Talk:Founding Fathers of the United States/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

An Edit that is Needed

A link - to another Wikipedia article - that needs to be edited: Declaration of Independence needs to be edited to [United States Declaration of Independence|Declaration of Independence] or Declaration of Independence.


Given the USA's big hype about terrorism, I'm suprised it's never mentioned here. Are you forgetting that the founding fathers (and infact all the "loyalists") were Rebels/Terrorists? This article is terrible, far to USA POV. They were also traitors, yet also no mention? Just calling them political leaders is completely false, they were traitors, rebels and terrorists who formed a polictical party and then became "politcal leaders" according to the newly formed USA, France and soon Spain, NOT by the majority of the world (they were still tratiors and terrorist). I read wikipedia for facts and good citations, yet all I see in this article and the one on the American Insurengcy is USA propaganda.N00b09123 (talk)

A terrorist, by definition of the EU, is a group specifically targetting civilians in order to gain some political goal. The American founding fathers did not target the population. This makes the difference between freedom fighters and terrorists. Also, just read a little more and find out how long it took them to resort to violence, it was actually only after King George declared that the leaders would be hanged. Before that they only wanted representation to come with taxation. You silly troll (talk) 15:26, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Older comments

This needs to be reworked as virtually all of the text is exclusively about the signers of the Constitution and ignores the other "Founders" listed in the intro and lists. Rmhermen 20:55, Apr 30, 2004 (UTC)

FYI, it was moved off of Founding Fathers onto a U.S.-specific page. And yes, you are correct. jengod 23:01, Apr 30, 2004 (UTC)

Utterly POV

This is the biggest Founding Fathers love in I have ever encountered, and it's got a lot of competition. If there are no objections I am going to start a criticism sub-article of this particle article concerning such sources as "An Economic Interpretation of The Constitution", and with regards to other things such as the blacks being '3/5th's human' et al. --GreekWarrior 20:33, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree completely about this article being completely POV - just look at the "as a group, the Founders were characterized by remarkable intellectual ability, foresight, and public-spiritedness" stuff at the top. Now, if that isn't POV, nothing is. Characterized by whom? Foresight? Bah, this is just a load of complete drivel. Almost no usable/"real" info, just POV turds. --Krank23 12:24, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
I don't think the 3/5ths compromise is really relevant to this article, however scandalous it seems to the modern reader; and it certainly can't be summarized by saying that blacks were seen as "3/5ths" human. That was just part of the compromise, one meant to toss a bone to the slaveholding south--logrolling, as we say today. I'd say, in fact, most of the founding fathers probably thought they were a great deal less than 3/5ths human. It was an arbitrary figure. It's a sad fact of history that our great-great-great grandfathers, &c. don't have the same social sensibilities as we happen to have today, but I think we can get on without recognizing that fact in each and every niche of history we find, regardless of its relevance.
I think you'd be better off looking at the economic factors, as you said first--the war debt, for instance. Now there is a scandal no one ever seems to hear about, and one tied very closely to the Constitution and the Philadelphia Convention. Fearwig 16:08, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
Apropos to the "3/5ths compromise," keep in mind that this was for the purpose of deciding how many representatives each state would get in Congress. The South wanted as many reps as it could get, which meant they wanted to included non-citizen, non-voting slaves in their numbers. The North complained that would not be fair representation (after all, if the slaves were not allowed to vote, how could an elected official be their representative?). The compromise had nothing to do with the slaves value as human life, and everything to do with political power. Pooua 01:55, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Exactly right, Pooua. Slaves didn't get 3/5 of a vote. The cause of abolitionism would have been advanced if the number had been lower than 3/5, and the cause of slavery would have been advanced if the number had been higher. 3/5 represented the extra representation that voting (white) Southerners got by virtue of having slaves in their States. NCdave (talk) 18:03, 4 February 2008 (UTC)


This is a hagiography. Pythag3

Perhaps it has been one in the past versions. The current version of the article seems to be somewhat neutral, tho. Regardless, the Founding Fathers™ are, from my experience, mostly talked about with hushed humility. Being from outside the United States, such quasi-beatification and/or veneration (as evident in the page history) seems to me rather.., hmm, peculiar. As it stands, however, the article seems to have been rid of the most blatant POV's. A rather good, informative article, in fact. Tirolion 11:36, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Who's Country?

"(also known as the Fathers of Our Country, or the Founders)"... this assumes the reader is American, surely "(also known to Americans as the Fathers of Our Country, or the Founders)" would be better?

Organization of names

Nunh-huh asked: "should (the list or table of founders) be alphabetical?" The organization scheme that makes most sense to me is arrangement by state (at least for the Signers and the Framers), since their participation was as state delegates. The table as it is right now is not very helpful. --Kevin Myers 02:56, Apr 27, 2005 (UTC)

i agree things here are kindve hard ot find... [micah]

John Marshall

I have added John Marshall because of his influence on the Supreme Court, note that he is commonly referred to as the "Father of American Constitutional Law." This has led some to consider him the "last founding father" ( Comments or opposing opinions would be appreciated. [this unsigned comment was made on 18 June 2005 by]

We should also add Marshall's co-juror, Joseph Story. Pooua 01:49, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Marshall was an officer under Washington during the Revolutionary War, so, arguably, he has a legitimate claim to being called a "Founder," though I think that is a bit unconventional. However, Story wasn't born until after the United States was founded, so I really don't think we can call him a Founder. NCdave (talk) 13:23, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
As for John Marshall, his rulings /did/ greatly influence our country's government (i.e., judicial review) and how the branches check and balance each other. As for Story, did Story do anything that greatly impacted how our government functions, like Marshall did? Writergeek7 (talk) 17:54, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

This page needs work

  • I don't like those timeline-style diagrams. The information would be better conveyed in a bar chart. And how exactly are we defining "very rich", "super rich", etc?
  • The formatting on the tables could be improved. Do we really need to include alternate spellings of names? And why is George Mason the only one in the "Others" section to get an explanation? --JW1805 21:27, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, "rich" can mean "landowner" - in which case, almost every one of these guys was rich. The fact is, nearly all of them are from upper-class families, are participating in the government at a time when not all people could, and they could all travel to Philadelphia and hang out for a couple of weeks to write a constitution. Try doing that when you're struggling to farm potatoes for your family - it ain't happening. So there isn't a single representative of the average man in this collection. No women, no Africans, no non-landowners as far as I can see. All rich, white males.

