The Info List - American Enlightenment

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The American Enlightenment was a period of intellectual ferment in the thirteen American colonies in the 18th to 19th century, which led to the American Revolution, and the creation of the American Republic. The American Enlightenment was influenced by the 18th-century European Enlightenment and its own native American philosophy. It applied scientific reasoning to politics, science, and religion. It promoted religious tolerance. And, it restored literature, arts, and music as important disciplines worthy of study in colleges. "New-model" American style colleges were founded such as King's College New York (now Columbia University), and the College of Philadelphia (now Penn). Yale College and the College of William & Mary were reformed. A non-denominational moral philosophy replaced theology in many college curricula. Even Puritan colleges such as the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and Harvard University reformed their curricula to include natural philosophy (science), modern astronomy, and mathematics. Among the foremost representatives of the American Enlightenment were presidents of colleges, including Puritan religious leaders Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Clap, and Ezra Stiles, and Anglican moral philosophers Samuel Johnson and William Smith. The leading political thinkers were John Adams, James Madison, Thomas Paine, George Mason, James Wilson, Ethan Allen, and Alexander Hamilton, and polymaths Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Leading scientists included Benjamin Franklin for his work on electricity, William Smith for his organization and observations of the Transit of Venus, Jared Eliot for his work in metallurgy and agriculture, the astronomer David Rittenhouse in astronomy, math, and instruments, Benjamin Rush in medical science, Charles Willson Peale in natural history, and Cadwallader Colden for his work in botany and town sanitation. Colden's daughter, Jane Colden, was the first female botanist working in America. Count Rumford was a leading scientist, especially in the field of heat.


1 Terminology 2 Dates 3 Religious tolerance 4 Intellectual currents 5 Architecture 6 Republicanism 7 European sources 8 Liberalism and republicanism 9 "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" 10 Deism 11 See also 12 References 13 Further reading

13.1 Biographies 13.2 Academic studies 13.3 Historiography 13.4 Primary sources

Terminology[edit] The term "American Enlightenment" was coined in the post-World War II era. It was not used in the eighteenth century when English speakers commonly referred to a process of becoming "enlightened."[1][2] Dates[edit] Various dates for the American Enlightenment have been proposed, including the dates 1750–1820,[3] 1765–1815,[4] and 1688–1815.[5] One more precise start date proposed[6] is the date a collection of Enlightenment books by Colonial Agent Jeremiah Dummer were donated into the library of the small college of Yale at Saybrook Point, Connecticut on or just after October 15, 1714. They were received by a young post-graduate student Samuel Johnson, of Guilford, Connecticut, who studied them. He found that they contradicted all his hard-learned Puritan learning. He wrote that, "All this was like a flood of day to his low state of mind",[7] and that "he found himself like one at once emerging out of the glimmer of twilight into the full sunshine of open day". Two years later in 1716 as a Yale Tutor, Johnson introduced a new curriculum into Yale using the donated Dummer books. He offered what he called "The New Learning",[8] which included the works and ideas of Francis Bacon, John Locke, Isaac Newton, Boyle, Copernicus, and literary works by Shakespeare, Milton, and Addison. Enlightenment ideas were introduced to the colonists and diffused through Puritan educational and religious networks especially through Yale College in 1718.[9] Religious tolerance[edit] Enlightened Founding Fathers, especially Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington, fought for and eventually attained religious freedom for minority denominations. According to the founding fathers, the United States should be a country where peoples of all faiths could live in peace and mutual benefit. James Madison summed up this ideal in 1792 saying, "Conscience is the most sacred of all property."[10] A switch away from established religion to religious tolerance was one of the distinguishing features of the era from 1775 to 1818. The passage of the new Connecticut Constitution on October 5, 1818, overturned the 180-year-old "Standing Order" and The Connecticut Charter of 1662, whose provisions dated back to the founding of the state in 1638 and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut; it has been proposed as a date for the triumph if not the end of the American Enlightenment:).[11] The new constitution guaranteed freedom of religion, and disestablished the Congregational church. Intellectual currents[edit] Between 1714 and 1818 a great intellectual change took place that changed the British Colonies of America from a distant backwater into a leader in the fields of moral philosophy, educational reform, religious revival, industrial technology, science, and, most notably, political philosophy. It saw a consensus on a "pursuit of happiness" based political philosophy. Architecture[edit] After 1780, the Federal-style of American Architecture began to diverge from the Georgian style and became a uniquely American genre; in 1813, the American architect Ithiel Town designed and in 1814–1816 built the first Gothic Style church in North America, Trinity Church on the Green in New Haven, predating the English Gothic revival by a decade. In the fields of literature, poetry, music, and drama some nascent artistic attempts were made, particularly in pre-war Philadelphia, but American (non-popular) culture in these fields was largely imitative of British culture for most of the period and is generally considered not very distinguished. Republicanism[edit] Politically, the age is distinguished by an emphasis upon economic liberty, republicanism and religious tolerance, as clearly expressed in the United States Declaration of Independence. Attempts to reconcile science and religion resulted in a rejection of prophecy, miracle, and revealed religion, resulting in an inclination toward deism among some major political leaders of the age. American republicanism emphasized consent of the governed, riddance of the aristocracy, and fear of corruption. It represented the convergence of classical republicanism and English republicanism (of 17th century Commonwealthmen and 18th century English Country Whigs).[12] J.G.A. Pocock explained the intellectual sources in America:[13]

