America's Forgotten Founders

About the BookAmerica's Forgotten Founders book cover

Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton--while such Founders remain as famous as ever, many other men (and women) who made prodigious contributions to the American Founding are all but forgotten. America's Forgotten Founders corrects this injustice. For the first time ever, top scholars have ranked the most neglected contributors to the American experiment. This unique book profiles the top ten "forgotten Founders," presenting engaging short biographies, handy lists of their major accomplishments, and revealing quotations. Download a copy of the book here. 

Who are the "Forgotten Founders"?

James Wilson 

“James Wilson was a ‘reluctant revolutionary,’ but he played a significant role in the American Revolution and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.” (Forgotten Founders, p. 9)

George Mason

“As an incisive critic and active opponent of the proposed constitution, Mason (along with other articulate Anti-Federalists) defined and drove the debate on certain constitutional issues and features, especially the need for a national bill of rights.” (Forgotten Founders, p. 32)

Gouverneur Morris 

“Gouverneur Morris helped draft the New York Constitution of 1777, and according to James Madison, ‘the finish given to the style and arrangement of the [U.S.] constitution fairly belongs to the pen of Mr. Morris.’” (Forgotten Founders, p. 41)

John Jay

“John Adams recognized that Jay’s effort in support of the Constitution was ‘of more importance than any of the rest, indeed of almost as much weight as all the rest.’” (Forgotten Founders, p. 56)

Roger Sherman

“…Sherman helped craft the compromise whereby membership in the House of Representatives would be proportionally allocated based on state population while states would be represented equally in the Senate…Without this compromise, it is unlikely the Constitution would have been ratified.” (Forgotten Founders, p. 71)

John Marshall

“He established the Supreme Court’s independence as a co-equal branch of government, enunciated and defended the essential principles of the American Union, and taught his contemporaries and posterity alike how to read and understand the United States Constitution – a task that amounted to the completion of the Founding.” (Forgotten Founders, p. 79)

John Dickinson

“Rightly dubbed the ‘Penman of the Revolution,’ no one played a more significant political role during the imperial crisis with Great Britain (1764-1776).” (Forgotten Founders, p. 91)

Thomas Paine

“Nevertheless, Paine deserves recognition as a Founder, not only because his pro-revolutionary rhetoric inspired Patriots throughout the American War for Independence but also because he helped ordinary colonists envision a prosperous American future under republican government.” (Forgotten Founders, p. 103)

Patrick Henry

“Henry became one of America’s most influential Anti-Federalists, arguing that the proposed constitution threatened the states with unchecked national power.” (Forgotten Founders, p. 124)