<Standard 5.17.................................................................................................................................Standard 5.19>

Describe the life and achievements of important leaders during the Revolution and the early years of the United States.

Focus Question: What were the key achievements of important Revolutionary Era men and women?

Esther de Berdt Reed
Esther de Berdt Reed

Benjamin Banneker, 1980 U.S. Postage Stamp
Benjamin Banneker, 1980 U.S. Postage Stamp

Topics on the Page

African Americans
John Adams
Benjamin Franklin
King George III
Alexander Hamilton
James Madison
George Washington
  • Washington and Slavery
Samuel Adams
Benedict Arnold
Women's Roles and Impacts
  • Mercy Otis Warren
  • Abigail Adams
  • Esther de Berdt Reed

African Americans

external image Salem_Poor_stamp_1975.jpg
Rotating_globe-small.gifSee Africans in America: The Revolutionary War for background on African Americans during the time.

African Americans During the American Revolution from Colonial Williamsburg. Salem Poor was a hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

African Americans and Civil Rights in Pennsylvania includes material on the American Revolution.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.31.08 AM.pngLesson Plans: Runaway slaves during the American Revolution and Thomas Jefferson's contradictory attitudes toward slavery.

external image 1788_JohnAdams_byMatherBrown.jpgA. John Adams

  • Born 1735, and died July 4, 1826
  • Harvard educated lawyer
  • During the Revolutionary War, he served in France and Holland as diplomat
  • Served as George Washington's Vice President twice
  • Became the second president of the United States in the election of 1796 defeating old friend and rival Thomas Jefferson
  • Passed the Alien and Sedition Åcts in response to the French-British War and was intended to frighten foreign agents out of the country
  • Retired to his home in Quincy, Massachusetts and later died on July 4, 1826

external image Benjamin_Franklin_by_Jean-Baptiste_Greuze.jpgB. Benjamin Franklin

  • Born 1706, and died 1790
  • One of the Founding Fathers
  • He was a leading writer, publisher, inventor, diplomat, scientist, and philosopher.
  • He is well-known for his experiments with electricity and lightning, and for publishing "Poor Richard's Almanac" and the Pennsylvania Gazette.
  • He served as Postmaster General under the Continental Congress, and later became a prominent abolitionist.
  • He is credited with inventing the lightning rod, the Franklin Stove, and bifocals.

external image 200px-Hebrew_timeline.svg.pngFranklin's Interactive Timeline presents events from Franklin's life and times.

external image 200px-IPod_family.svg.pngBenjamin Franklin's Autobiography in this vook on iTunes.

C. King George III

external image King_George_III_by_Sir_William_Beechey.jpg

  • Born 1738, died 1820
  • King of Great Britain.
  • George William Frederick ascended to the throne in 1760 at the age of twenty-two.
  • He played a major role in the creating the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1763 that brought an end to the Seven Years War.
  • In 1770, finally gained control over the English Parliament with the installation of Lord North, as prime minister.
  • Repressive policies towards the American colonies throughout the North ministry backfired with the American rebels' struggle for independence from English rule.
  • Began peace negotiations to end the American Revolution in March 1782.

external image Hamilton_small.jpg

D. Alexander Hamilton

  • Born 1755, died 1804
  • Columbia University graduate, studied law
  • Supporter of John Locke
  • Was a lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army, under George Washington
  • Supporter of a stronger national government than that provided by the Articles of Confederation
  • A principle contributor to the Federalist Papers
  • Became Secretary of the Treasury and created the Bank of the United States in 1791
  • Died in a shooting duel versus Vice President Aaron Burr in 1804
Multimedia.pngCheck out the PBS documentary Alexander Hamilton

external image ThomasJeffersonStateRoomPortrait.jpg

E. Thomas Jefferson

  • Born 1743, died July 4, 1826
  • minister to France in 1785, resigned in 1793 due to disagreements with Hamilton over empathy for French Revolution
  • Assumed leadership of Republican party, attacked Federalist policies, opposed a strong centralized government
  • Vice President to Adams in 1796
  • acquired Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon in 1803 during his own presidency.
  • aimed to stay neutral during Napoleonic wars although trading policies with France and England made this difficult
  • retired to Monticello after Presidency