The Whig canon and the neo-Harringtonians, John Milton, James Harrington and Sidney, Trenchard, Gordon and Bolingbroke, together with the Greek, Roman, and Renaissance masters of the tradition as far as Montesquieu, formed the authoritative literature of this culture; and its values and concepts were those with which we have grown familiar: a civic and patriot ideal in which the personality was founded on property, perfected in citizenship but perpetually threatened by corruption; government figuring paradoxically as the principal source of corruption and operating through such means as patronage, faction, standing armies (opposed to the ideal of the militia); established churches (opposed to the Puritan and deist modes of American religion); and the promotion of a monied interest—though the formulation of this last concept was somewhat hindered by the keen desire for readily available paper credit common in colonies of settlement.

European sources[edit] Sources of the American Enlightenment are many and vary according to time and place. As a result of an extensive book trade with Great Britain, the colonies were well acquainted with European literature almost contemporaneously. Early influences were English writers, including James Harrington, Algernon Sidney, the Viscount Bolingbroke, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon (especially the two's Cato's Letters), and Joseph Addison (whose tragedy Cato was extremely popular). A particularly important English legal writer was Sir William Blackstone, whose Commentaries on the Laws of England served as a major influence on the American Founders and is a key source in the development Anglo-American common law. Although John Locke's Two Treatises of Government has long been cited as a major influence on American thinkers, historians David Lundberg and Henry F. May demonstrate that Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding was far more widely read than were his political Treatises.[14] The Scottish Enlightenment also influenced American thinkers. David Hume's Essays and his History of England were widely read in the colonies,[15] and Hume's political thought had a particular influence on James Madison and the Constitution.[16] Another important Scottish writer was Francis Hutcheson. Hutcheson's ideas of ethics, along with notions of civility and politeness developed by the Earl of Shaftesbury, and Addison and Richard Steele in their Spectator, were a major influence on upper-class American colonists who sought to emulate European manners and learning. By far the most important French sources to the American Enlightenment, however, were Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws and Emer de Vattel's Law of Nations. Both informed early American ideas of government and were major influences on the Constitution. Voltaire's histories were widely read but seldom cited. Rousseau's influence was marginal. Noah Webster used Rousseau's educational ideas of child development to structure his famous Speller. A German influence includes Samuel Pufendorf, whose writings were also commonly cited by American writers. Liberalism and republicanism[edit] Since the 1960s, historians have debated the Enlightenment's role in the American Revolution. Before 1960 the consensus was that liberalism, especially that of John Locke, was paramount; republicanism was largely ignored.[17] The new interpretations were pioneered by J.G.A. Pocock who argued in The Machiavellian Moment (1975) that, at least in the early eighteenth-century, republican ideas were just as important as liberal ones. Pocock's view is now widely accepted.[18] Bernard Bailyn and Gordon Wood pioneered the argument that the Founding Fathers of the United States were more influenced by republicanism than they were by liberalism. Cornell University Professor Isaac Kramnick, on the other hand, argues that Americans have always been highly individualistic and therefore Lockean.[19] In the decades before the American Revolution (1776), the intellectual and political leaders of the colonies studied history intently, looking for guides or models for good (and bad) government. They especially followed the development of republican ideas in England.[20] Pocock explained the intellectual sources in the United States:

The Whig canon and the neo-Harringtonians, John Milton, James Harrington and Sidney, Trenchard, Gordon and Bolingbroke, together with the Greek, Roman, and Renaissance masters of the tradition as far as Montesquieu, formed the authoritative literature of this culture; and its values and concepts were those with which we have grown familiar: a civic and patriot ideal in which the personality was founded on property, perfected in citizenship but perpetually threatened by corruption; government figuring paradoxically as the principal source of corruption and operating through such means as patronage, faction, standing armies (opposed to the ideal of the militia), established churches (opposed to the Puritan and deist modes of American religion) and the promotion of a monied interest—though the formulation of this last concept was somewhat hindered by the keen desire for readily available paper credit common in colonies of settlement. A neoclassical politics provided both the ethos of the elites and the rhetoric of the upwardly mobile, and accounts for the singular cultural and intellectual homogeneity of the Founding Fathers and their generation.[21]