  • Alexander Hamilton was guilty of being white and male, but I don't think he qualifies as "rich" by these standards. He didn't own his first house unitl 1800, I think. Scratch a little deeper and you might find a few others, but your claim was that their wasn't "a single representative of the average man", so one is all that is needed here - though only if the criteria for "average man" is non-landowner because, by virtue of their achievements alone, regardless of the opportunities they either made for themselves or received to be able to pursue those achievements, they are certainly not "average." Shoreranger (talk) 15:21, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Hamilton who married the "daughter of General Philip Schuyler, and thus joined one of the richest and most political families in the state of New York." and started the Bank of New York, the first business traded on the New York

Stock Exchange, and as Secretary of the Treasury formed U.S. fiscal policy - was poor? I think that stretches the definition. Rmhermen (talk) 15:55, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

    • "Poor"? - what happened to "average"? Well, biographers of Hamilton state that he did not accept any money from the Schuylers. Since the best he was able to do was build a house that he only got to live in for about four years before he was shot dead, and a trust had to be set up for the provision of his widow and children after that, and since he was a bastard immigrant sent to the US by the good graces of philanthipists to begin with, I am inclined to believe them. Talk about "poor". Hamilton, though eventually influential and benefiting from influential affiliations, was not himself ever rich - ever.

He is only one example - one that I have a little familiarity with. The article itself does include the statement "Nine of the men received a substantial part of their income from public office: Baldwin, Blair, Brearly, Gilman, Jenifer, Livingston, Madison, and Rutledge.", which would imply that they were not "rich" by most standards, if they relied on this compensation. I have not researched the veracity of this claim, and it is uncited, but if it is true for at least some of them, then the "richness" of this group might need to be reevaluated further. Shoreranger (talk) 18:13, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree..if I have my facts right, Alexander Hamilton resigned from his cabinet position because his finances weren't in perfect order, and even when they were, he still died 55,000 in debt. He'd figured that the Schuyler money would help his wife Betsey, but they weren't as rich as legend claimed (land rich, cash poor). And besides, I don't think he was ever really that rich. After all, he came to the colonies through the good graces of other people, not because he had some inheritance or anything (actually, he got cheated out of it).
I'm pretty sure, though, that James Madison, for example, was reliant on his family's wealth (which wasn't a huge chunk of change) until he was nearly 50, commenting that he would have to sell a slave unless the Confederation delegates got a pay raise. A lot of those Southern congressmen were reliant on family money, because their own income came from public Madison. Very few could actually live without their public-office-income (for lack of a better word)...Washington is the only one that comes to the top of my mind, and that's in part because he married Martha Washington. In addition, while I think of it, the wealthiest Declaration signer, Charles Carroll, was making the "grand sum" of 1800 pounds, but overseas officials were making 40,000 pounds...the rest of the country wasn't really that rich. Wealth is relative.
Besides, I keep noticing that a bunch of people say that the article is biased because it doesn't include the fact that the "common man" wasn't at the convention. Isn't that obvious, and besides, the more we try to include that, the worse the article is. Women and slaves and natives weren't considered as smart as men then (not true, of couse :]) and people who could "hang around and write a constitution" were the people who had the time to think about that. Of course the "average" guy wasn't going to be there. He was busy thinking about his farm, not how the Articles of Confederation sucked. Then again...some of them were exceptions and could be considered the "average guy". In order to make the article a good one, the exceptions have to be mentioned, too (a few were self made men doesn't cut it), and we also should point out society's mores of the day so that the reader gets the whole picture of what went on. Writergeek7 23:49, 25 July 2008, UTC


Should some note be given in the first paragraph that "Framers" is usually just used to refer to the signers (and the other nonsigning authors) of the Constitution? I don't think anyone ever calls the DoI signers "Framers". --JW1805 18:59, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

That's right: usually, "Framers" means the Constitution guys, and "Signers" means the Declaration guys. [this unsigned comment was added by on 7 March 2006 by Kevin Myers]
I agree with you, but the two terms are somewhat conflated. A Google search turns up lots of references to Constitution guys as "Founders," though not of Declaration guys as "Framers." I've edited the intro to clarify this. See also [1]. NCdave (talk) 13:33, 16 April 2008 (UTC)


Their are no facts on John Adams.

Well, he wasn't at the Convention. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Writergeek7 (talkcontribs) 01:25, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

John Adams was there and he represented Massachusetts!

and Johnson was the predident of King's College (later Columbia College and University).

More Facts on John Adams quoting "Signers of the Declaration of Independence"

In 1775, he nominated Washington to be commander-in-chief on the colonial armies. Adams was a very active member of congress, he was engaged by as many as ninety committees and chaired twenty-five during the second Continental Congress. In May of 1776, he offered a resolution that amounted to a declaration of independence from Gr. Britain. He was shortly thereafter a fierce advocate for the Declaration drafted by Thos. Jefferson —Preceding unsigned comment added by Moneyheave (talkcontribs) 2009-10-21 05:43:26

Relative ages?

I guess this is a suggestion for a new category in this article... I am trying to get a sense of the relative ages of the framers. That is, how old were they when they signed the Constitution, who were the elders and who were the kids, who were contemporaries with each other and who were generation-gapped. What would be a good way to display this sort of data in this article? I do think it would be a generally nice thing to add... Thanks. – Epastore 14:40, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Oh... and which folks were friends/rivals with which? The interpersonal relationships between these people played an important role in their development of the Constitution (etc.), but it is difficult to learn about those without lots of deep study. – Epastore 14:47, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
I'd like to re-ask this above question, now that all that demographic info has been added... — Epastore 19:29, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Look at the Brown article for details on each. Rjensen 19:38, 20 March 2007 (UTC)


Shoudln't we include something in the info section about how like 90% of these people were Freemasons. I'm not David Icke or anything, just thought it was useful info.

