2019 American Founders Draft Rankings
It’s fantasy football season (and hockey and basketball), so I thought it would be appropriate to publish a list of Founders with their fantasy rankings.
For those of you who do not participate in fantasy sports, just think of this as my list of the top 100 most important Founders ranked in order.
I know, this is kind of irrelevant, but hey, it’s fun!
This is actually the second year I’ve made this list. You can read last years here.
If you are thinking that this is just the same as last year, well, it’s close. But, after another year of study (and about 365 more articles) some Founders have moved up and down the list.
So, who do you think I left out????
Let me know in the comments.
2019 Founders Fantasy Rankings
George Washington - He’s the ‘Father of the Country’ for a reason. Leader of the Continental Army. Chairman of the Constitutional Convention. First President of the United States of America. Need I say more?
Benjamin Franklin - Revered by his contemporaries for his wisdom. His presence was reassuring for those signing both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Built America’s international reputation and contributed much to the foundation of our society in general.
Thomas Jefferson - Wrote the Declaration. Leader of the first opposition party. Second Vice President and Third President of the United States. Has an entire style of government named for him (Jeffersonian Democracy).
John Adams - Ever underrated, John Adams was the quintessential American Revolutionary. From writing pamphlets before the war, to representing the United States throughout Europe, and through the First Vice Presidency and Second Presidency, Adams had the Patriot Cause boiling up to his ears.
James Madison - A latecomer on the revolutionary scene, Madison shot to prominence after the war and convinced the young nation's leaders to create a new form of government. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, the US Constitution. While Madison didn’t ‘write’ the Constitution (it was the work of many hands), he had the biggest influence on it’s creation. Oh yeah, and he would be the Fourth President of the United States.
Alexander Hamilton - Climbed the ranks to a leadership position during the war. Major player in the Constitutional Convention. First Secretary of Treasury who built the foundation of the American financial system.
Robert Morris - Financier of the Revolution. Perhaps the most powerful man in the young nation. Secretary of both Marine and Finance during the war. Signer of the Constitution.
John Dickinson - Penman of the Revolution. Wrote early pamphlets against British aggression. Did not sign the Declaration on principal but went on to write the Articles of Confederation and play a leading role at the Constitutional Convention.
John Jay - Early rebel from New York. Negotiated trade with Spain and signed the Treaty of Paris. First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
James Monroe - Fought in the war before going to the Continental Congress. Made the Louisiana Purchase before becoming Secretary of State and War during the War of 1812. Fifth President of the United States of America.
Roger Sherman - Signed all four major Founding Documents. Elder statesman during the Constitutional Convention. Main organizer of the Great Compromise.
John Marshall - A late bloomer on the Revolutionary Stage, Marshall held small roles in the first decade under the Constitution. Became the Fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and arguably the most important ever.
Elbridge Gerry - Signed the Declaration. Attended the Constitutional Convention but refused to sign the document on several grounds. Contributed much to the Bill of Rights, became a Minister to France, and Fifth Vice President of the United States.
Nathanael Greene - One of the most important Major Generals of the war. Took over the Southern Department when things looked bleak. Turned things around and was a significant contributor to America's victory.
Gouverneur Morris - Wrote most of the New York State Constitution. Helped with the Articles of Confederation. Authored the Preamble to the US Constitution. Served the first President as Minister to France.
Samuel Adams - The loudest voice in creating the Revolution. Signed the Declaration and Articles. Fell into state politics after the war.
Patrick Henry - The leader of Revolutionary Virginia. That State’s first Governor. 'Give me liberty or give me death.’
Silas Deane - First foreign Minister. Secretly purchased the supplies which won the Battle of Saratoga. Returned to America on the flagship of the French Navy. The war would have been lost without his services.
John Hancock - Rich kid turned Revolutionary. Signed the Declaration first and largest. Spent the rest of his life as Governor of Massachusetts.
James Wilson - Signed the Declaration. Helped author and signed the Constitution. Associate Justice of the First Supreme Court.
Francis Marion - The Swamp Fox. Helped General Greene win the war in the South by harassing the British with guerrilla warfare.
Marquis de Lafayette - Frenchman who volunteered to serve in the war. Distinguished himself in Battle and became an adopted son of Washington. Bonus points for going back to France and starting another Revolution.
Baron von Steuben - Prussian General who wrote the book (literally) on how to be an American soldier. Also taught the troops basic cleanliness to cut down on diseases.