The commitment of most Americans to these republican values made inevitable the American Revolution, for Britain was increasingly seen as corrupt and hostile to republicanism, and a threat to the established liberties the Americans enjoyed.[22] Leopold von Ranke, a leading German historian, in 1848 claims that American republicanism played a crucial role in the development of European liberalism:

By abandoning English constitutionalism and creating a new republic based on the rights of the individual, the North Americans introduced a new force in the world. Ideas spread most rapidly when they have found adequate concrete expression. Thus republicanism entered our Romanic/Germanic world... Up to this point, the conviction had prevailed in Europe that monarchy best served the interests of the nation. Now the idea spread that the nation should govern itself. But only after a state had actually been formed on the basis of the theory of representation did the full significance of this idea become clear. All later revolutionary movements have this same goal... This was the complete reversal of a principle. Until then, a king who ruled by the grace of God had been the center around which everything turned. Now the idea emerged that power should come from below... These two principles are like two opposite poles, and it is the conflict between them that determines the course of the modern world. In Europe the conflict between them had not yet taken on concrete form; with the French Revolution it did.[23]

"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"[edit] Many historians[24] find that the origin of this famous phrase derives from Locke's position that "no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions."[25] Others suggest that Jefferson took the phrase from Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England.[26] Others note that William Wollaston's 1722 book The Religion of Nature Delineated describes the "truest definition" of "natural religion" as being "The pursuit of happiness by the practice of reason and truth."[27] The Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was written by George Mason and adopted by the Virginia Convention of Delegates on June 12, 1776, a few days before Jefferson's draft, in part, reads:

That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

The United States Declaration of Independence, which was primarily written by Jefferson, was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The text of the second section of the Declaration of Independence reads:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Deism[edit] Both the Moderate Enlightenment and a Radical or Revolutionary Enlightenment were reactions against the authoritarianism, irrationality, and obscurantism of the established churches. Philosophers such as Voltaire depicted organized Christianity as a tool of tyrants and oppressors and as being used to defend monarchism, it was seen as hostile to the development of reason and the progress of science and incapable of verification. An alternative religion was deism, the philosophical belief in a deity based on reason, rather than religious revelation or dogma. It was a popular perception among the philosophes, who adopted deistic attitudes to varying degrees. Deism greatly influenced the thought of intellectuals and Founding Fathers, including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, perhaps George Washington and, especially, Thomas Jefferson.[28] The most articulate exponent was Thomas Paine, whose The Age of Reason was written in France in the early 1790s, and soon reached the United States. Paine was highly controversial; when Jefferson was attacked for his deism in the 1800 election, Democratic-Republican politicians took pains to distance their candidate from Paine.[29] Unitarianism and Deism were strongly connected, the former being brought to America by Joseph Priestley, the oxygen scientist. Doctor Samuel Johnson called Lord Edward Herbert the "father of English Deism". See also[edit]

Book: Enlightenment

Age of Enlightenment American Revolution Benjamin Franklin Common Sense pamphlet – by Thomas Paine Deism Jefferson Bible Liberal democracy Liberalism Republicanism Secular state Separation of Church and State The Age of Reason – by Thomas Paine Thomas Jefferson George Mason Thomas Paine United States Declaration of Independence


