Founding Fathers of the United States

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John Trumbull's painting, Declaration of Independence, depicting the five-man committee of the Declaration of Independence presenting their work to the Congress.

The Founding Fathers refers to certain men who lived during the American Revolutionary War era. These men signed the Declaration of Independence, either helped write the Constitution of the United States, or helped win the American Revolutionary War. Many of these men were members of the Continental Congress at some point. The term was first applied to these people in 1916.

There were many people who were Founding Fathers. Some scholars like to limit them to a small number, such as seven: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison.

Most of the Founding Fathers were large landowners or rich merchants. The majority owned slaves. After the Constitution, many of the Founding Fathers became leaders in the federal government.