consisting chiefly of land and slaves. His estate was much increased, by his marriage, at the early age of nineteen years, with the daughter of Mr. Christopher Robinson, a wealthy planter of the county of Middlesex.

Charles Carroll (1737 - 1832)

Carter Braxton was the son of George Braxton, a wealthy planter of Newington, in the county of King and Queen, in Virginia, where he was born on the tenth of September, 1736. His mother was the daughter of Robert Carter, who was for some time a member, and the president of the king’s council.
Carter Braxton was liberally educated, at the college of William and Mary. About the time that he left college, it is supposed that his father died. although this is not well ascertained. On this event, he became possessed of a considerable fortune, consisting chiefly of land and slaves. His estate was much increased, by his marriage, at the early age of nineteen years, with the daughter of Mr. Christopher Robinson, a wealthy planter of the county of Middlesex.

Samuel Chase (1741 - 1811)

Samuel Chase was the son of the Rev. Thomas Chase, a clergyman of distinction, in the protestant Episcopal church, who, after his emigration to America, married the daughter of a respectable farmer, and settled, for a time, in Somerset county, in Maryland, where this son was born, on the 17th of April, 1741.
In 1743, Mr. Chase removed to Baltimore, having been appointed to the charge of St. Paul’s church, in that place. Even in Baltimore, at this period, there was no school of a high order. The instruction of his son, therefore, devolved upon Mr. Chase, than whom few, fortunately, were better qualified for such a charge. His own attainments in classical learning were much superior to those who had been educated in America.

Abraham Clark (1725 - 1794)

It is unfortunately the fact, in respect to many of the distinguished actors in the revolutionary drama, but especially in reference to the subject of this memoir, that but few incidents of their lives have been preserved. The truth is, that although men of exalted patriotism, who filled their respective duties, both in public and private life, with great honor to themselves and benefit to all around them, they were naturally unobtrusive and unambitious. The incidents of their lives were, indeed, few. Some of them lived in retirement, pursuing the “even tenor of their way,” nor was the regularity of their lives often interrupted, except, perhaps, by an attendance upon congress, or by the discharge of some minor civil office in the community.

George Clymer (1739 - 1813)

“George Clymer (Pennsylvania) is a Lawyer of some abilities;–he is a respectable Man, and much esteemed. Mr. Clymer is about 40 years old.” — Character Sketches of Delegates to the Federal Convention by William Pierce (1787)
George Clymer was born in the city of Philadelphia, in the year 1739. His father was descended from a respectable family of Bristol, in England; and after his emigration to America became connected by marriage with a lady in Philadelphia. Young Clymer was left an orphan at the age of seven years, upon which event the care of him devolved upon William Coleman, a maternal uncle, a gentleman of much respectability among the citizens of Philadelphia.

William Ellery (1727 - 1820)

William Ellery, the son of a gentleman of the same name, was born at Newport, on the 22d day of December, 1727. His ancestors were originally from Bristol, in England, whence they emigrated to America during the latter part of the seventeenth century, and took up their residence at Newport, in Rhode Island.
The early education of the subject of this memoir, was received almost exclusively from his father, who was a graduate of Harvard university; and who although extensively engaged in mercantile pursuits, found leisure personally to cultivate the mind of his son. At the age of sixteen, he was qualified for admission to the university, of which his father had been a member before him. In his twentieth year, he left the university, having sustained, during his collegiate course, the character of a faithful and devoted student. In a knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages, he is said to have particularly excelled, and through the whole bustle of his active life, until the very hour of dissolution, he retained his fondness for them.

William Floyd (1734 - 1821)

William Floyd, who was the first delegate from New York that signed the Declaration of Independence, was born on Long Island, on the 17th of December, 1734. His father was Nicoll Floyd, an opulent and respectable landholder, whose ancestors came to America from Wales, about the year 1680, and settled on Long Island. The father of William died while his son was young, and left him heir to a large estate.