F. James Madison

external image James_Madison.jpg

  • Born 1751-1836
  • participated in the framing of the Virginia Constitution in 1776, served in the Continental Congress, and was a leader in the Virginia Assembly
  • Wrote the Federalist essays, and helped to frame the Bill of Rights
  • Was elected President in 1808 and later declared war on Britain in the War of 1812
  • As a result of the victory in the War of 1812 the Federalist party disappeared as a national party in America

G. George Washington

external image George_Washington_1795.jpg
  • born 1732, died December 14, 1799
  • elected Commander in Chief of Continental Army 1775
  • Fought Revolutionary War, and in 1781 forced the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown with the help of the French
  • Knew the country wasn't functioning well under Articles of Confederation and was a primary component of starting the Constitutional Convention
  • Unanimously elected the first President of the United States in 1789

primary_sources.PNGInsisted on a neutral course of action in the French-English war that stemmed out of the French Revolution and in his Farewell Address warned against the potential problems of longstanding alliances
  • Died of a throat infection on December 4, 1799

external image Big_red_apple.jpgDid George Washington Chop Down His Father's Cherry Tree?
Multimedia.pngWatch a short video about Washington and the cherry tree myth.

Washington and Slavery
Rotating_globe-small.gif10 Facts about George Washington and Slavery, from Mt. Vernon

George Washington, Slave Catcher

H. Samuel Adams
  • born 9/27/1722, died 10/2/1803external image 7_a.jpg
  • cousin of fellow activist John Adams
  • Was a Harvard educated lawyer, who worked in Thomas Cushings shop
  • Signed the Declaration of Independence
  • Member of the First Continental Congress
  • Was part of the meeting held right after Boston Massacre, and played a key role in the aftermath
  • Called by a newspaper in Boston the "Father of the American Revolution"

I. Benedict Arnold

  • born 1/14/1741 and died 6/14/1801
  • Born in Norwich, CT and went to school at Canterburyexternal image 14_a.jpg
  • Was commissioned as the leader of an invasion of Canada by the Continental Congress
  • Was constantly involved in strife with in the politics of the early states and fellow officers
  • Was a valiant and courageous officer in battle and eagerly fought at any opportunity
  • Sometime during 1779, was involved in treason with the British
  • Gave information for 10,000 pounds and land in Canada.
  • The original and most famous traitor in American History.

Female_Rose.pngWomen's Roles and Impacts

See Women in the American Revolution for short summaries of the lives and accomplishments of women during this period. For more on women, see those highlighted on this page.

Female_Rose.pngMercy Otis Warren, a leading voice in the revolutionary movement and later author of one of the earliest American histories, History of Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution (1805).
  • She was also an ardent anti-federalist, anonymously writing Observations on the New Constitution (1788) in opposition to the proposed federal constitution.
  • Like other anti-federalists, her opposition ranged from the "lack of a bill of rights guaranteeing freedom of the press and the rights of individuals, to the indirect, antidemocratic method for electing the president" (Massachusetts: A Concise History, R.D. Brown & J. Tager, 2000, p. 108).

Mercy Otis Warren
Mercy Otis Warren

Female_Rose.pngAbigail Adams, wife of the second President and early voice for women's rights and involvement in politics.The relationship between John and Abagail Adams is considered one of the most fruitful partnerships in American history. In addition to mother and wife, Abagail Adams was one of John Adams's closest advisors and confidants.

Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams

primary_sources.PNG To recieve a better look into the inner workings of their relationship, the Massachusetts Historical Society has digitized John and Abigail's corespondences.

As well, letters to and from Mercy Otis Warren.

external image Red_apple.jpg

  • Lesson plan: Assessing Change: Women's Lives in the American Revolutionary Era

Esther de Berdt Reed

Esther de Berdt Reed led the Ladies of Philadelphia organization that raised $300, 000 to support the colonial cause.




Image IDs from left to right

1. John Adams Wikimedia Commons, "1788 JohnAdams by MatherBrown".
2. Benjamin Franklin Wikimedia Commons, "Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Baptiste Greuze".
3. King George III Wikimedia Commons, "King George III by Sir William Beechey".
4. Alexander Hamilton Wikimedia Commons, "Hamilton small".
5. Thomas Jefferson Wikimedia Commons, "ThomasJeffersonStateRoomPortrait".
6. James Madison Wikimedia Commons, "James Madison".
7. George Washington Wikimedia Commons, "George Washington 1795".
8. Mercy Otis Warren Wikimedia Commons, "Mercy Otis Warren".
9. Abigail Adams Wikimedia Commons, "Abigail Adams".