That's not really unique, since we're talking about Whiggish politicians of the late 18th. People pass it around as an icebreaker, but it doesn't really mean anything--it's like saying a lot of them happened to be in the same frat, or go to the same country club. Fearwig 16:02, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Actually, the percentage of Founding Fathers who were Freemasons is less than 33%.
  • For the Declaration of Independance: Only 8 out of the 56 Signers were Freemasons
  • For the Constitution: out of the 55 delegates only 9 signers and 5 non-signing delegates were Freemasons (6 more did become Freemasons at a later date).
This is my source. Blueboar 15:14, 5 January 2007 (UTC)


While it is nice that there are images of all these people, it takes a whole lot of scrolling to get to the actual textual content of the article. Maybe the images should be in a separate article, like Gallery of the Founding Fathers of the United States? Remy B 04:20, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Or maybe people should just click the stupid links to see the portraits. I mean, I know it helps us to bask in the glory of our founding demigods without having to make the extra clicky-motion, but I have to say it's not much use to anyone above the age of say, four.
If we're going to use this as precedent, maybe we can hijack all the city and town pages and fill them for four pages with an entire catalogue of the portraits of their town treasurers, dating back to the 18th century. It sounds lovely, really. Fearwig 16:11, 1 May 2006 (UTC)


it's funny that this page says the founding fathers were all brilliantly protestant, given that at least one peer-reviewed and archived page (Washington) explicitly states he, like many others (franklin and jefferson at least also have this) were Deists. it seems like this is a conflict which should be resolved, and suggests the use of NPOV work or "common knowledge" which is largely inaccurate.

I agree. It's sort-kinda-maybe correct, in that they generally associated their deist beliefs with the Protestant Movement, but That doesn't actually mean anything. Remember that mormons and southern baptists are both considered "protestant", even though they aren't very alike. --MulletManDan 22:04, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

whoever did the math on this section messed up. none of the figures given add up to the totals given for the figures. for example, there were figures stating that there were 56 signatories for the Declaration of Independence, 48 for the Articles of Confederation, and 55 for the Constitution minus 16 who did not sign. they then proceed to say that this, plus the ninety-five members of the first congress adds up to 238, when in all actuality, it adds up to 254. they then proceed to say there were 40 repeats, which when subtracted out leaves 204. but if you were to subtract 40 from 238, you get 198 and 40 from 254 leaves 214. the table's numbers,both raw and percentages, do not add up to 204 and 100%, respectively. i dont konw what these number should be so i cannot correct them. Miclwilson 03:56, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Amazing. The entire Enlightenment completely ignored, a period of history zapped out of existence. Not one Deist in the bunch, not even Benjamin Franklin. No mention of Deism or Freemasonry at all when discussing a bunch that refused to establish Christianity as an official religion and who refused to allow religious tests of those who held office. Simply amazing.

One of the largest voting blocks at the time were the Baptists, and they lobbied heavily (and almost failed) to prevent the establishment of a state religion, against strong opposition from most of the rest of the nation (including many of the Founding Fathers). The reason that Madison was able to write the First Amendment is that the Baptists agreed to vote for him; up until Baptist pastor John Leland met with Madison in 1788, the Baptists were going to vote for their own candidate (maybe Leland). So, the reason the Founders did not establish Christianity as the official federal religion has virtually nothing to do with Deism, Freemasonry or the Enlightenment. Incidentally, George Washington was one of the people who wanted state sponsorship of religious educators. Pooua 01:45, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Dr. Rush tells me that he had it from Asa Green that when the clergy addressed Genl. Washington on his departure from the govmt, it was observed in their consultation that he had never on any occasion said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Xn religion and they thot they should so pen their address as to force him at length to declare publicly whether he was a Christian or not. They did so. However he observed the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly except that, which he passed over without notice. Rush observes he never did say a word on the subject in any of his public papers except in his valedictory letter to the Governors of the states when he resigned his commission in the army, wherein he speaks of the benign influence of the Christian religion.

I know that Gouverneur Morris, who pretended to be in his secrets & believed himself to be so, has often told me that Genl. Washington believed no more of that system than he himself did.

Thomas Jefferson, personal journal entry, February 1, 1800.

This little entry, when compared to Washington and Jefferson's collected writings, tells me that Jefferson was a Deist, that he believed Washington to be a Deist, that Gouverneur Morris, who wrote the Preamble to the Constitution, was a Deist and believed Washington and Jefferson to be Deists and possibly that Benjamin Rush may have been a Deist or at least sympathetic. Anyone who has read Benjamin Franklin's autobiography and letters knows that he considered himself a Deist. But Christianity hasn't survived for almost 2,000 by telling the truth, so go ahead and make something up if you must.

The previous section on religion was entirely replaced by a copy of an unsourced web page from revision 141826528 to 141833147. I think this change should be reversed.

I think we need to be clear what a Deist is. If you are going to claim that Washington was not a Christian, but was a Deist, you need to state what distinguishes a Deist from a Christian. Generally, Deists believe in an impersonal God who created the Universe, then left it to fend for itself. They don't believe that God intervenes in this world, and so it is pointless to ask for God's intervention. The fact that Washington often prayed, publicly and privately, proves that he was not a Deist. It is an historical fact that he was a member of the Episcopal Church; he owned a pew in the church. He never claimed to be of any other religious conviction than Episcopalian (though he did ask various Presbyterian pastors if he could partake of communion in their church with them when he was away from home); he certainly never claimed to be a Deist. He frequently attended church; frequently held Bible studies publicly and privately, fasted and always spoke respectfully of God and Christianity.
On June 8, 1783, Washington sent a letter to the governors of 13 states. In the close of that letter, Washington wrote that he prayed that God would
"most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion...
By stating that the author of their religion is divine, Washington betrays himself as a Trinitarian; Washington is stating that Jesus is part of the God-head. This is a direct contradiction to the claims of Deism. Either Washington is writing something that he does not believe is true, or he is a Christian.
Jefferson also stated about himself,
"I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus." (Thomas Jefferson, "The Writings of Thomas Jefferson," Albert Ellery Bergh, editor [Washington, D.C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904], Vol. XIV, p 385, to Charles Thompson on January 9, 1816.)
Of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Episcopalians, 8 Presbyterians, 7 Congregationalists, 2 Lutherans, 2 Dutch Reformed, 2 Methodists, 2 Roman Catholics, 1 unknown and 3 possible Deists. Even those 3 are not certainly known to have been Deists, but, in any event, they were a very small minority. Most of the delegates were not Deists. The same is true of all the rest of the Founding Fathers. Pooua 08:05, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Jefferson relates that Dr. Benjamin Rush told him that Asa Green told Dr. Rush that George Washington was evasive (oddly evasive is the implication) of making statements in favor of Christianity, strongly implying that Washington was not really a Christian. Infidels and others latch onto this as evidence that Washington was not a Christian. Something the infidels never mention, though, is that Dr. Benjamin Rush, for all his great qualities, hated George Washington and ceaselessly tried to destroy Washington's reputation and career through slanderous gossip. This has been documented very well in publications going back to the Founding Era, though it obviously is not common knowledge today. A Google search easily turns up several sources showing this hatred that continued to their graves. Incidentally, Wikipedia's article on Dr. Benjamin Rush currently is incorrect: Dr. Rush never regretted his actions against Washington, but only compounded them until Dr. Rush died. Among other things, he and John Adams were disgusted with Washington's elevation to such an esteemed place in history, and they have some basis for their disgust, though that does not make it entirely Washington's fault. But, the bottom line is, Dr. Rush is not a reliable character witness of George Washington, in stark contrast to what the infidels, atheists and agnostics try to portray. Pooua 01:19, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