Elbridge Gerry (1744 - 1814)

“Mr. Gerry’s character is marked for integrity and perseverance. He is a hesitating and laborious speaker;–possesses a great degree of confidence and goes extensively into all subjects that he speaks on, without respect to elegance or flower of diction. He is connected and sometimes clear in his arguments, conceives well, and cherishes as his first virtue, a love for his Country. Mr. Gerry is very much of a Gentleman in his principles and manners;–he has been engaged in the mercantile line and is a Man of property. He is about 37 years of age.” — Character Sketches of Delegates to the Federal Convention by William Pierce (1787)

Button Gwinnett (1735 - 1777)

Button Gwinnett was a native of England, where he was born about the year 1732. His parents were respectable in life, and gave their son as good an education as their moderate circumstances would allow. On coming of age, Mr. Gwinnett became a merchant in the city of Bristol.
Some time after his marriage in England, he removed to America, and selecting Charleston, South Carolina, as a place of settlement, he continued there for about two years; at the expiration of which, having sold his stock in trade, he purchased a large tract of land in Georgia, where he devoted himself extensively to agricultural pursuits.

Lyman Hall (1724 - 1790)

Little is known by this writer of Lyman Hall’s early life except that he was born in Wallingford, Connecticut, on April 12, 1724. He later moved to South Carolina and then on to Georgia.
Hall was a physician and perhaps it was the pursuit of that profession which inspired his movement south. Whatever the cause of his migration he apparently earned the esteem of his neighbors in Georgia and at some point became involved enough in politics that the Georgia convention sent him as the only delegate from Georgia to the first Continental Congress. The record shows virtually no participation by Hall and reflects that he did not even vote claiming that he represented only a small section, not the entire state.

Benjamin Harrison V (1726 - 1791)

Benjamin Harrison was the descendant of a family long distinguished in the history of Virginia. Both his father and grandfather bore the name of Benjamin, and lived at Berkeley, where they owned, and where the family still owns [1829], a seat, beautifully situated on the banks of the James River, in full view of City Point, the seaport of Petersburg and Richmond.
The father of Mr. Harrison married the eldest daughter of Mr. Carter, the king’s surveyor general, by whom he had six sons and four daughters. Two of the latter, with himself, were, at the same time, during the occurrence of a thunder storm, killed by lightning in the mansion house at Berkeley.

John Hart (1711 - 1779)

The history of the world probably furnishes not another instance in which there was a nobler exhibition of true patriotism, than is presented in the history of the American revolution. It was certain at its commencement, in respect to numerous individuals, whose talents, wisdom and enterprise were necessary to its success, that they could derive but little, if any, individual advantage. Nay, it was certain, that instead of gain they would be subjected to great loss and suffering. The comforts of their families would be abridged; their property destroyed their farms desolated; their houses plundered or consumed their sons might fall in the field of battle and, should the struggle be vain, an ignominious death would be their portion. But, then, the contest respected rights which God had given them; it respected liberty, that dearest and noblest privilege of man; it respected the happiness of generations yet to succeed each other on this spacious continent to the end of time. Such considerations influenced the patriots of the revolution. They thought comparatively little of themselves; their views were fixed on the happiness of others on the future glory of their country; on universal liberty!

Joseph Hewes (1730 - 1779)

Joseph Hewes was born near Kingston, in New Jersey, in the year 1730. His parents were Aaron and Providence Hewes, who were members of the Society Of Friends, and who originally belonged to the colony of Connecticut. They were induced, however, to remove from New-England, on account of the prejudices which existed among the descendants of the Puritans against those who adopted the Quaker dress, or professed the Quaker faith.

Thomas Heyward (1746-1809)

Thomas Heyward was born in St. Luke’s parish, in the province of South Carolina, in the year 1746. His father, Colonel Daniel Heyward, was a planter of great wealth, which he had chiefly acquired by his industry.
Unlike many gentlemen of fortune, Mr. Heyward did not appear to idolize his possessions; at least, convinced of the importance of intellectual cultivation, he determined to bestow upon his son all the advantages which a thorough education might impart. Accordingly, the best school in the province was selected for young Heyward, who, by his diligence, became well acquainted with the Latin language, and with such other branches as were at that time taught in the most respectable provincial seminaries.

