Founding Fathers Were Surprisedly Young When Signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776

On July 4th, 1776, the Founding Fathers of the United States signed the Declaration of Independence, a document that declared the colonies’ independence from Great Britain and established the United States as a free and independent nation. But just how old were these men who played such a crucial role in shaping the nation’s history?

The oldest signer of the Declaration of Independence was Benjamin Franklin, who was 70 years old at the time. Despite his advanced age, Franklin was still a highly influential figure in the colonies, known for his scientific discoveries, writings, and political activism. He was a member of the Continental Congress and played a key role in drafting the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams, who would go on to become the second President of the United States, was the second oldest signer at the age of 40. Adams was a highly educated lawyer and political theorist who played a significant role in the American Revolution. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress and served as a key negotiator in the peace treaty that ended the Revolutionary War.

Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, was just 33 years old when he signed the document. Jefferson was a highly talented and well-educated man who had a keen interest in science, literature, and politics. He was a member of the Continental Congress and served as the Governor of Virginia before becoming the third President of the United States.

Other notable founders include James Monroe (21), Alexander Hamilton (21), and George Washington (44), who would go on to become the first President of the United States. John Hancock, famously known for being the first to sign the Declaration was 39.

Here’s everyone who was younger than 30 on July 4, 1776, including a few signers of the nation-changing document:

Andrew Jackson, 9
(Major) Thomas Young, 12
Deborah Sampson, 15
James Armistead, 15
Sybil Ludington, 15
Joseph Plumb Martin, 15
Peter Salem, 16
Peggy Shippen, 16
Marquis de Lafayette, 18
James Monroe, 18
Charles Pinckney, 18
Henry Lee III, 20
Gilbert Stuart, 20
John Trumbull, 20
Aaron Burr, 20
John Marshall, 20
Nathan Hale, 21
Banastre Tarleton, 21
John Laurens, 21
Benjamin Tallmadge, 22
Robert Townsend, 22
George Rogers Clark, 23
David Humphreys, 23
Gouveneur Morris, 24
Betsy Ross, 24
William Washington, 24
James Madison, 25
Henry Knox, 25
John Andre, 26
Thomas Lynch, Jr., 26
Edward Rutledge, 26
Abraham Woodhull, 26
Isaiah Thomas, 27
George Walton, 27
John Paul Jones, 28
Bernardo de Galvez, 29
Thomas Heyward, Jr., 29
Robert R. Livingston, 29

It’s important to remember that these figures, who are now considered some of the most important figures in American history, were not much older than many of us are today when they signed the Declaration of Independence, in fact, some of them were much younger. They were young men who were willing to risk everything to fight for what they believed in and create a new nation based on the principles of liberty and justice for all.

Their bravery and determination to create a better future for themselves and future generations has left a lasting legacy that continues to inspire people around the world today.


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