Artist

American painter, active in England; 1761—1831.
American painter, principally active in London after 1774; 1738—1815.
American painter; 1751—1801.
French sculptor who sometimes created his works from life-masks; 1741—1828.
American painter, soldier; created first American museum; 1741—1827.
American painter, son of Charles Willson Peale; 1778—1860.
Artisan, Boston revolutionary, militia soldier, foundryman; 1735—1818.
American sculptor; 1756—1833.
American painter of quintessential portraits, including George Washington; 1755—1828.
British-born painter, mainly of portraits, extended the iconography of the Revolution and the Founding Fathers into the 19th century; 1783—1872.

What ultimately convinced Americans that they must revolt in 1776 was not that they were naturally and inevitably republican, for if that were truly the case evolution, not revolution, would have been the eventual solution. Rather it was the pervasive fear that they were not predestined to be a virtuous and egalitarian people that in the last analysis drove them into revolution in 1776. It was this fear and not their confidence in the peculiarity of their character that made them so readily and so remarkably responsive to Thomas Paine’s warning that the time for independence was at hand and that delay would be disastrous. By 1776 it had become increasingly evident that if they were to remain the kind of people they wanted to be they must become free of Britain.

Gordon S. Wood
The Creation of the American Republic, 1776—1787 (1969)