William Hooper (1742 - 1790)

William Hooper was a native of Boston, province of Massachusetts Bay, where he was born on the seventeenth of June, 1742.
His father’s name was also William Hooper. He was born in Scotland, in the year 1702, and soon after leaving the university of Edinburgh emigrated to America. He settled in Boston, where he became connected in marriage with the daughter of Mr. John Dennie, a respectable merchant. Not long after his emigration, he was elected pastor of Trinity Church, in Boston, in which office, such were his fidelity and affectionate intercourse with the people of his charge, that long after his death he was remembered by them with peculiar veneration and regard.

Stephen Hopkins (1707 - 1785)

Stephen Hopkins was a native of that part of Providence which is now called Scituate, where he was born on the 7th of March, 1707. His parentage was very respectable, being a descendant of Benedict Arnold*, the first governor of Rhode Island. [* Not the Benedict Arnold of Revolutionary War fame.]
His early education was limited, being confined to the instruction imparted in the common schools of the country. Yet it is recorded of him, that he excelled in a knowledge of penmanship, and in the practical branches of mathematics, particularly surveying.

Francis Hopkinson (1737 - 1791)

Francis Hopkinson was a native of Pennsylvania, and was born in the city of Philadelphia, in the year 1737. His father, Thomas Hopkinson, was an Englishman, who emigrated to America, but in what year is unknown to the writer. A short time previous to his emigration, he became respectably connected by marriage, with a niece of the bishop of Worcester.

Samuel Huntington (1731 - 1796)

Samuel Huntington was born in Windham, Connecticut, on the 2d day of July, 1732. His ancestors were respectable; they came to America at an early period of the country, and settled in Connecticut.

The father of the subject of the present memoir was Nathaniel Huntington, who resided in the town of Windham, where he was a plain but worthy farmer. His mother was distinguished for her many virtues. She was a pious, discreet woman, and endued with a more than ordinary share of mental vigor. A numerous family of children cemented the affection of this worthy pair. Several of the sons devoted themselves to the gospel ministry, and attained to a higher respectable standing in their profession. Of those who thus devoted themselves to the clerical profession, Dr. Joseph Huntington was one. He is well known as the author of a posthumous work, on universal salvation. It was entitled “Calvinism Improved, or the Gospel illustrated as a system, of real Grace, issuing in the salvation of all men.” This work was afterwards ably answered by Dr. Nathan Strong, of Hartford.

Francis Lightfoot Lee (1734 - 1797)

Frank Lee, as he was known to those close to him, was regarded by his brothers, including Richard Henry Lee, as the keenest of them in all political judgement. He was quiet, reticent, and had no taste for public life, but the responsibilities that came from bearing the Lee name during the turbulent times of the American Revolution eventually propelled him into service.

Francis Lightfoot Lee was born on a farm in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on October 14, 1734, into an ancient and distinguished Virginia family and raised at Stratford Hall Plantation. Unlike his brother Richard Henry, Frank was not sent abroad for education but instead was tutored at home by a Doctor Craig.

Richard Henry Lee (1732 - 1794)

Richard Henry Lee, a descendant from an ancient and distinguished family in Virginia, was born in Westmoreland county, of that province, on January 20, 1732, two years before another brother, Francis Lightfoot Lee, who also signed the Declaration of Independence. The schools of America at that time furnished few advantages for an education and those who were able to meet the expense were accustomed to send their sons abroad for instruction. At a proper age, young Richard Henry was sent to a flourishing school at Wakesfield in the county of Yorkshire, England. The talents which he possessed, industriously employed under the guidance of respectable tutors, rendered his literary acquisitions easy and rapid; and in a few years he returned to his native country, with a mind well stored with scientific and classical knowledge.