^ Caroline Winterer, American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason, Yale University Press, 2016 ^ Winterer, What Was the American Enlightenment? in The Worlds of American Intellectual History, eds. Joel Isaac, James Kloppenberg, and Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, Oxford University Press, 2016 ^ Ferguson Robert A., The American Enlightenment, 1750–1820, Harvard University Press, 1994 ^ Adrienne Koch, referenced by Woodward, C. Vann, The Comparative Approach to American History, Oxford University Press, 1997 ^ Henry F. May, referenced by Byrne, James M., Religion and the Enlightenment: From Descartes to Kant, Westminster John Knox Press, 1996, p. 50 ^ Olsen,Neil C., Pursuing Happiness: The Organizational Culture of the Continental Congress, Nonagram Publications, ISBN 978-1480065505 ISBN 1480065501, 2013, p. 145 ^ Johnson, Samuel, and Schneider, Herbert, Samuel Johnson, President of King's College; His Career and Writings, editors Herbert and Carol Schneider, New York: Columbia University Press, 1929, Volume 1, p. 7 ^ Johnson and Schneider ^ Joseph J. Ellis, The New England Mind in Transition: Samuel Johnson of Connecticut, 1696–1772, Yale University Press, 1973, Chapter II and p. 45 ^ Bryan-Paul Frost and Jeffrey Sikkenga, History of American political thought (2003) p. 152 ^ Olsen, p. 16 ^ Linda K. Kerber, "The Republican Ideology of the Revolutionary Generation," pp. 474–95 in JSTOR ^ J.G.A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment p. 507 ^ See David Lundberg and Henry F. May, "The Enlightened Reader in America," American Quarterly, vol. 28, no. 2 (1976): 267. ^ See Mark G. Spencer, David Hume and Eighteenth-Century America (2005). ^ See Douglass Adair, "'That Politics May Be Reduced to a Science': David Hume, James Madison, and the Tenth Federalist," Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 20, no. 4 (1957): 343–60; and Mark G. Spencer, "Hume and Madison on Faction," The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., vol. 59, no. 4 (2002): 869–96. ^ See for example, Vernon L. Parrington, Main Currents in American Thought (1927) online at [1] ^ Shalhope (1982) ^ Isaac Kramnick, Ideological Background," in Jack. P. Greene and J. R. Pole, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (1994) ch. 9; Robert E. Shallhope, "Republicanism," ibid ch. 70. ^ Trevor Colbourn, The Lamp of Experience: Whig History and the Intellectual Origins of the American Revolution (1965) online version ^ Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment p. 507 ^ Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967) ^ Adams, Willi Paul (2001). The First American Constitutions: Republican Ideology and the Making of the State Constitutions in the Revolutionary Era. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 128–29.  ^ J. R. Pole, The pursuit of equality in American history (1978) p. 9 ^ Locke, John (1690). Two Treatises of Government (10th edition). Project Gutenberg. Retrieved January 21, 2009.  ^ Paul Sayre, ed., Interpretations of modern legal philosophies (1981) p. 189 ^ James W. Ely, Main themes in the debate over property rights (1997) p. 28 ^ , Sanford, Charles B. The Religious Life of Thomas Jefferson (1987) University of Virginia Press, ISBN 0-8139-1131-1 ^ , Eric Foner, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America (1977) p. 257

Further reading[edit] Biographies[edit]

Aldridge, A. Owen, (1959). Man of Reason: The Life of Thomas Paine. Lippincott. Cunningham, Noble E. In Pursuit of Reason (1988) well-reviewed short biography of Jefferson. Weinberger, Jerry Benjamin Franklin Unmasked: On the Unity of His Moral, Religious, and Political Thought (University Press of Kansas, 2008) ISBN 0-7006-1584-9

Academic studies[edit]

Allen, Brooke Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers (2007) Ivan R Dee, Inc, ISBN 1-56663-751-1 Bailyn, Bernard The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1992) Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-44302-0 Bedini, Silvio A Jefferson and Science (2002) The University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 1-882886-19-4 Cohen, I. Bernard Science and the Founding Fathers: Science in the Political Thought of Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and Madison (1995) WW Norton & Co, ISBN 0-393-03501-8 Dray, Philip Stealing God's Thunder: Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of America (2005) Random House, ISBN 1-4000-6032-X Ellis, Joseph. "Habits of Mind and an American Enlightenment," American Quarterly Vol. 28, No. 2, Special Issue: An American Enlightenment (Summer, 1976), pp. 150–14 in JSTOR Ferguson, Robert A. The American Enlightenment, 1750–1820 (1997) Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-02322-6 Gay, Peter The Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Paganism (1995) W. W. Norton & Company, ISBN 0-393-31302-6; The Enlightenment: The Science of Freedom (1996) W. W. Norton & Company, ISBN 0-393-31366-2 Greeson, Jennifer "American Enlightenment: The New World and Modern Western Thought." American Literary History (2013) online Israel, Jonathan A Revolution of the Mind – Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy (2009) Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-14200-9 Jayne, Allen Jefferson's Declaration of Independence: Origins, Philosophy and Theology (2000) The University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-8131-9003-7; [traces TJ's sources and emphasizes his incorporation of Deist theology into the Declaration.] Koch, Adrienne. "Pragmatic Wisdom and the American Enlightenment," William and Mary Quarterly Vol. 18, No. 3 (Jul., 1961), pp. 313–329 in JSTOR May, Henry F. The Enlightenment in America (1978) Oxford University Press, U.S., ISBN 0-19-502367-6; the standard survey May, Henry F. The Divided Heart: Essays on Protestantism and the Enlightenment in America (Oxford UP 1991) online McDonald, Forrest Novus Ordo Seclorum: Intellectual Origins of the Constitution (1986) University Press of Kansas, ISBN 0-7006-0311-5 Meyer D. H. "The Uniqueness of the American Enlightenment," American Quarterly Vol. 28, No. 2, Special Issue: An American Enlightenment (Summer, 1976), pp. 165–86 in JSTOR Nelson, Craig Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations (2007) Penguin, ISBN 0-14-311238-4 Ralston, Shane "American Enlightenment Thought" (2011), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Reid-Maroney, Nina Philadelphia's Enlightenment, 1740–1800: Kingdom of Christ, Empire of Reason (2000) Richard, C.J. Founders and the Classics: Greece, Rome and the American Enlightenment (1995) Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-31426-3 Sanford, Charles B. The Religious Life of Thomas Jefferson (1987) University of Virginia Press, ISBN 0-8139-1131-1 Sheridan, Eugene R. Jefferson and Religion, preface by Martin Marty, (2001) University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 1-882886-08-9 Staloff, Darren Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson: The Politics of Enlightenment and the American Founding. (2005) Hill & Wang, ISBN 0-8090-7784-1 Winterer, Caroline American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason (2016) Yale University Press, ISBN 0-3001-9257-6 Wood, Gordon S. The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1993) Vintage, ISBN 0-679-73688-3


