We know King George III of England angered the colonists. He required the colonists to keep British soldiers in their homes for free. He required the colonists to pay high taxes. He did not let the colonists have self-government.
So the colonists declared their independence. The men who led the country to independence are called Founding Fathers.
Thomas Jefferson is a Founding Father. He wrote the Declaration of Independence. The colonies adopted it on July 4, 1776.
George Washington is a Founding Father. Washington led the American army fighting the British.
Washington was also the first President of the United States. He is called the Father of Our Country.
The Founding Fathers wrote the U.S. Constitution in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention. As free people, Americans had to set up a government.
To encourage people to vote for (ratify) the Constitution, New York newspapers printed a series of 85 essays. We call these essays the Federalist Papers.
Nobody knew who was writing the Federalist Papers. The essays had the signature Publius. (Publius is a senator in Shakepeares play Julius Caesar.)
Today we know that Publius was three Founding Fathers: Alexander Hamilton (First United States Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton wrote 52 of the essays.) James Madison (Fourth President of the United States, Madison wrote 28 of the essays.) John Jay (President of the Continental Congress and first Chief Justice of the United States, Jay wrote 5 of the essays.)
Benjamin Franklin is one of the most amazing Founding Fathers. Franklin was the oldest member of the Constitutional Convention.
He was the first Postmaster General of the United States.
He was the first American Diplomat. He went to France. He got France to support America in her fight for independence from Britain.
He wrote Poor Richards Almanac. His almanac had a calendar, weather predictions, Franklins own wise sayings, and astrological signs. Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. -Benjamin Franklin
He started the first free libraries.
The Founding Fathers established the important principles of American democracy in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights
In the next lesson, we will see how the United States faced new problems in the 1800s.