Biographies

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

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

Monticello was a working plantation, and Jefferson was eager to make it pay. His slaves may have been members of his family, but they were units of production as well. Everywhere on his plantation he sought to eliminate pockets of idleness. If a slave was too old or too sick to work in the fields, he or she was put to tending the vegetable gardens or to cooking in the quarters. When one of his former head men named Nace became ill, Jefferson ordered that he be entirely kept from labour until he recovers; nevertheless, Nace was to spend his days indoors shelling corn or making shoes or baskets. Jefferson was willing to prescribe lighter work for women who were pregnant or raising infant children because they were actually breeding more property; thus, said Jefferson, a child raised every 2 years is of more profit than the crop of the best laboring man. This is one of the times, he said, when providence has made our interest and our duties coincide perfectly.

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