When Thomas Jefferson wrote "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus" he was making the point that he believed the moral tenets of Christianity and was pointing out that Christians he knew were hypocrites who did not do so. He didn't claim he was a "disciple of Jesus", a Christian, but a disciple of the doctrines, meaning love another as one loves their self. He was actively hostile to Christianity and including one of his attacks on Christianity in a quote removed from context to support the totally false claim he was a Christian is a a deliberate distortion of fact for idealogical reasons. Shockingly unethical behaviour in what is supposed to be a neutral POV format.

We know for a fact that John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Ethan Allan, and Gouverneur Morris were not Christians. They specifically did not believe that a man named Jesus was the son of God. The claim that Washington frequently attended church is a myth propagated from the pages of Mason Weems book "Life of Washington". Weems was a minister who wished to portray Washington as a devout Christian and this fact is attested to in his surviving letters. Washington's own diaries tell of us of his quite infrequent visits to church. Primary sources like Washington's own diaries trump Weems' speculations for idealogical reasons every time as far as any serious historian is concerned. As an aside, this is my first visit to Wikipedia in any semi-serious manner and I must say I have serious doubts about letting my students use this as a source for anything any longer.Bigdaddyjt 18:20, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Your comment that Jefferson was actively hostile to Christianity is contradicted by Jefferson's decades-long association and cooperation with Baptists. Jefferson very much admired the Baptist form of Christianity, and it served as inspiration when he co-wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
Your statement about John Adams and the others not being Christians based on a standard that you hold is not the full story about the religious beliefs of these men. John Adams believed that Christianity had been corrupted over the centuries, but he passionately advocated what he considered pure Christianity.
Washington's church attendance varied several times. Sometimes, he did not partake of communion; other times, he did, a fact witnessed by several people.
Regarding your aside, you should note that note even Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales claims that Wikipedia should be used as a source. He is quoted as saying, “For God sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia.” I find Wikipedia useful as a collection of notes on a subject; it definitely should not be relied on for serious research. Pooua 03:52, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Incidentally, Jefferson and Adams were not the only people who believed that Christianity had been corrupted. All the Protestants did; that is what the Protestants were protesting (and so, how they got their name). So, the idea that Christianity had been corrupted pre-dates Jefferson and Adams by a few centuries. And, a century and a half later, the fundamentalists formed, again, out of the belief that Christianity was being corrupted (and, again, the name comes from their method of confronting that corruption, namely, returning to the fundamentals of the faith). Many pro-agnostic or pro-atheistic historians confuse statements that complain about the corruptions in Christianity with being anti-Christian; this is a common basis for claiming the Founding Fathers were not Christians. It is horribly mis-guided, but commonly accepted. Pooua 10:28, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't know about the statement that 24 of the founders had seminary degrees. Is that just saying that they went to a denominational school like Harvard, Yale, or Princeton were in those days? I doubt 24 of them actually got theology degrees. -- Anon —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:49, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

What is the copyright policy of The section on religion seems to have been taken from there. (Follow the link at the bottom of the religion section.) 04:18, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Harvard, Yale, and Princeton in those days existed to train people in theological work. A degree from one of those schools meant that one had been trained theologically. I haven't confirmed the degrees each person received, but it seems likely the degrees were theological degrees. (talk) 02:25, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

I edited some ridiuclous comments like a statement that "most of the founding fathers would be atheists by modern standards" and some gratuitous swipes at Evangelicals. Amulekii (talk) 17:07, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

John Jay

I think John Jay should be listed somewhere on here. Wrote a few of the Federalist Papers, was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, early governor of New York, important diplomat and statesman in formative years of the republic...not the flashiest Founding Father, but I think he should count as one all the same. Anony 4 May 2006

Agreed. I see that someone has added him. NCdave (talk) 12:49, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Overview Section

The problem is that this section was written about the Convention delegates only. However, people keep adding info about the DoI signers. For example, this edit adding Jefferson to the list of slaveholders. Doing this makes the section heading incorrect, or if the heading was changed, would make all the other numbers wrong. So something needs to be done about this. I am adding a cleanup tag. --JW1805 (Talk) 19:27, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Your point is unclear as the section is not sourced. Jefferson is correctly added as a slaveholder. There maybe others not listed, and certainly they can and should be added. What do you mean with this phrase "would make all the other numbers wrong." (The section is certainly incorrect when Jefferson is not listed as a slaveholder.) Thanks. Skywriter 20:10, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

  • But my point is that the section is about the Constitutional Convention delegates (Notice how the section is titled Constitutional Convention delegates: an overview). Jefferson was not one of the Convention delegates, he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. --JW1805 (Talk) 21:15, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

okay, thanks. I'll revert it. Skywriter 21:20, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

  • I restructured the page, and moved this section as a subheading of the Constitutional Convention section. This might solve the problem. --JW1805 (Talk) 21:53, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I just removed this seems impossible to prevent people from adding info about the other people listed on the page who were at the Const. Convention. It was all unsourced anyway. --JW1805 (Talk) 23:01, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Some more statistics...

Shouldn't it be mentioned somewhere that they were all male and all white? Maybe it's commonsense, but it's often overlooked.