Caron, Nathalie, and Naomi Wulf. "American Enlightenments: Continuity and Renewal." Journal of American History (2013) 99#4 pp: 1072–91. online Dixon, John M. "Henry F. May and the Revival of the American Enlightenment: Problems and Possibilities for Intellectual and Social History." William & Mary Quarterly (2014) 71#2 pp: 255–80. in JSTOR

Primary sources[edit]

Torre, Jose, ed. Enlightenment in America, 1720–1825 (4 vol. Pickering & Chatto Publishers, 2008) 1360 pages; table of contents online at Pickering & Chatto website Lemay, A. Leo, ed. Franklin: Writings (Library of America, 1987) Jefferson, Thomas. Thomas Jefferson, Political Writings ed by Joyce Appleby and Terence Ball. Cambridge University Press. 1999 online Paine, Thomas. Thomas Paine: Collected Writings. Ed. Eric Foner. Library of America, 1995. ISBN 1-883011-03-5. Smith, James Morton, ed. The Republic of Letters: The Correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, 1776–1826, 3 vols. (1995)

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The Age of Enlightenment


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v t e

Thomas Jefferson

3rd President of the United States (1801–1809) 2nd U.S. Vice President (1797–1801) 1st U.S. Secretary of State (1790–1793) U.S. Minister to France (1785–1789) 2nd Governor of Virginia (1779–1781) Delegate, Second Continental Congress (1775–1776)

Founding documents of the United States

A Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774) Initial draft, Olive Branch Petition (1775) Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms (1775) 1776 Declaration of Independence

Committee of Five authored physical history "All men are created equal" "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" "Consent of the governed"

1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

freedom of religion

French Revolution

Co-author, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789)


Inaugural Address (1801 1805) Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves Louisiana Purchase Lewis and Clark Expedition

Corps of Discovery timeline Empire of Liberty

Red River Expedition Pike Expedition Cumberland Road Embargo Act of 1807

Chesapeake–Leopard affair Non-Intercourse Act of 1809

First Barbary War Native American policy Marbury v. Madison West Point Military Academy State of the Union Addresses (texts 1801 1802 1805) Cabinet Federal judicial appointments

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Early life and career Founder, University of Virginia


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Plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measure of the United States (1790) Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions A Manual of Parliamentary Practice (1801)

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Benjamin Franklin

January 6, 1706 – April 17, 1790 President of Pennsylvania (1785–1788), Ambassador to France (1779–1785) Second Continental Congress (1775–1776)

Founding of the United States

Join, or Die (1754 political cartoon) Albany Plan of Union

Albany Congress

Hutchinson Letters Affair Committee of Secret Correspondence Committee of Five Declaration of Independence Model Treaty

Franco-American alliance Treaty of Amity and Commerce Treaty of Alliance

Staten Island Peace Conference Treaty of Paris, 1783 Delegate, 1787 Constitutional Convention Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly Postmaster General Founding Fathers

Inventions, other events

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111th Infantry Regiment

Junto club American Philosophical Society Library Company of Philadelphia Pennsylvania Hospital Academy and College of Philadelphia