Joseph Warren - Early rebel who wrote the Suffolk Resolves. Appointed General but served on the front lines at Bunker Hill. 'I hope I shall die up to my knees in blood!’
Aaron Burr - Yes he shot Hamilton, but he was also the Third Vice President. You don't get to that position without some pretty Revolutionary street cred.
Charles Thomson - Secretary of the Continental Congress (AKA doing all the actual labor) for the entire Revolution.
George Wythe - Teacher of many younger Founders. Signed the Declaration and Constitution.
Rufus King - Signed the Constitution. First Senator from New York. Minister to Britain. Last Federalist candidate for President before the party collapsed.
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney - General who declined to be in the First Cabinet. Signed the Constitution. Minister to France. Federalist Presidential Candidate.
Nicholas Gilman - Continental Officer through the entire war, signed the Constitution, inaugural US Congressman and longtime Senator.
George Clinton - Governor of New York throughout the Founding Period. Leading Anti-Federalist. Fourth Vice President.
John Paul Jones - most successful Naval Officer for the Continentals. Brought the war to England.
William Samuel Johnson - Attended the Stamp Act Congress, sailed to London in an effort to prevent war and signed the Constitution. Represented Vermont in Congress before it was a State.
John Langdon - General at Saratoga, Governor of New Hampshire, signer of the Constitution.
Henry Knox - Commanded artillery during the Revolution. First Secretary of War.
Horatio Gates - Spent most of the war as number two to Washington. Celebrated in his own time but less so today.
Benedict Arnold - Yeah he was a traitor, but he's the reason America was successful in the first half of the war, sending him way up this list.
Henry Laurens - South Carolina leader who served as President of the Continental Congress for a time. Only American ever imprisoned in the Tower of London. Present for the signing of the Treaty of Paris.
Richard Henry Lee - Another Virginia leader. Proposed the colonies 'are, and of right ought to be, free and independent State.’. This led directly to independence.
John Sullivan - General who led an expedition against Native American in Upstate New York. Member of the First Continental Congress and twice Governor of New Hampshire.
George Mason - One of the most respected Virginians who wrote the State Constitution and Bill of Rights. Attended the Constitutional Convention but left without signing and actively campaigned against ratification.
Thomas Paine - Author whose work swayed the colonists in favor of Independence and built moral within the Continental Army. 'These are the times that try men’s souls.’
Robert Livingston - Early supporter of Independence. Chancellor of New York for most of the Revolution. Made Louisiana Purchase with Monroe.
Henry Dearborn - Wrote historically important diary during war service. Secretary of War for the entire duration of the Jefferson Administration. Senior Officer in the Army during the War of 1812.
William Moultrie - Won an important early battle which gave the Continental Army confidence. Basically created South Carolina’s identity.
John Rutledge - Attended the Stamp Act Congress, signed the Continental Association and Constitution, First Governor of South Carolina, Second Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Lord Sterling - Major General who fought bravely with the men, trusted by Washington to stand in as Commander in Chief while George was meeting with Congress.
Daniel Morgan - General at Cowpens, the only historically unique military strategy devised during the war.
James Otis - Coined the term 'no taxation without representation’ and attended the Stamp Act Congress. Lost his marbles and therefore plummeted down this list.
Benjamin Tallmadge - Washington's head of intelligence. Most notably the spymaster of the Culper Ring.
Bushrod Washington - Long time Supreme Court Justice during the Marshall Court.
Caesar Rodney - Rode through the night in a thunderstorm to vote in favor of the Declaration, without whom the resolution would not have passed. Governor of Delaware.
Thomas Mifflin - First aide de camp to Washington, Quartermaster General, President of the Continental Congress, Governor of Pennsylvania, signer of the Constitution.
Philip Schuyler - Major General, Served in the Continental Congress, First Senator from New York.
Benjamin Rush - Doctor for the Founders. Signed the Declaration. Changed the way medicine is studied.
Christopher Gadsden - The Sam Adams of the South. Attended the Stamp Act Congress and the Continental Congress. Created the yellow 'Don't tread on me’ flag we see everywhere today.
Timothy Pickering - Postmaster General, Secretary of War, Secretary of State. Treated with the Iroquois.
Albert Gallatin - Secretary of the Treasury through Jefferson and into Madison Administrations.
Oliver Ellsworth - Signed the Declaration, Third Chief Justice of the United States, Major General during the war, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Governor of Connecticut.
Robert Howe - First General of the Southern Department, led failed invasion of Florida, ran West Point, suppressed mutinies.
