HOT TOPIC: Founding Fathers
Volume 2, Issue 9 - October 30, 2005

"The ‘founding fathers' is the general name given to the fifty-five delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia . They were a distinguished group of men who represented a nice cross section of 18th-century America . Many were wealthy, well-educated men who had already made their mark on the community, state, and/or national stage. Twenty-nine of them had served in the Continental armed forces, and forty-one of them were members of the Continental Congress. Did you know Rhode Island was the only state not to send delegates?

In addition to this group of men, the term ‘founding fathers' also references an impressive group of individuals who did not attend the Constitutional Convention but played a large role in the earlier fight for independence and/or the dialogue leading up to the writing of the constitution. These names include Adams, Dickinson, Hamilton, Hancock, Henry, Jay, Jefferson, and Lee.

The collective accomplishments of these men in forging the documents that define and defend our democracy is the summative effort of centuries of philosophical and political thinking. They particularly benefited from the writers of the Enlightenment, who questioned the order of the world and set forth bold new ideas on society, government and human life. All this having been said, it is still a remarkable fact that an assortment of lawyers, farmers and businessmen were able to not only make a place for themselves in this new land, but provided for the republic in which we live today. I hope this collection of resources will serve you well as you convey the remarkable stories of these significant lives to your students in the months ahead."


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©2005 Walter McKenzie

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