University of Pennsylvania

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Silence Dogood letters (1722) A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain (1725) The Busy-Body letters (1729) Pennsylvania Gazette (1729–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack (1732–1758) The Drinker's Dictionary (1737) "Advice to a Friend on Choosing a Mistress" (1745) "The Speech of Polly Baker" (1747) Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, etc. (1751) Experiments and Observations on Electricity (1751) Birch letters (1755) The Way to Wealth (1758) Pennsylvania Chronicle (1767) Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One (1773) Proposed alliance with the Iroquois (1775) A Letter To A Royal Academy (1781) Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America (1784) The Morals of Chess (1786) An Address to the Public (1789) A Plan for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks (1789) The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1771–90, pub. 1791) Bagatelles and Satires (pub. 1845) Franklin as a journalist


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James Madison

4th President of the United States (1809–1817) 5th U.S. Secretary of State (1801–1809) United States House of Representatives (1789–1797) Congress of the Confederation (1781–1783) Virginia House of Delegates (1776–1779, 1784–1786)

"Father of the Constitution"

Co-wrote, 1776 Virginia Constitution 1786 Annapolis Convention 1787 Constitutional Convention

Virginia Plan Constitution of the United States Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787

The Federalist Papers

written by Madison No. 10 No. 51

Virginia Ratifying Convention United States Bill of Rights

27th amendment

Constitution drafting and ratification timeline Founding Fathers


First inauguration Second inauguration Tecumseh's War

Battle of Tippecanoe

War of 1812

origins Burning of Washington The Octagon House Treaty of Ghent Seven Buildings residence results

Second Barbary War Era of Good Feelings Second Bank of the United States State of the Union Address (1810 1814 1815 1816) Cabinet Federal judiciary appointments

Other noted accomplisments

Co-founder, American Whig Society Supervised the Louisiana Purchase Anti-Administration party Residence Act

Compromise of 1790

Democratic-Republican Party

First Party System republicanism

Library of Congress Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions Report of 1800

Other writings

The Papers of James Madison


Early life and career Belle Grove Plantation, birthplace Montpelier


U.S. House of Representatives election, 1789 1790 1792 1794 U.S. presidential election, 1808 1812

Legacy and popular culture

James Madison Memorial Building James Madison University James Madison College Madison, Wisconsin Madison Square Madison River Madison Street U.S. postage stamps James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation James Madison Freedom of Information Award James Madison Award James Madison Institute A More Perfect Union (1989 film) Liberty's Kids (2002 miniseries) Hamilton (2015 musical)


Age of Enlightenment American Enlightenment Marbury v. Madison National Gazette Paul Jennings Madisonian Model American Philosophical Society The American Museum magazine Virginia dynasty


Dolley Madison (wife) John Payne Todd (stepson) James Madison, Sr. (father) Nelly Conway Madison (mother) William Madison (brother) Ambrose Madison (paternal grandfather) James Madison (cousin) George Madison (paternal second-cousin) Thomas Madison (paternal second-cousin) John Madison (great-grandfather) Lucy Washington (sister-in-law)

← Thomas Jefferson James Monroe →


v t e

John Adams

2nd President of the United States, 1797–1801 1st Vice President of the United States, 1789–1797 U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, 1785–1788 U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, 1782–1788 Delegate, Second Continental Congress, 1775–1778 Delegate, First Continental Congress, 1774

Founding of the United States

Braintree Instructions (1765) Boston Massacre defense Continental Association Novanglus; A History of the Dispute with America, From Its Origin in 1754 to the Present Time (1775) Thoughts on Government (1776) Declaration of Independence

May 15 preamble Committee of Five

Model Treaty

Treaty of Amity and Commerce Treaty of Alliance

Board of War Chairman of the Marine Committee, 1775-1779

Continental Navy

Staten Island Peace Conference

Conference House

Constitution of Massachusetts (1780) Treaty of Paris, 1783


Inauguration Quasi War with France

XYZ Affair Commerce Protection Act United States Marine Corps Convention of 1800

Alien and Sedition Acts

Naturalization Act of 1798

Navy Department Library Treaty of Tellico Treaty of Tripoli Midnight Judges Act

Marbury v. Madison

State of the Union Address (1797 1798 1799 1800) Cabinet Federal judiciary appointments

Other writings

Massachusetts Historical Society holdings

Adams Papers Editorial Project

Life and homes

Early life and education Adams National Historical Park

John Adams Birthplace Family home and John Quincy Adams birthplace Peacefield Presidential Library

Massachusetts Hall, Harvard University Presidents House, Philadelphia Co-founder and second president, American Academy of Arts and Sciences United First Parish Church and gravesite


United States presidential election 1788–1789 1792 1796 1800


Adams House at Harvard University John Adams Building U.S. Postage stamps Adams Memorial

Popular culture

Profiles in Courage (1964 series) American Primitive (1969 play) 1776 (1969 musical 1972 film) The Adams Chronicles (1976 miniseries) Liberty! (1997 documentary series) Liberty's Kids (2002 animated series) John Adams (2001 book 2008 miniseries) Sons of Liberty (2015 miniseries)