Yes, and how about very wealthy as well? I've been trying to put that in there, and someone keeps reverting it. For reference (i.e. this is not just my opinion, it's documented independently), check the following web page:

I find it absolutely amazing that in the late 18th century owning 2 farms and enough property "to be a lender" is considered to be less than wealthy. By today's standards 2 farms, property, and private loans would certainly be considered wealthy. This entire article is really close to being a travesty and is embarrassing to Wikipedia so maybe it's silly to nitpick but wealthy is a term that is by definition relative to every other economic standing. In order to understand how wealthy the "Founding Fathers" (can we come up with a less dramatic and silly term?) really were, we need to see facts about just how horribly poor the rest of the country was. Those numbers must exclude women, natives and africans because, of course, none of the politicians at the time were. ---- profg 10:19 8/15/07

Didn't someone already say this earlier on the page? I thought we'd established that not all of them were actually rolling in it. Several delegates had to go back to work during the Convention or else they couldn't feed their families, either. Sometimes, when we try to put everything accurately we're making it more biased than it actually is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Writergeek7 (talkcontribs) 21:54, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
How the hell is "founding fathes" a silly term? What else are they to be called? But I'm assuming you would like something "less dramatic" such as "people who were first in charge of the United States." (talk) 23:20, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

"weasle world"

What does "weasle world" mean? --Muna 14:36, 2 December 2006 (UTC) 11:11, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

POV warning

The introduction to this article suffers from POV problems. The authors appeared to have arbitrarily decided who qualifies as a "founding father" for the United States. A referenced definition (cited using inline footnote citations) is needed. I also recommend rewriting the introduction to indicate a more general use for the term. Dr. Submillimeter 09:16, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Comment: Insofar as I can see, the lead actually gives a good, concise definition of the commonly accepted meaning of the term "Founding Fathers". However, the article as a whole has been a target for POV pushing for some time. Edeans 15:40, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
    • Could you please place an inline citation in the first paragraph showing exactly where this definition is given? This appears to be an editor's inference based on his personal opinion, not something clearly stated in a book. An inline reference would indicate that someone else stated this definition. (It is not the concept that bothers me so much as the vague, inclusive definition given in the first paragraph.) Dr. Submillimeter 17:05, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't believe that a specific, standard definition of the term exists. I like the definition given by David Barton, in "Original Intent": "For the purpose of this work, a 'Founding Father' is one who exerted significant influence in, provided prominent leadership for, or had a substantial impact upon the birth, development, and establishment of America as an independent, self-governing nation." Instead of focusing just on legislators to the exclusion of just about everyone else, the definition given by Mr. Barton produces a well-rounded list. "some two-hundred-fifty or so individuals fit within this category, including the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence, the fourteen Presidents of Congress during the Revolution, the two-dozen or so prominent Generals who secured independence, the fifty-five delegates to the federal Constitutional Convention, the earliest State Governors largely responsible for the ratification and adoption of the Constitution, the ninety members of the first Congress who framed the Bill of Rights, the first members of the U.S. Supreme Court who helped set the judiciary on its feet, and the earliest members of the Executive department who helped established that branch." Pooua 01:23, 16 July 2007 (UTC)


Thanks to the influence of Lewis Namier on historiography, the collective biographies of the Founders have been compiled by numerous scholars (especially Brown, Martin, Harris), and are summarized here. More comparison with the Loyalists would be helpful. Rjensen 03:29, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Relevance of Founding Mothers blurb

What is the relevance of the "Founding Mothers" blurb at the start of this article? I recognize that these women made important contributions to this country, but I don't think that the blurb belongs in this article. Thoughts?

Secretagentwang 20:34, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Historians have spent a lot of time on the women recently--the term "founding fathers" was locked into the language centuries ago. Users need to know about them. It's full sourced. Rjensen 21:17, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I also think the founding mothers bit is irrelevant, perhaps best served by placing a link at the bottom of the page to a separate article? As grand a lady as Abigail Adams may have been, she certainly has not had the influence her husband has. Merely because "historians" have spent "a lot of time" on them recently doesn't make it significant. It is certainly totally bizarre to look up the "founding fathers" and to instantly be confronted with a blurb on the "founding mothers." This is not what people are looking for when they search this term. -unregistered
One of the wonderful things about Wiki is that people can learn new things from it. New = bizarre for some people, others will want to read the experts, as cited here.Rjensen 03:39, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
"Founding mothers" is just revisionist history due to the at-best misguided women's movement. It should be dropped. The government of the United States of America was completely formed by men. (talk) 23:23, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

James Otis

James Otis should probably be on this list. 23:07, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Benjamin Harrison V

I am curious if Benjamin Harrison, V should be added to the list of slave holders? SaltyBoatr 20:18, 24 May 2007 (UTC) No one really knows who he actually is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:02, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

How many persons?

The article is ambiguous as to how may individuals, or an exact definition, constitutes "Founding Fathers of the U.S.". Is it open-ended, or is there a specific number? How is it decided whether a person is, or is not, a Founding Father? Are there any other individual who are considered to be, but are not listed by name? I see the number 55 for the Constitutional Convention and all about them, but there's hardly anything on the signer of the Declaration of Independence, except a list of their names. Leon7 16:44, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

The opening sentence seems pretty clear to me. Is there something it lacks? Rmhermen 17:20, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
It's the ending of the first sentence, "or otherwise participated in the American Revolution as leaders of the Patriots", that seems vague. In the religion subsection, I see that the signers of the Articles of Confederation are included in this article, but the first sentence seems to be mute about these signers (about 48 of them; I sure many are duplicates). I see near the bottom that there are Constitutional Convention delegates who did not sign, and "Other Revolutionary-era figures", which really seems to leave it open-ended. It seems as though there's ambiguity in the set, "Founding Fathers". I guess what I'm saying is, I'd like to see a breakdown of how many individuals participated in signing each document plus whoever else did what, taken a count of and clearly listed, maybe with a table. Leon7 19:53, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
It is an open ended set though, hence the vagueness. Rmhermen 17:43, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
I don't believe there is an exact definition of what a Founding Father is, and so different people can disagree within reason. That means there cannot be an exact number of Founding Fathers given, only an approximation. I define the term liberally, to include anyone who took a leading role in establishing the foundations of the United States. By this measure, about 250 people would be considered as Founding Fathers. Pooua 00:51, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Whether foreigners like it or not, the phrase "Founding Father" is always to be capitalized. Also, those who complain about the "vagueness" of the term do not understand the concept of probability distributions. Naturally, some of the Founders of the United States were more important than others, and then the historical importance of different people of that time and place drops off smoothly, just as in an exponential probability density. Any chosen cut-off point carries an element of arbitrariness.
Also, those foreigners who complain about the esteem that is granted to the American Founders are refusing to recognize their world-wide importance in these things: The first government that was designed with a written Constitution; the first government that was designed with a powerful set of checks-and-balances, with three independent branches of government that act to regulate one another and constrain them from tyrrany; the first national govenment with a built-in system for modifying itself to meet new challenges, by the system for amending the Constitution - which was intentionally designed to be difficult to do, but do-able if the need was great enough.
Thus, people from around the world need to give recognition to the accomplishments of the American Founding Fathers. It is also true that the written Constitution of the United States has functioned as the model for the Constitutions of over 100 countries around the world. (talk) 19:30, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Declaration Founders' info?