Francis Lewis (1713 - 1803)

Francis Lewis was a native of Landaff, in South Wales, where he was born in the year 1713. His father was a clergyman, belonging to the established church. His mother was the daughter of Dr. Pettingal, who was also a clergyman of the Episcopal establishment, and had his residence in North Wales. At the early age of four or five years, being left an orphan, the care of him devolved upon a maternal maiden aunt, who took singular pains to have him instructed in the native language of his country. He was afterwards sent to Scotland, where, in the family of a relation, he acquired a knowledge of the Gaelic. From this, he was transferred to the school of Westminster, where he completed his education; and enjoyed the reputation of being a good classical scholar.

Philip Livingston (1716 - 1778)

Philip Livingston was born at Albany, on the fifteenth of January, 1716. His ancestors were highly respectable, and for several generations the family have held a distinguished rank in New-York. His great grandfather, John Livingston, was a divine of some celebrity in the church of Scotland, from which country he removed to Rotterdam in the year 1663. In 1772, or about that time, his son Robert emigrated to America, and settled in the colony of New-York. He was fortunate in obtaining a grant of a tract of land in that colony, delightfully situated on the banks of the Hudson. This tract, since known as the Manor of Livingston, has been in possession of the family from that time to the present.

Thomas Lynch (1749 - 1779)

Thomas Lynch was the son of a gentleman of the same name, and was born on the fifth of August, 1749, at Prince George’s Parish, in the province of South Carolina. The family was an ancient one, and is said to have originally emigrated from Austria to England, where they settled in the county of Kent; sometime after which, a branch passed over to Ireland, and thence some of the descendants removed to South Carolina. The name of the family is said to have been derived from a field of pulse called lince, upon which the inhabitants of a certain town in Austria lived, for some time, during a siege which was laid to it; and from which circumstance they changed the name of the town to Lince or Lintz, which name was adopted by the principal family of the place.

Thomas McKean (1734 - 1817)

Thomas M’Kean was the second son of William M’Kean, a native of Ireland, who sometime after his emigration to America, was married to an Irish lady, with whom he settled in the township of New-London, county of Chester, and the province of Pennsylvania, where Thomas was born, on the nineteenth of March, 1734.
At the age of nine years, he was placed under the care of the learned Dr. Allison, who was himself from Ireland, and of whose celebrated institution at New-London, we have already had occasion to speak, in terms of high commendation. Besides an unusually accurate and profound acquaintance with the Latin and Greek classics, Dr. Allison was well informed in moral philosophy, history, and general literature To his zeal for the diffusion of knowledge, Pennsylvania owes much of that taste for solid learning and classical literature, for which many of her principal characters have been so distinguished.

Arthur Middleton (1742 - 1787)

Arthur Middleton was the son of Henry Middleton, and was born in the year 1743, at the seat of his father, at Middleton place, near the banks of the Ashley.
At the early age of twelve years, he was sent to the celebrated school of Hackney, in the neighborhood of London; whence, after spending two years, he was removed to the school of Westminster. The advantages which he here enjoyed resulted in a thorough acquaintance with the Greek and Roman classics, especially in a knowledge of the former, In which he is said to have greatly excelled. The taste which he acquired for classical literature he preserved through life, and from the indulgence of it derived an exalted pleasure, lost to minds of a heavier mold.

Lewis Morris (1726 - 1798)

Lewis Morris was born at the manor of Morrisania, in the state of New York, in the year 1726. His family was of ancient date; the pedigree of it has been preserved; but it is too extended to admit of a particular notice in these pages. Richard Morris, an ancestor of the family, beyond whom it is unnecessary to trace its genealogy, was an officer of some distinction in the time of Cromwell. At the restoration, however, he left England, and came to New York; soon after which he obtained a grant of several thousand acres of land, in the county of West-Chester, not far from the city. This was erected into a manor, and invested with the privileges, which usually pertain to manorial estates.

