Biographies

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Artists  |  British  |  Colonials  |  Enslaved People  |  French  |  Germans  |  Natives  |  Spanish  |  Others

A

  • Abigail AdamsWife of John Adams, mother of John Quincy Adams
  • John AdamsSigner of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat, second President
  • John Quincy AdamsDiplomat, senator, sixth President, congressman
  • Samuel AdamsBoston revolutionary leader, signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • William Alexander, Lord StirlingContinental Army general — one of Washington’s best
  • Ethan AllenFarmer, businessman, patriot, politician, founder of the state of Vermont
  • John AndréBritish officer, hung for his involvement in Benedict Arnold’s treason
  • Benedict ArnoldTalented Continental Army general who defected to the British

B

C

D

  • Silas DeaneMerchant, Continental congressman, diplomat to France
  • John DickinsonLawyer, politician, writer, signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • Carl von DonopGerman general; died at the Battle of Fort Mercer.

E

  • Ralph EarlAmerican painter, principally of portraits
  • William EllerySigner of the Declaration of Independence from RI
  • comte d’EstaingFrench admiral, unsuccessful against British fleet at Newport

F

  • Benjamin FranklinPhiladelphia printer, writer, scientist, inventor, diplomat to France
  • William FranklinRoyal Governor of NJ, Loyalist, son of Benjamin Franklin

G

  • Thomas GageBritish general, Royal Governor of MA, ordered troops to Concord
  • Horatio GatesContinental Army general, won the Battles of Saratoga
  • King George IIIKing of Great Britain in 1760, at age 22, until 1820
  • George GermainBritish lord; American Secretary, 1775 - 82
  • Elbridge GerrySigner of the Declaration of Independence, vice president under Madison
  • comte de GrasseFrench Admiral, defeated British fleet at Chesapeake Capes
  • Nathanael GreeneContinental Army general; key to winning the war in the South

H

I

  • Ralph IzardFinancier, Continental congressman, U.S. senator

J

  • John JayLawyer, diplomat, Continental congressman, first Chief Justice
  • Thomas JeffersonLawyer, polymath, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, third President
  • John Paul JonesNaval commander for the U.S.
  • Ona JudgePersonal attendant to Martha Washington
  • Jupiter (Evans?)Slave of Thomas Jefferson, both born in 1743

K

L

M

  • James MadisonConstitutionalist, congressman, Secretary of State, fourth President
  • John MarshallSoldier, lawyer, politician, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
  • George MasonPolitician, author, political philosopher, Anti-Federalist
  • James MonroeSoldier, lawyer, VA governor, diplomat, fifth President
  • Richard MontgomeryIrish-born Continental Army general, formerly a British officer
  • Daniel MorganMilitia soldier, military tactician, Continental Army general
  • Gouverneur MorrisMerchant, financier; helped draft then stylized the Constitution
  • Robert MorrisSigner of the Declaration of Independence, “Financier of the Revolution”

N

O

P

R

S

  • Philip SchuylerContinental Army general, U.S. Senator for NY
  • Roger ShermanLawyer and politician from CT; signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • Arthur St. ClairContinental Army general, surrendered Fort Ticonderoga to the British
  • Baron von SteubenContinental Army general from Prussia, drilled the troops at Valley Forge
  • Richard StocktonLawyer, signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • Gilbert StuartAmerican painter of quintessential portraits, including George Washington
  • John SullivanContinental Army general, Continental Congress delegate, NH governor
  • Thomas SullyBritish-born painter, mainly of portraits

T

  • Banastre TarletonBritish officer of the cavalry, notorious for his exploits in the South
  • Tench TilghmanAide-de-camp to Washington throughout the Revolutionary War
  • John TrumbullAmerican artist, soldier at the Battle of Trenton

V

W

  • Joseph WarrenBoston doctor, revolutionary, militia general
  • Mercy Otis WarrenPlaywright, historian, sister of James Otis, Jr., wife of James Warren
  • George WashingtonCommander-in-chief of the Continental Army; first President
  • Martha WashingtonWife of George Washington, First Lady; 1731 – 1802
  • Anthony WayneContinental Army general, defeated the British at Stony Point
  • Benjamin WestAmerican-born painter who moved to England in 1763
  • James WilsonLawyer, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Supreme Court justice
  • John WitherspoonCollege of NJ president, signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • George WytheLawyer, teacher, scholar, signer of the Declaration of Independence

[Thomas Jefferson] was undoubtedly complicated. He mingled the loftiest visions with astute backroom politicking. He spared himself nothing and was a compulsive shopper, yet he extolled the simple yeoman farmer who was free from the lures of the marketplace. He hated obsessive money-making, the proliferating banks, and the liberal capitalistic world that emerged in the Northern states in the early nineteenth century, but no one in American did more to bring that about. Although he kept the most tidy and meticulous accounts of his daily transactions, he never added up his profits and losses. He thought public debts were the curse of a healthy state, yet his private debts kept mounting as he borrowed and borrowed again to meet his rising expenditures. He was a sophisticated man of the world who loved no place better than his remote mountaintop home in Virginia. This slaveholding aristocrat ended up becoming the most important apostle for liberty and democracy in American history.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)