There seems to be quite a lot of information about the signers of the Constitution, but almost nothing about the signers of the Declaration of Independence. ComplexEndeavors 17:17, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Deists and Unitarians

There are some factual problems in the religious affiliations listed for the founding fathers.

As it currently reads, it is stated:

"It is also important to note, Deist was a synonym for Unitarian at the time. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were Deists (or Unitarians) but that means they just didn't believe the supernatural parts of the New Testament, or that God was part of a Trinity."

It is simply not the case the "Deist" was a synonym for Unitarian. You might think so based on how Unitarianism has developed... but the Unitarianism of the 18th Century very much believed that God was active in the affairs of men, they just didn't believe in the doctrine of the Trinity.

Also, while I think Benjamine Franklin may have been a Deist, Thomas Jefferson was certainly not one. He was not a Christian in the traditional sense, but he too believed that God was active in the affairs of men, and in prayer -- something a Deist would not affirm. Frjohnwhiteford 00:59, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

I found the phrase, they just didn't believe ... that God was part of a Trinity to be highly amusing. Who did he say *was* a member of the Trinity? I deleted that little paragraph. You should have. Pooua 00:51, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
Originally, the term "Unitarian" simply meant a Christian who rejected the doctrine of a tripartite God, or "Trinity." Today's Unitarians don't even consider themselves to be Christian, but the Unitarians of 230 years ago did. Unitarians in those years professed Christ as the Messiah and Savior, but did not consider Him or the Holy Spirit to be equal with God the Father-Creator, and they objected to the term "Trinity." NCdave (talk) 16:28, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
There was another religious organization that arose in New England in the 1600s and 1700s as a rejection of notions of groups such as the Presbyterians, Puritans, and others who believed in "predestination" and other radical ideas. Predestination was the notion that millions of people were born to go to Hell, no matter what they did. The new group was called the Universalists, who believed in the eventual salvation of all men and women. I don't know if you can put a finger on exactly when, but the Unitarians also grew to reject the notion of predestination, and other extreme ideas of the Presbyterians, Puritan, etc. A lot of other changes occurred gradually, and by 1960, the Uniterians and the Universalists realized that as groups, they had converged. Thus, they merged and became the Unitarian-Universalist organization. I have known lots of modern Unitarian-Univeralists, and there are some who consider themselves to be primarily Christians, some primarily Jewish, some primarily Deists, some primarily Agnostics, and some as primarily none of the above. All-in-all, the beliefs of a modern Unitarian-Universalist is a matter of the individual's own conscience. (talk) 20:10, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Vague Article

I know this sounds utterly stupid, but who are the prominent founding fathers? I found the article vague and couldnt really grasp the content well to understand it. So if anyone could help me, that would be great. (♠Murchy♠) 14:04, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Anyone... please!! (♠Murchy♠) 08:23, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Which names from 18th Century U.S. history do you recognize? Those are the prominent ones! But, I'll name a few, to get you started:

George Washington; Thomas Jefferson; Benjamin Franklin; John Adams; James Madison; John Witherspoon; Alexander Hamilton; John Jay; Patrick Henry; Samuel Adams; John Hancock; Gouverneur Morris; Joseph Story

Many other people had a significant role in the founding of the U.S. I could have added several more (such as Daniel Boone, Ethan Allen and John Marshall). Pooua 07:55, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Founders vs. Framers

I am aware of the fact that the term "Founding Fathers" (or just "Founders") is widely used to encompass, not just the men who actually founded the United States, but also the authors ("Framers") of the United States Constitution. But I think it is worth noting that a distinction is sometimes drawn between the two terms. Here is an example of a textbook in which Penn State Prof. David Saxe, a national expert on history standards in education, makes this distinction:

"...the founders (those who wrote, debated and signed the Declaration of Independence) or framers (delegates to the Constitutional Convention)..." [2]

By those definitions, Founding Fathers were the American Leaders who founded the United States, esp. those who signed the Declaration of Independence in mid 1776, and the Framers of the Constitution were those who wrote or "framed" our current Constitution in late 1787 (ratified in 1788).

Our current Constitution was not the founding constitution of the United States. The founding constitution of the United States was the Articles of Confederation. Our current Constitution was written more than eleven years after the 1776 founding of the United States, and six years after the 1781 surrender of Cornwallis which effectively concluded the Revolutionary War. The Constitution was written, not in response to Independence, but in response to the the problems which had become evident in the Articles of Confederation.

Though the founding of the United States is often said to have occurred on July 4, 1776, it could be argued that it was not successfully concluded until the end of the Revolutionary War, or even the signing of peace treaty with Britain in 1783. But even that was long before the 1787 drafting of our current Constitution. The Constitution really had nothing at all to do with the founding of the United States of America, so to call someone a "Founder" based solely on his participation in the Philadelphia Convention seems sloppy. NCdave (talk) 16:06, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

I've adjusted the intro to reflect the fact that some authors draw a distinction between Founders and Framers. NCdave (talk) 00:01, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
The term "Founding Fathers" (of the United States) can just as readily be applied to those who founded the current Federal Government of the United States, whose Constitution was written in 1787, and then ratified within two years, with the first Federal elections held in November 1789. Also, many or most of the same men who had served in the Continental Congress before the writing of the Constitution; and/or had fought in the Revolutionary War; were the same men. (Here, I use the word "man" to mean "human being" - and just because there weren't any females in those roles back then is besides the point. As it so happens, women like Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, and Dolly Madison weren't Founding Fathers, but they were Founding Mothers in their importance, anyway.)
It is notable that the Government of the United States presently is the oldest government in the world that exists without very substantial revison.
Some might bring up the the question of the British Government, but since 1789, the government of the United Kingdom has indeed undergone substantial revisons, namely these: a). The powers of the Monarch have been practically completely taken away, and b). The powers of the House of Lords have been practically completely taken away. Thus, the U.K. has only two branches of government that remain: the House of Commons, and the Courts. (talk) 19:50, 29 October 2009 (UTC)


Look at this: "Political experience The signers of the Constitution had extensive political experience. By 1787, four-fifths, or 41 individuals, were or had been members of the Continental Congress. Practically all of the 55 delegates had experience in colonial and state government, and the majority had held county and local offices.[4]

Timothy Mifflin, Pierce Gaithe, and James Gorham had served as president of the Continental Congress. The ones who lacked congressional experience were Bassett, Blair, Brearly, Broom, Davie, Dayton, Alexander Martin, Alexander Hamilton, Luther Martin, Mason, McClurg, Paterson, Charles Pinckney, Strong, Washington and Yates. Eight men (Clymer, Franklin, Gerry, Robert Morris, Read, Sherman, Wilson, and Wythe) had signed the Declaration of Independence. Six (Carroll, Dickinson, Gerry, Gouverneur Morris, Robert Morris, and Sherman) had affixed their signatures to the Articles of Confederation. Two, Sherman and Robert Morris, underwrote all three of the nation's basic documents. Dickinson, Franklin, Langdon, and Rutledge had been governors. ===Occupations===assholes are assholes so are the giants The 1787 delegates practiced a wide range of high and middle-status occupations..."