Robert Morris (1734 - 1806)

“Robert Morris (Pennsylvania) is a merchant of great eminence and wealth; an able Financier, and a worthy Patriot. He has an understanding equal to any public object, and possesses an energy of mind that few Men can boast of. Although he is not learned, yet he is as great as those who are. I am told that when he speaks in the Assembly of Pennsylvania, that he bears down all before him. What could have been his reason for not Speaking in the Convention I know not,–but he never once spoke on any point. This Gentleman is about 50 years old.” — Character Sketches of Delegates to the Federal Convention by William Pierce (1787)

John Morton (1725 - 1777)

John Morton was a native of Ridley, in the county of Chester, now Delaware. His ancestors were of Swedish extraction, and among the first Swedish emigrants, who located themselves on the banks of the Delaware. His father, after whom he was called, died a few months previously to his birth. His mother was some time after married to an Englishman, who possessed a more than ordinary education, and who, with great kindness, on young Morton’s becoming of the proper age, superintended and directed his education at home. Here his active mind rapidly expanded, and gave promise of the important part which he was destined to act in the subsequent history of his country.

Thomas Nelson (1738 - 1789)

Thomas Nelson, Jr. was born at York on the twenty-sixth of December, 1738. He was the eldest son of William Nelson, a merchant of highly respectable character, who was descended from an English family, which settled at York, in the province of Virginia. By his prudence and industry, the latter acquired a large fortune. After the meridian of life, he held several offices of high distinction; and at his death, which occurred a few years before the revolution, left a character, not only sullied by no stain, but justly venerated for the many virtues which adorned it.

William Paca (1740 - 1799)

William Paca was born on the 31st of October, 1740. He was the second son of John Paca, a gentleman of large estate, who resided in the county of Harford, in the state of Maryland. His father, sensible of the importance of a good education, placed his son, at a proper age, in the college at Philadelphia, at that time under the care of the learned and eloquent Dr. William Smith. On commencing bachelor of arts, in 1750, he entered the office of Stephen Bradley, a distinguished lawyer of Annapolis, for file purpose of pursuing the profession of law.

Robert Treat Paine (1731 - 1814)

Robert Treat Paine was a native of Boston, where he was born, in the year 1731. His parents were pious and respectable. His father was for some years the settled pastor of a church in Weymouth, in the vicinity of Boston. His health failing him, however, he removed with his family to the latter place; where he entered into mercantile pursuits. His mother was the grand-daughter of Governor Treat of Connecticut.

John Penn (1741 - 1788)

John Penn was a native of the county of Caroline, in the province of Virginia, where he was born on the seventeenth day of May, 1741. He was the only child of his parents, Moses and Catharine Penn.
The early education of young Penn was greatly neglected by his parents, who appear in no degree to have appreciated the value of knowledge. Hence, on his reaching the age of eighteen, he had only enjoyed the advantages conferred by a common school, and these for the space of but two or three years.

George Read (1733 - 1798)

“George Read (Delaware) is a Lawyer and a Judge;–his legal abilities are said to be very great, but his powers of Oratory are fatiguing and tiresome to the last degree;–his voice is feeble, and his articulation so bad that few can have patience to attend to him. He is a very good Man, and bears an amiable character with those who know him. Mr. Read is about 50, of a low stature, and a weak constitution.” — Character Sketches of Delegates to the Federal Convention by William Pierce (1787)

Caesar Rodney (1728 - 1784)

Caesar Rodney, the first of the delegation from Delaware, was a native of that state, and was born about the year 1730. His birth-place was Dover. The family, from which he was descended, was of ancient date, and is honorably spoken of in the history of early times. We read of Sir Walter De Rodeney, of Sir George De Rodeney, and Sir Henry De Rodeney, with several others of the same name, even earlier than the year 1234. Sir Richard De Rodeney accompanied the gallant Richard Coeur de Lion [Richard the Lion Heart] in his crusade to the Holy Land, where he fell, while fighting at the siege of Acre.

George Ross (1730 - 1779)

The last gentleman who belonged to the Pennsylvania delegation, at the time the members of the revolutionary congress affixed their signatures to the declaration of independence, was George Ross. He was the son of a clergyman by the same name, who presided over the Episcopal church at New Castle, in the state of Delaware, in which town he was born in the year 1730.

