Biographies

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A

  • John AdamsSigner of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat, second President
  • Samuel AdamsBoston revolutionary leader, signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • Benedict ArnoldTalented Continental Army general who defected to the British

B

  • John BurgoyneBritish playwright, politician; general who lost the Battles of Saratoga
  • Aaron BurrContinental Army officer, lawyer, Vice President; killed Hamilton in a duel

C

D

  • John DickinsonLawyer, politician, writer, signer of the Declaration of Independence

F

  • Benjamin FranklinPhiladelphia printer, writer, scientist, inventor, diplomat to France

G

  • Thomas GageBritish general, Royal Governor of MA, ordered troops to Concord
  • King George IIIKing of Great Britain in 1760, at age 22, until 1820
  • George GermainBritish lord; American Secretary, 1775—82
  • Nathanael GreeneContinental Army general; key to winning the war in the South

H

  • Alexander HamiltonWashington’s aide-de-camp, lawyer, Secretary of the Treasury
  • John HancockMerchant, signer of the Declaration of Independence, MA governor
  • Sally HemingsHouse slave of Thomas Jefferson; mother of at least six of his children
  • Patrick HenryLawyer, orator, VA governor
  • William HoweCommander-in-chief of British forces, 1775—78

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.

K

  • Henry KnoxContinental Army general, chief artillery officer, first Secretary of War

L

M

  • James MadisonConstitutionalist, congressman, Secretary of State, fourth President
  • George MasonPolitician, author, political philosopher, Anti-Federalist
  • Daniel MorganMilitia soldier, military tactician, Continental Army general
  • Gouverneur MorrisMerchant, financier; helped draft then stylized the Constitution

N

O

P

R

S

  • Baron von SteubenContinental Army general from Prussia, drilled the troops at Valley Forge
  • Gilbert StuartAmerican painter of quintessential portraits, including George Washington

T

  • John TrumbullAmerican artist, soldier at the Battle of Trenton

V

W

There is a symmetry between the folly of Burgoyne’s march south to Saratoga and that of Cornwallis’s march north to Yorktown. Military historians debate why Burgoyne risked marching south from Fort Edward in the same way that they question why Cornwallis advanced north beyond North Carolina into Virginia. Although Cornwallis had none of the outward vanity of Burgoyne, the two men were similar in that they were both junior generals and neither of them was commander in chief of the British army in America. Both blamed their subsequent failures on rigid orders and insufficient latitude. They both expected to march through predominantly friendly territory. They both ignored the chain of command and went over the heads of their superiors to communicate independently with Lord George Germain. They both allowed their supply lines to become overextended and their forces suffered harassment by enemy militia. They presided over the two most decisive defeats of the American Revolutionary War.

Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy
The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire (2013)