Francis Dana - Helped Washington organize the Continental Army, met with Catherine the Great as first Minister to Russia.
Tench Coxe - The Father of the American Economy. Created most of the financial plan which Alexander Hamilton receives credit for.
George Read - Signed the Continental Association, the Articles of Confederation and Constitution.
Mercy Otis Warren - Trailblazing female author. Promoted independence, published under her real name and became a leading Anti-Federalist.
William Whipple - Declaration signer and General at Saratoga. Planted a Liberty Tree which still stands.
Jonathan Trumbull - Governor of Connecticut. Only Royal Governor to side with the colonists and keep his job through the Revolution.
Nathaniel Gorham - Played a leading role at the Constitutional Convention as Chairman of the Committee of the Whole.
Joseph Reed - Signed the Declaration. First President of Pennsylvania.
Esek Hopkins - First Commodore of the Continental Navy.
Robert Hanson Harrison - George Washington's Chief of Staff during the Revolutionary War.
Artemas Ward - First Commander in Chief when hostilities broke out in Boston. An old man who politely resigned his command when Washington was appointed by the Continental Congress.
Oliver Wolcott - Signed the Declaration, major General in the Continental Army, Governor of Connecticut.
Gunning Bedford - Major player in limiting the size of government under the Constitution, which he signed.
Thomas Nelson Jr. - Organized the Yorktown Tea Party, became Governor of Virginia, ordered his house fired on when the British were thought to be inside.
William Livingston - Signer of the Declaration. Governed New Jersey for most of the Founding Period.
Edward Rutledge - Signed the Declaration, Governor of South Carolina.
Richard Montgomery - Led the assault on Montreal and Quebec. Killed in the later and became an early martyr to the Americans.
Edmund Randolph - Governor of Virginia who attended the Constitutional Convention but refused to sign. Became First US Attorney General and Second Secretary of State.
Paul Revere - Famous rider who helped stir up the rebellion in Boston. Underrated for his contribution to the Industrial Revolution.
Edmund Pendleton - Chairman of the Virginia Convention which declared independence as well as it's ratification convention. Leader in State politics throughout the Founding Period.
David Brearley - Chairman of the Committee of Postponed Parts which settled many of the final details of the Constitution.
Charles Lee - Major General in the Revolution. Was a thorn in Washington's side but has major upside this low in the draft.
William Ellery - Signed the Declaration and Articles of Confederation.
Benjamin Harrison - Signed the Declaration and was a Governor of Virginia. His son and great grandson were both Presidents.
Ethan Allen - Won the Battle of Ticonderoga which was the first time the colonists captured a fort.
Robert Treat Paine - Signed the Declaration, prosecuted Boston Massacre soldiers.
Daniel Shays - Led a rebellion for fair treatment of rural citizens. His resistance pushed the movement towards the Constitution.
Daniel Boone - Hardworking frontiersman known more for building Kentucky than his role in the Revolution.
James McHenry - Surgeon in the Army, Secretary of War during Washington and Adams Administrations.
Elizabeth Freeman - Fought for her freedom in court based on the new MA constitution and won, leading to abolish in the North.
Richard Bland - Veteran Revolutionary who was complaining about Britain before it was trendy. Was a leading figure in the House of Burgesses when many Virginian Founders came of age.
Prince Whipple - Slave who fought in the Continental Army, petitioned NH to abolish slavery.
Nathan Hale - America’s first spy. Caught and hung very quickly. 'My only regret is I have but one life to give…’
Alexander McDougall - Pamphleteer, Major General in the Continental Army, Secretary of the Marine.
Peyton Randolph - President of the First Continental Congress. Passed away before Independence.
Stephen Hopkins - Put aside political differences within Rhode Island to focus on the Revolution. Signed the Declaration. 'My hand trembles but my heart does not.’
Ebenezer Hazard - Postmaster General throughout the Revolutionary War.
Hercules Mulligan - Early rabble-rouser in New York. Spy for the Continental Army.
William Woodford - Brigadier General, won at Great Bridge which was the first American Victory in Virginia.
So, let me know what you think. Who should have been higher? Who was left out?
Here are some other lists of Founders I’ve written in the past:
I was not sure what book to recommend today, so I went with a compilation of biographies about the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
‘Signing Their Lives Away’ is a great book for someone with not a lot of time on their hands. You can pick it up and put it down whenever, no need to read it in order.
Pick up a copy through the Amazon affiliate link below (you’ll support this site, but don’t worry, Amazon pays me while your price stays the same).