"Adams and Liberty" campaign song Adams' personal library American Enlightenment Congress Hall Federalist Party

Federalist Era First Party System republicanism

American Philosophical Society Gazette of the United States The American Museum American Revolution



Abigail Adams

wife Quincy family

Abigail Adams Smith (daughter) John Quincy Adams

son presidency

Charles Adams (son) Thomas Boylston Adams (son) George W. Adams (grandson) Charles Adams Sr. (grandson) John Adams II (grandson) John Q. Adams (great-grandson) Henry Adams (great-grandson) Brooks Adams (great-grandson) John Adams Sr. (father) Susanna Boylston (mother) Elihu Adams (brother) Samuel Adams (second cousin) Louisa Adams

daughter-in-law First Lady

← George Washington Thomas Jefferson →


v t e

Alexander Hamilton

Senior Officer of the United States Army, 1799–1800 1st Secretary of the Treasury, 1789–1795 Delegate, Congress of the Confederation, 1782–1783, 1788–1789

United States founding events

A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress (1774) The Farmer Refuted (1775) Delegate, 1786 Annapolis Convention Delegate, 1787 Constitutional Convention Initiated, main author, The Federalist Papers

written by Hamilton

Founding Father

Secretary of the Treasury

First Bank of the United States Revenue Marine (United States Coast Guard) United States Customs Service Hamiltonian economic program Residence Act

Compromise of 1790

"First Report on the Public Credit", 1790 Funding Act of 1790 "Operations of the Act Laying Duties on Imports", 1790 "Second Report on Public Credit", a.k.a. "Report on a National Bank", 1790 "Report On Manufactures", 1791 Tariff of 1790 Tariff of 1792 Coinage Act of 1792

United States Mint

Whiskey Rebellion Jay Treaty

Military career

New York Provincial Company of Artillery In the Revolutionary War Battles: Harlem Heights White Plains Trenton General Washington's Aide-de-Camp Princeton Brandywine Germantown Monmouth Siege of Yorktown

Other events

Burr–Hamilton duel Founder, Federalist Party

Federalist Era

Founder, Bank of New York Bank of North America Advisor, George Washington's Farewell Address President-General of the Society of the Cincinnati Founder, New-York Evening Post Hamilton–Reynolds sex scandal Rutgers v. Waddington Relationship with slavery

Depictions and memorials

Alexander Hamilton (Fraser statue) Alexander Hamilton (Ceracchi bust) Alexander Hamilton (Conrads statue) Alexander Hamilton (Trumbull portrait) Alexander Hamilton Bridge Alexander Hamilton High School (Los Angeles) Fort Hamilton Hamilton Grange National Memorial Hamilton Hall (Columbia University) Hamilton Hall (Salem, Massachusetts) Hamilton Heights, Manhattan Hamilton, Ohio Hamilton-Oneida Academy Postage stamps Trinity Church Cemetery United States ten-dollar bill

Media and popular culture

Hamilton (2015 musical) Hamilton (1917 play) Alexander Hamilton (1931 film) Liberty! (1997 documentary series) Liberty's Kids (2002 animated series) John Adams (2008 miniseries)


Age of Enlightenment American Enlightenment American Philosophical Society Liberty Hall (New Jersey) New York Manumission Society

African Free School

"American System" economic plan

American School

American Revolution



Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton

wife Schuyler family

Philip Hamilton (oldest son) Angelica Hamilton (daughter) Alexander Hamilton Jr. (son) James Alexander Hamilton (son) John Church Hamilton (son) William S. Hamilton (son) Eliza Hamilton Holly (daughter) Philip Hamilton (youngest son) Schuyler Hamilton (grandson) Alexander Hamilton Jr. (grandson) Allan McLane Hamilton (grandson) Robert Ray Hamilton (great-grandson)

v t e

George Mason

United States Founding events

Drafted, 1769 Virginia Association resolutions Primary author, 1774 Fairfax Resolves Primary author, 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights

"All men are created equal" Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness Freedom of the press Freedom of religion Consent of the governed Baseless search and seizure Cruel and unusual punishment Speedy trial

1776 Virginia Constitution 1785 Mount Vernon Conference 1787 Constitutional Convention Virginia Ratifying Convention Co-father, United States Bill of Rights


Founding Father

Writings inspired

1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (France) 1789 United States Bill of Rights