Benjamin Rush (1745 - 1813)

Benjamin Rush was born on the 24th of December, 1745 (0.S.), in the township of Byberry, twelve or fourteen miles northeast of Philadelphia. His ancestors emigrated front England to Pennsylvania, about the year 1683.
The father of young Rush died when he was six years of age. The care of his education therefore devolved upon his mother, who well understood the importance of knowledge, and early took measures to give her son a liberal education. Young Rush was sent to the academy at Nottingham, in Maryland, about sixty miles southeast from Philadelphia. This academy had long been conducted, with great reputation, by the Reverend Dr. Finley, afterwards president of Princeton college, in New-Jersey.

Edward Rutledge (1749 - 1800)

Edward Rutledge, the first of the South Carolina delegation, who affixes his name to the Declaration of Independence, was born in the city of Charleston, November, 1749. He was the youngest, son of Doctor John Rutledge, who emigrated from Ireland to South Carolina, about the year 1755. His mother was Sarah Hert, a lady of respectable family, and large fortune. At the age of twenty-seven, she became a widow with seven children. Her eldest son was John Rutledge, distinguished for his patriotic zeal during the revolution. Her youngest son was the subject of the present memoir.

Roger Sherman (1721 - 1793)

“Roger Sherman exhibits the oddest shaped character I ever remember to have met with. He is awkward, un-meaning, and unaccountably strange in his manner. But in his train of thinking there is something regular, deep and comprehensive; yet the oddity of his address, the vulgarisms that accompany his public speaking, and that strange New England cant which runs through his public as well as his private speaking make everything that is connected with him grotesque and laughable;–and yet he deserves infinite praise,–no Man has a better Heart or a clearer Head.

James Smith (1719 - 1806)

James Smith, the subject of the following memoir, was a native of Ireland; but in what year he was born is unknown. This was a secret which, even to his relations and friends, he would never communicate, and the knowledge of it was buried with him in the grave. It is conjectured, however, that he was born between the years 1715 and 1720.
His father was a respectable farmer, who removed to America with a numerous family, and settled on the west side of the Susquehanna. He died in the year 1761. James, who was his second son, received his education from the distinguished Dr. Allison, provost of the college of Philadelphia. His attainments in classical literature were respectable. In the art of surveying, which at that early period of the country was of great importance, he is said to have excelled.

Richard Stockton (1730 - 1781)

The first of the New-Jersey delegation, who signed the Declaration of Independence, was Richard Stockton. He was born near Princeton, on the 1st day of October, 1730. His family was ancient and respectable. His great grandfather, who bore the same name, came from England, about the year 1670, and after residing a few years on Long Island, removed with a number of associates to an extensive tract of land, of which the present village of Princeton is nearly the center. This tract consisted of six thousand and four hundred acres. This gentleman died in the year 1705, leaving handsome legacies to his several children; but the chief portion of his landed estate to his son, Richard. The death of Richard followed in 1720. He was succeeded in the family seat by his youngest son, John; a man distinguished for his moral and religious character, for his liberality to the college of New-Jersey, and for great fidelity in the discharge of the duties of public and private life.

Thomas Stone (1743 - 1787)

Thomas Stone was the son of David Stone, of Pointon Manor, Charles County, Maryland. His father was a descendant of William Stone, who was governor of Maryland during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. The boyhood of Thomas Stone was distinguished by an unusual fondness for learning. At the age of fifteen, having acquired a respectable knowledge of the English language, he obtained the reluctant consent of his father to enter the school of a Mr. Blaizedel, a Scotchman, for the purpose of pursuing the Greek and Latin languages. This school was at the distance of ten miles from his father’s residence; yet, such was the zeal of young Stone, that he was in the habit of rising sufficiently early in tile morning, to traverse this distance on horseback, and enter the school at the usual time of its commencement.

