The Founding Fathers were the political leaders who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 or otherwise took part in the American Revolution in winning American independence from Great Britain, or who participated in framing and adopting the United States Constitution in 1787-1788, or in putting the new government under the Constitution into effect.

Within the large group known as the "founding fathers," there are two key subsets: the Signers (who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776) and the Framers (who were delegates to the Federal Convention and took part in framing or drafting the Constitution of the United States).

Signers of the Declaration of Independence include: John Adams, Samuel Adams, Josiah Bartlett, Carter Braxton, Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase, Abraham Clark, George Clymer, William Ellery, William Floyd, Benjamin Franklin, Elbridge Gerry, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, John Hancock, Benjamin Harrison, John Hart, Joseph Hewes, Thomas Heyward, Jr., William Hooper, Stephen Hopkins, Francis Hopkinson, Samuel Huntington, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Richard Henry Lee, Francis Lewis, Philip Livingston, Thomas Lynch, Jr., Thomas McKean, Arthur Middleton, Lewis Morris, Robert Morris, John Morton, Thomas Nelson, Jr., William Paca, Robert Treat Paine, John Penn, George Read, Caesar Rodney, George Ross, Benjamin Rush, Edward Rutledge, Roger Sherman, James Smith, Richard Stockton, Thomas Stone, George Taylor, Matthew Thornton, George Walton, William Whipple, William Williams, James Wilson, John Witherspoon, Oliver Wolcott, George Wythe.

Constitutional Convention Delegates include: Abraham Baldwin, Richard Bassett, Gunning Bedford Jr., John Blair, William Blount, David Brearly, Jacob Broom, Pierce Butler, Daniel Carroll, George Clymer, Jonathan Dayton, John Dickinson, William Few, Thomas Fitzsimons, Benjamin Franklin, Nicholas Gilman, Nathaniel Gorham, Alexander Hamilton, Jared Ingersoll, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, William Samuel Johnson, Rufus King, John Langdon, William Livingston, James Madison, James McHenry, Thomas Mifflin, Gouverneur Morris, Robert Morris, William Paterson, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, George Read, John Rutledge, Roger Sherman, Richard Dobbs Spaight, George Washington (president of the Convention), William Cotter, Hugh Williamson, James Wilson, William Jackson (Secretary).

Most historians define the "founding fathers" to mean a larger group including not only the Signers and the Framers but also all those who took part in winning American independence and creating the United States of America - whether as politicians, jurists, statesmen, diplomats, soldiers or ordinary citizens.

The term "Founding Fathers" was coined by Warren G. Harding, then a Republican Senator from Ohio, in his keynote address to the 1916 Republican National Convention. He also used it several times thereafter, most prominently in his 1921 inaugural address as President of the United States.

American historian Richard B. Morris, in his book Seven Who Shaped Our Destiny: The Founding Fathers as Revolutionaries, identified the following seven figures as the key founding fathers: Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton.

Interestingly, all seven of the above named key Founding Fathers were homeschooled!

SEE ALSO: Famous Homeschooled Patriots

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