Can anyone please correct it? [this unsigned comment was added by on 6 February 2008]

Yes, it is corrected. Thank you for pointing it out, Please feel free to boldly fix such things yourself, too. NCdave (talk) 22:49, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

55 or 56 delegates

This edit by on April Fools day changed the number of delegates from 55 to 56. I think that was simple vandalism., if I am mistaken, please comment here, and name the 56th delegate, and give a reliable source for the information. For now, I'm changing it back. NCdave (talk) 22:54, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Hmmm... I think that it might have been a good-faith error, resulting from the fact that the section entitled 13 Delegates who had left the Convention earlier and did not sign actually only lists 12 delegates. I'm going to just delete the "13" from the section title. If anyone knows of a 13th delegate who left the convention early, please update the article accordingly. NCdave (talk) 23:05, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Another delegate was Samuel Deane of Connecticut. He was part of the first Continental Congress. He is not mentioned on the page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Historylawyer (talkcontribs) 04:12, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Treaty of Tripoli reinserted the following assertion into the article:

Regardless, the division of church and state was always emphasized by the founding fathers. "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion," states the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli. This document was ratified by Congress without much debate or contention and stands today as a reminder of the founding fathers' intentions.[1]

In fact, that reference to Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli is not accurate or balanced, because:

  • The Treaty of Tripoli was negotiated in Arabic, not English, and the Arabic version contains no such statement.
  • Likewise, the Italian translation contains no such provision.
  • The provision is only to be found in an English translation of the original treaty which was done by or for an obscure diplomat named Joel Barlow, who was an associate of Thomas Paine (the only prominent atheist Founder). The translated treaty was presented as a faite accompli to the U.S. Senate, after much of the tribute had already been paid. The Senate had no opportunity to adjust the wording. If the Senators wanted the peace for they had already paid, they had to ratify it, so the wording cannot be taken as a statement of Congressional will.
  • When the Treaty was later renegotiated, there was no such provision in any translation.
  • Barlow had neither the authority nor the prestige to have a legitimate claim to speak for the nation in such matters.
  • The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli was not contemporaneous with the founding of the United States or the creation of the Constitution. It was ratified 23 years after United States was founded, and a decade after the Constitution.
  • The Treaty of Paris, which marked the official end of the Revolutionary War, was one of the founding documents of the new nation, was arguably the most important treaty in American history, and was certainly much more important than the later Treaty of Tripoli.
  • The Treaty of Paris was negotiated by three of America's most distinguished and respected leaders, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay, who (unlike Barlow) could speak with authority for the nation. In the whole history of the United States there has never been a diplomatic delegation as distinguished as that one.
  • The Treaty of Paris began and ended with acknowledgments of Christ. It began with, "In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity," and ended with "In the year of Our Lord."
  • At the time the United States was founded, and eleven years later when the U.S. Constitution was written, most States had established official churches, all of them Christian.
  • Nor was that fact an anachronism. The 14th State (Vermont) entered the Union just in time to ratify the Bill of Rights, and it did so with with an officially established Christian State Church (the Congregational Church, as it happens). Official establishments of (Christian) State churches (specific denominations) persisted for more than half a century after the founding of the United States, and some States permitted only Christians to hold public office for more than a century after the nation's founding.

Now, do you really think that this article has anything to do with all this?

If you insist that this article contain a reference to the Treaty of Tripoli to support your POV that the Founders & Framers always emphasized the division of church and state, then for balance we must also include the documentation (above) which supports the opposite POV. I don't think there's any need to go there. It really has virtually nothing to do with this article. Don't you agree?

I'm going to remove that bit about the Treaty of Tripoli and the Founders' emphasis on the division of church and state. Please leave it out. Or, at the very least, discuss it here before edit warring over it. NCdave (talk) 12:04, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

François Adriaan van der Kemp

François Adriaan van der Kemp appears to have been a Dutch Patriot, not an American Patriot, though he eventually moved to America. I don't think he should be listed in this article. I'm going to boldly delete him, but if anyone has documentation for why he should be restored to the article please point to it here before restoring him. NCdave (talk) 12:37, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

the tag on the Other Founders section

The "Other Revolutionary-era figures considered as Founding Fathers" section has had an "unreferenced" tag on it for about five months. While it is true that there are no references in the section, the individuals listed there all Wikilink to articles about each individual. Most (perhaps all) of those articles do have references. So do we really need references in this section, too? Would anyone object if I just removed the tag? NCdave (talk) 13:11, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Also, the section title seems cumbersome. Would anyone object if I changed it to simply "Other Founders" (instead of "Other Revolutionary-era figures considered as Founding Fathers")? NCdave (talk) 13:14, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
Hearing no objection, I've made these two changes. NCdave (talk) 04:48, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Open Access to the papers of America's founding area

see Press Release,, May 7, 2008 -- Cherubino (talk) 10:55, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

"lacked congressional experience"?