George Taylor (1716 - 1781)

Of the early life of George Taylor although he acted a distinguished part in the political affairs of his time, few incidents are recorded, in any documents which we have seen, and few, it is said, are remembered by the old men of the neighborhood in which he lived. Mr. Taylor was born in the year 1716. Ireland gave him birth. He was the son of a respectable clergyman in that country, who having a more just estimation of the, importance of a good education, gave to his son an opportunity to improve his mind, beyond most youth in the country about him. At a proper age he commenced the study of medicine; but his genius not being adapted to the profession, he relinquished his medical studies, and soon after set sail for America.

Matthew Thornton (1714 - 1803)

Matthew Thornton was the son of James Thornton, a native of Ireland, and was born in that country, about the year 1714. When he was two or three years old, his father emigrated to America, and after a residence of a few years he removed to Worchester, Massachusetts.
Here young Thornton received a respectable academical education, and subsequently pursued his medical studies, under the direction of Doctor Grout, of Leicester. Soon after completing his preparatory course, he removed to Londonderry, in New-Hampshire, where he commenced the practice of medicine, and soon became distinguished, both as a physician and a surgeon.

George Walton (1749 - 1804)

George Walton, the last of the Georgia delegation, who signed the declaration of independence, and with an account of whom we shall conclude these biographical notices, was born in the county of Frederick, Virginia, about the year 1740. He was early apprenticed to a carpenter, who being a man of selfish and contracted views, not only kept him closely at labor during the day, but refused him the privilege of a candle, by which to read at night.

William Whipple (1730 - 1785)

William Whipple was the eldest son of William Whipple and was born at Kittery, Maine, in the year 1730. His father was a native of Ipswich, and was bred a maltster; but for several years after his removal to Kittery, he followed the sea. His mother was the daughter of Robert Cutts, a distinguished ship-builder, who established himself at Kittery, where he became wealthy, and at his death left a handsome fortune to his daughter.

William Williams (1731 - 1811)

The family of William Williams is said to have been originally from Wales. A branch of it came to America in the year 1630, and settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts. His grandfather, who bore the same name, was the minister of Hatfield, Massachusetts; and his father, Solomon Williams, D.D. was the minister of a parish in Lebanon, where he was settled fifty-four years. Solomon Williams, the father, married a daughter of Colonel Porter, of Hadley, by whom he had five sons and three daughters. The sons were all liberally educated. Of these, Eliphalet was settled, as a minister of the gospel, in East-Hartford, where be continued to officiate for about half a century. Ezekiel was sheriff of the county of Hartford for more than thirty years; he died a few years since at Wethersfield, leaving behind him a character distinguished for energy and enterprise, liberality and benevolence.

James Wilson (1742 - 1798)

“James Wilson (Pennsylvania) ranks among the foremost in legal and political knowledge. He has joined to a fine genius all that can set him off and show him to advantage. He is well acquainted with Man, and understands all the passions that influence him. Government seems to have been his peculiar Study, all the political institutions of the World he knows in detail, and can trace the causes and effects of every revolution from the earliest stages of the Greecian commonwealth down to the present time. No man is more clear, copious, and comprehensive than Mr. Wilson, yet he is no great Orator. He draws the attention not by the charm of his eloquence, but by the force of his reasoning. He is about 45 years old.” — Character Sketches of Delegates to the Federal Convention by William Pierce (1787)

John Witherspoon (1723 - 1794)

John Witherspoon, a man alike distinguished as a minister of the gospel, and a patriot of the revolution, was born in the parish of Yester, a few miles from Edinburgh, on the 5th of February, 1722. He was lineally descended from John Knox, the Scottish reformer, of whom Mary, queen of Scots, said, “she was more afraid of his prayers, than of an army of ten thousand men.”

Oliver Wolcott (1796 - 1797)

Few families have been more distinguished in the annals of Connecticut, than the Wolcott family. The ancestor of this family was Henry Wolcott, an English gentleman of considerable fortune, who was born in the year 1578. During the progress of the Independents in England, he embraced the principles of that sect, and hence becoming obnoxious to the British government, he found it expedient to emigrate to America. His emigration, with his family, took place in 1630. They settled for a time at Dorchester, in Massachusetts.