Chopawamsic plantation Gunston Hall On slavery Ohio Company


George Mason Memorial George Mason University

George Mason Stadium

George Mason Memorial Bridge George Mason High School 18-cent postage stamp


Age of Enlightenment American Enlightenment American Revolution


Wilson v. Mason Hollin Hall Woodbridge plantation Mason's Island


George Mason V (son) William Mason (son) Thomson Mason (son) John Mason (son) Thomas Mason (son) George Mason III (father) Thomson Mason (brother) George Mason II (grandfather)

v t e

American Revolutionary War

Origins of the American Revolution


American Enlightenment John Locke Colonial history Liberalism Republicanism Freedom of religion Rights of Englishmen Common Sense Spirit of '76 "All men are created equal" "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" "Consent of the governed"


Pitt–Newcastle ministry Bute ministry Grenville ministry First Rockingham ministry Chatham ministry Grafton ministry North ministry Second Rockingham ministry Shelburne ministry Fox–North coalition Loyalists Black Loyalist

Related British Acts of Parliament

Navigation Iron Molasses Royal Proclamation of 1763 Sugar Currency Quartering Stamp Declaratory Townshend Tea Quebec Intolerable Conciliatory Resolution Restraining Proclamation of Rebellion Prohibitory


Stamp Act Congress Declaration of Rights and Grievances Virginia Association Sons of Liberty Patriots Committees of correspondence Committees of safety Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania Massachusetts Circular Letter First Continental Congress Continental Association Minutemen Second Continental Congress Olive Branch Petition Declaration of Independence Articles of Confederation


French and Indian War Treaty of Paris (1763) Boston Massacre Gaspee Affair Hutchinson Letters Affair Boston Tea Party Powder Alarm

Combatants Campaigns Theaters Battles Events Colonies


Thirteen Colonies

Continental Congress Army Navy Marines

Kingdom of Great Britain

Parliament British Army Royal Navy German allies

Colonial allies


army navy

Hortalez et Cie

Campaigns and theaters

Boston Canada New York and New Jersey Saratoga Philadelphia Northern Southern Western Yorktown Naval battles

Major battles

Lexington and Concord Boston Capture of Fort Ticonderoga Bunker Hill Quebec Valcour Island Long Island Harlem Heights Fort Washington Trenton Assunpink Creek Princeton Siege of Fort Ticonderoga Bennington Saratoga Brandywine Germantown Monmouth St. Lucia Grenada Stony Point Sullivan Expedition Savannah Gibraltar Cape St. Vincent Charleston Springfield Camden Kings Mountain Cowpens Guilford Court House Lochry's Defeat Yorktown Saintes Cuddalore

Other events

Staten Island Peace Conference "First Salute" Washington's crossing of the Delaware River Conway Cabal Valley Forge Entry of France into war Carlisle Peace Commission Gordon Riots Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1781 Sint Eustatius Newburgh Conspiracy Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783

Related conflicts

Cherokee–American wars Fourth Anglo-Dutch War Second Anglo-Mysore War

Involvement (by  colony or location)

Rebel colonies

Connecticut Delaware Georgia Maryland Massachusetts New Hampshire New Jersey New York North Carolina Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina Virginia

Loyal colonies

East Florida Nova Scotia Quebec West Florida




Arbuthnot Brant Burgoyne Campbell Carleton Clinton Cornwallis Fraser Gage Graves Richard Howe William Howe Knyphausen Rodney


King George III Amherst Barrington Germain North Rockingham Sandwich Shelburne



Washington Alexander Allen Arnold Barry Claghorn Clark Duportail Gates Greene Hamilton Hopkins Jones de Kalb Knox Lafayette Charles Lee Lincoln Mercer Montgomery Nicholson Putnam Rodney St. Clair Schuyler von Steuben Sullivan Ward Wayne


John Adams Samuel Adams Carroll Dickinson Franklin Hancock Hanson Henry Huntington Jay Jefferson Laurens Richard Henry Lee McKean Morris Revere Rush Witherspoon

Colonial allies


Louis XVI Beaumarchais d'Estaing de Grasse de Guichen Luzerne de Rochambeau Suffren Vergennes


Treaty of Paris (1783) Constitutional Convention Constitution Bill of Rights The Federalist Papers Shays' Rebellion Jay Treaty

Related topics Categories

Related topics


Prisoners Society of the Cincinnati The Turtle


Founding Fathers Diplomacy Liberty Tree Yankee Doodle

Other topics

African Americans Timeline Women


Casualties Diplomacy Films Flags Military operations Military personnel Military units and formations Museums Novels Ships Sites

Sister projects


American Revolutionary War at Wiktionary  Source texts at Wikisource

Textbooks at Wikibooks Images and media at the Commons

Quotations at Wikiquote News stories at Wikinews

♦ American Revolution