“Founders’ Son”: The Fathers in Abraham Lincoln’s Life

When Abraham Lincoln departed his Springfield, Illinois home in 1861, to be inaugurated as the sixteenth President of the United States, he told his friends and neighbors that the task before him was “more difficult than that which devolved upon General Washington.” One could argue the historical accuracy of that claim, but all must agree […]

The Colossus of Independence

The morning of July 1, 1776, dawned hot and humid. Before the morning ended a summer storm engulfed Philadelphia. John Adams woke before the dawn. He dress, wrote a letter to Archibald Bulloch, ate breakfast, and walked to the State House. “This morning is assigned the greatest debate of all,” he told Bulloch. “A declaration, […]

Founding Fathers Friday: Nathaniel Macon

Unlike politicians today, we tend to think of the Founders as men who struck to principle. More statesmen-like than politician-like. And while anyone who whose actually looked deeply into the lives of our Founders knows this isn’t always true, anyone who looks into the life of Nathaniel Macon has to conclude that this unknown Founder […]

Founding Fathers Friday: Patrick Henry

At the beginning of the American Revolution three Virginians sat at the pinnacle of prominence: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry. Jefferson, the pen of the Revolution, Washington, the sword of the Revolution, and Henry, the voice of the Revolution. Two—Washington and Jefferson—would establish lasting fame as national heroes. And ironically, the man who […]

Founding Fathers Friday: James Monroe

George Washington is the first Founding Father, if not by chronological at least in historical importance. Of this, few would dispute. James Monroe is the last Founding Father—if not in historical importance at least by chronological. Like all of the Virginia Founders, except Patrick Henry, Monroe was born to relative wealth and property. Born on […]

Founding Fathers Friday: James Madison

When George Washington walked into a room every head snapped to gaze upon his nearly six-foot-two frame. And when he was in uniform he displaced respect and reverence equal to his 175 pounds, like a battleship displacing its weight in water. James Madison couldn’t displace water in a glass. No one paid attention when he […]

Founding Fathers Friday: James McClurg

Founders like George Washington, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin have become almost demigod-like in our history. Maybe not so much today, but at various times in our history we’ve placed certain Founders on unreachable pedestals. In the summer of 1787, these and other notable Founders hadn’t quite reached the demigod status—though Washington and Franklin were […]

Founding Fathers Friday: George Mason

He once said he’d rather cut off his hand than sign the Constitution. The Founder who became the godfather of the Declaration of Independence and the “Father of the Bill of Rights” never came around to support the newly created national government. In the eyes of George Mason, the only sure guard of liberty came […]

Founding Fathers Friday: Edmund Randolph

James Madison is considered the Father of the Constitution. If that’s true, then Edmund Randolph must be the Godfather of the Constitution. Born in Virginia’s colonial capital of Williamsburg on August 10, 1753, Randolph was the son John Randolph, a successful attorney in the colony. After graduating from the College of William and Mary, Randolph […]

Founding Fathers Friday: John Dickinson

John Adams first met John Dickinson in 1774, in Philadelphia, at the First Continental Congress. After taking the measure of the man, Adams wrote in his diary on October 24 that “Mr. Dickinson is very modest, delicate, and timid.” That was a pretty accurate assessment of the man who would become Adams’s chief protagonist in […]