What does the above phrase mean in this article? Alexander Hamilton is noted in this category, yet he served - twice - in the Congress of the Confederation. This sentence in the article is not clear, at all. Shoreranger (talk) 15:06, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

I know, I wasn't getting that either. Does it mean that he wasn't in the Continental Congress? I'll look into that. Writergeek7 20:28, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I've deleted him from there. Writergeek7 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Writergeek7 (talkcontribs) 16:14, 8 July 2008 (UTC)


Could someone tell me why George Clinton counts as a FF? Sure, he was VP when you actually had to be someone to do that, but he died in the middle of it..and he wasn't a huge fan of the Constitution or anything like that. I'm pretty sure he wrote some of the Anti-Fed papers. I guess he was first gov. of NY as a state, but that's about it. Writergeek7 —Preceding undated comment was added at 21:57, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

After reading further, he was also a Revolutionary War general. But if that's the case, then why aren't Schuyler, Gates, Knox, Greene, and the others there? Especially Greene... Writergeek7 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Writergeek7 (talkcontribs) 19:50, 26 July 2008 (UTC)


If you look under the topic of religion, it gives numbers for the religious affiliations of the various delegates. I totaled those numbers that were alread there, and the total came to 49 Protestants. It also says that there were three Catholics. This would mean that there were 52 (49+3) Catholic and Protestant founders. The article also says that there were 55 total delegates. It then goes on to list 5 or 6 founders who are said to be anti-religion, and it also states that there were several founders who were Diests. Some founders are also listed under Freemasonry. If there were a total of 55 individuals and 52 were Catholic and Protestant, then there can only be 3 who have a different belief. It seems like the numbers do not agree with each other. I have not looked at every name, but perhaps the phrases Founding Fathers and constitutional delegates are being used to mean the same thing. ActionMan12 (talk) 19:49, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Benedict Arnold?

I understand Arnold was a great military asset - when he was actually in the Continental Army - but I am pretty sure treason justifies exclusion from any "Founding Fathers" list no matter what your previous achievements were. Particularly in this case, Arnold actively fought against the Revolution in a British uniform after his treason - that cannot in any way be construed as actively trying to found a nation: a prerequisite for the title "Founging Father", no? In addition, I would suggest that military success alone would not qualify one for this list, anyway. Shoreranger (talk) 16:24, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

No reply so I am taking him off. Shoreranger (talk)

Richard Montgomery

I added General Richard Montgomery to the list. Not sure if he should be there, but tell em what you think.-Red4tribe (talk) 00:47, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

  • A notable Patriot, to be certain, but I took him off because he does not seem to rise to the level of Founding Father. Similarly, I removed the iconic Paul Revere - a great Patriot without a doubt, but not the pervasive influence on the fouding of the nation that would seem to be required. Shoreranger (talk)

Thomas Jefferson Quotation

The religion section contains a quotation that is credited to a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams. Does anyone know which letter the quotation is taken from? Several weeks ago, I added a source needed request to the quotation. Since then, I have been researching the quotation in order to find a source for it. So far, I have not been able to find the letter where the quotation comes from. Does anyone know which letter the quotation is taken from? If so, please post the reference here.

Here is the quotation:

"The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills." ActionMan12 (talk) 10:20, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

I would propose that we delete this quotation, unless someone can provide a source for it. We clearly want an article that is as factual as possible, and it detracts significantly from the overall quality of the article to have un-sourced quotations included. Articles like this should only include quotations that are clearly sourced. If no one is able to provide a proper source, why is the quotation still there? Again, I move that we remove the quotation. There are numerous other Jefferson quotations that we can replace it with, and we would be able to provide a source for them. Thanks! (talk) 04:05, 6 September 2008 (UTC)


Should the demographics section be amended to note that Button Gwinnett, in addition to Hamilton and Spaight, died in a duel? (talk) 14:52, 26 September 2008 (UTC)PBentley —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)


"The Founding fuckers of the United States..." Somebody is vandalizing the page.

Definition of Founders, and "Christian"

I think a better definition of "Founding Father" would be the men who laid the intellectual groundwork for the US government, rather than limiting it to the signers of the Declaration or Constitution. This would include Chief Justice Marshall and Thomas Paine, while excluding some of the non-entities who signed the documents and contributed nothing else to history.

The whole discussion of "Christian vs Deist" is an anachronism. Most Europeans back then were "official" Christians because not being a Christian (or being the "wrong type" of Christian) subjected one to persecution. Read what happened to the youthful Edward Gibbon when he temporarily converted to Catholicism. Furthermore, pure philosophical atheism didn't exist then, because in pre-Darwin times even anti-clerical philosophers thought that the variety and complexity of nature implied a "Creator God". In private the Founders had all sorts of nonstandard religious ideas. Examples:

Franklin once proclaimed that he would never donate money to a church, though he would donate to a specific religious cause he admired. His epitaph proclaimed a faith in the afterlife without referring to Christianity.

Jefferson said that he admired Jesus but thought many of the doctrines traced to him were fake. Hence the "Jefferson Bible" with the "fake" doctrines omitted.

Washington attended church but refused to take communion, which can be interpreted in various ways.

Paine ridiculed the "Son of God" concept as having been borrowed from pagan religions.

Hamilton, asked why the Constitution made no reference to God, joked "We forgot".

The modern notion of the frank, outspoken atheist or agnostic didn't exist until the Founders wrote the First Amendment to protect them. CharlesTheBold (talk) 01:34, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Its depends some founding fathers were born again Christians and a few were not. (talk) 21:51, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Minor grammatical error

(who were delegates to the Federal Convention and took part in framing or drafting the proposed Constitution of the United States. This parentheses is never ended. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:10, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Founding Fathers

I just viewed the article "Founding Fathers" and note it includes within its definition a bunch of nonsense. The Founding Fathers were not every Tom, Dick, and Harry who lived in the USA in 1787, when the Constitutional Convention was held. The Founding Fathers are the fifty-five men who in secret drafted the founding document upon which the government of the United States of America was and is founded. The United States of America did not exist until 1788 when it was ratified by the states. There is only one Constitution for the nation which now exists as the United States of America and the men who wrote it are the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Please, read Webster's Dictionary for the definition of Founding Fathers, with capital Fs.

The Declaration of Independence, for example, was a declaration of independence from King George, not the founding document of the United States of America. As everyone who has done their homework knows, Thomas Jefferson was in France from 1784 to 1789 and had nothing to do with drafting the Constitution. Please, rewrite the section on Founding Fathers to conform to Webster's definition, which makes sense. The Wikipedia definition is nonsense.

Gene Garman, M.Div. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gene Garman (talkcontribs) 05:58, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

xcvxcvvvvcxv  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:05, 5 August 2009 (UTC) 


I changed the columns code, hope it didn't interfere with what you were doing, but it does not render in IE. If you can't figure out how to use MultiCol feel free to contact me, SADADS (talk) 17:30, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

external links contains a reference to a much debunked story - recommend removal

In the external links section there is a link entitled "What Happened to the Signers of the Declaration of Independence?" which leads to :

This is a propaganda piece which is debunked here

I recommend this is removed asap as it is highly misleading. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:24, 23 August 2009 (UTC)