George Wythe (1726 - 1806)

“George Wythe (Virginia) is the famous Professor of Law at the University of William and Mary. He is confessedly one of the most learned legal Characters of the present age. From his close attention to the study of general learning he has acquired a compleat knowledge of the dead languages and all the sciences. He is remarked for his examplary life, and universally esteemed for his good principles. No Man it is said understands the history of Government better than Mr. Wythe, — nor any one who understands the fluctuating condition to which all societies are liable better than he does, yet from his too favorable opinion of Men, he is no great politician. He is a neat and pleasing Speaker, and a most correct and able Writer. Mr. Wythe is about 55 years of age.” — Character Sketches of Delegates to the Federal Convention by William Pierce (1787)

Charles Thomson (1729 - 1824)

Of all the patriots of the Revolution, no man was better acquainted with the men and events of that struggle, than Charles Thomson, who was the permanent Secretary of the Continental Congress for more than fifteen years. He was born in Ireland in 1730, and at the age of eleven years was brought to America in company with three older brothers. Their father died from the effects of sea-sickness, when within sight of the capes of the Delaware.

Alexander Hamilton (1755 - 1804)

“Colo. Alexander Hamilton (New York) is deservedly celebrated for his talents. He is a practitioner of the Law, and reputed to be a finished Scholar. To a clear and strong judgment he unites the ornaments of fancy, and whilst he is able, convincing, and engaging in his eloquence the Heart and Head sympathize in approving him. Yet there is something too feeble in his voice to be equal to the strains of oratory;–it is my opinion that he is rather a convincing Speaker, that [than] a blazing Orator. Colo. Hamilton requires time to think,–he enquires into every part of his subject with the searchings of phylosophy, and when he comes forward he comes highly charged with interesting matter, there is no skimming over the surface of a subject with him, he must sink to the bottom to see what foundation it rests on.

Patrick Henry (1736 - 1799)

“Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” were the burning words which fell from the lips of Patrick Henry, at the beginning of the War for Independence, and aroused the Continent to more vigorous and united action.1 He was the son of a Virginia planter in Hanover county, and was born on the 29th of May, 1736. At the age of ten years he was taken from school, and commenced the study of Latin in his father’s house.

James Otis (1725 - 1783)

Near the northeast corner of the old Common of Boston a section of ground was put apart long before the beginning of the eighteenth century to be a burying ground for some of the heroic dead of the city of the Puritans. For some quaint reason or caprice this acre of God was called “The Granary” and is so called to this day. Perhaps the name was given because the dead were here, garnered as grain from the reaping until the bins be opened at the last day’s threshing when the chaff shall be driven from the wheat.

John Jay (1745 - 1829)

Among the many thousands of the Huguenots of France who fled to England and America toward the close of the seventeenth century, to escape fiery persecutions, was Augustus Jay, a young merchant. He landed at Charleston, in South Carolina, but soon proceeded northward, and settled in the city of New York. There he married the daughter of Balthazar Bayard, one of the refugees who came with the New Rochelle colony.

George Mason (1725 - 1792)

“George Mason (Virginia) is a Gentleman of remarkable strong powers, and possesses a clear and copious understanding. He is able and convincing in debate, steady and firm in his principles, and undoubtedly one of the best politicians in America. Mr. Mason is about 60 years old, with a fine strong constitution.” — Character Sketches of Delegates to the Federal Convention by William Pierce (1787)

James Monroe (1758 - 1831)

MONROE, James, (nephew of Joseph Jones and uncle of James Monroe [1799-1870]), a Delegate and a Senator from Virginia and 5th President of the United States; born in Westmoreland County, Va., April 28, 1758; pursued classical studies; attended William and Mary College, Williamsburg, Va., in 1776 and left to enter the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War; appointed a lieutenant in the Third Virginia Regiment, participated in numerous engagements, and was severely wounded in the Battle of Trenton