The Big Six - The Leading Founding Fathers

The Big Six - The Leading Founding Fathers

There are certain Founding Fathers whose names are familiar to all Americans.  They are on money.  They have towns, cities and states named for them.  Chances are you've walked down a street named in their honor. These are the Founders that I like to call 'The Big Six.'  They are the most familiar to Americans, though often we are not sure why.

Here, alphabetically (by last name), are the Big Six.


John Adams was the Founding Father who always did the hard work.  From defending the soldiers who committed the Boston Massacre to begging for loans from European countries to being George Washington's following act, he did an unbelievable amount of heavy lifting early in American History.

Interestingly enough, Adams only became part of the Big Six fairly recently.  He is not on any money and there are not many monuments or statues in his honor.  It was really a Big Five until many of his contributions were recognized by writers of history in the late 1990's, culminating with an HBO movie about his life.


BenjaminFranklin was a famous during the Revolutionary Period as he is now.  Perhaps more so.  He was a celebrity before electricity (which he was one of the first scientists to learn about).

Although Franklin did not hold many high ranking positions during the revolution, his influence was great.  When he spoke, people listened.  And that very much included the decision makers of the time.  He is rightfully remembered as one of the Greatest Americans.


Truthfully, Alexander Hamilton's status as one of the Big Six is a bit hard to explain.  Though he was a young war hero in the American Revolution, he was far from the only one.  Furthermore, he really only held one notable position in his lifetime.

It just so happens that one position was First Secretary of the Treasury.  In this office, he left a lasting mark on the financial system of the United States.  Additionally, Hamilton led the Federalist Party.  His team was in control for the first decade of the Constitutional Government and truly established his legacy.  His legendary death in a duel with Aaron Burr cemented his place in the Big Six.


Thomas Jefferson landed in the Big Six as soon as he crafted the Declaration of Independence.  "All men are created equal."  "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

Jefferson led Hamilton's opposition party, the Democratic-Republicans.  He rode this wave all the way to the Presidency where he oversaw the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark Expedition.  He is one of the most recognizable figures of the American Revolution.


James Madison was a little man with a big impact on American History.  Known as the 'Father of the Constitution,' he was perhaps the most important player in the creation of America's current government.  It doesn't hurt that he also helped create the Bill of Rights.

Oh, he was also Fourth President of the United States.  It was during this time he was Commander in Chief during the War of 1812, often considered the last chapter of the American Revolution.


GeorgeWashington has an obvious place among the Big Six.  He not only has a state named after him, but the Capitol itself!  He led the patriots to victory in the Revolution and then was unanimously elected as First President of the United States.

Washington was a legend in his own time.  No one commanded more respect.  He was everything women wanted and everything men wanted to be.  Well, except for his teeth.

Do you think there is someone we left out?  Please let us know in the comments below.

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Further Reading

Here are some books you might enjoy on Amazon:

Who Was The Last Founding Father?

Who Was The Last Founding Father?

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton