Founding Fathers: Your Favorite/ Least Favorite

In honor of today being July Fourth, which of the founding fathers is your favorite/ least favorite. Feel free to expand on your answer.

Favorite: Thomas Paine. In high school we each had to pick a founding father to write a report about. I luckily got stuck with Paine, and in doing so began a reading of his work (much of which I didn’t fully understand until later).

Least Favorite: Alexander Hamilton.

Favorite: Ben Franklin. He was the man. Not only was he a founding father, but he invented tons of cool things. Also, we’re related.

Favorite: Alexander Hamilton - he made the country actually work. He embodied the American Dream more than any of the other founding fathers. An orphan on the streets of Jamaica to being a founding member of a new Republic. Federalism is a work of pure genius. He had panache.

Least Favorite: John Adams, because he was an unstylish curmudgeon who resented Ben Franklin for being such a ladies man. He tut tutted about Franklin going to parties late at night in France, not realizing that this was where most of the actual work was being done.

Favorite: John Adams, hands down. Adams was a blunt New Englander who was concerned with rightness rather than popularity and who sacrificed years of his life (and marriage) to his fledgling nation. During his presidency, he avoided a potentially disastrous war with England, which saved the country but (in part) lost him re-election. Where’s his monument?

Least favorite: Jefferson. Jefferson wouldn’t soil his hands by politicking, but allowed his cronies to backstab trusting friends.

I am nearly traumatized by the prospect of only picking one favorite, there are so many good ones. I’ll go with Gouverneur Morris, for his efforts on behalf of the enlisted, his key role in the drafting of the Constitution and his long-term vision for a strong unified nation. Plus, his name is Gouverneur, which is pretty fly. I believe he was one of the few diplomats not to abandon his post in Paris during the reign of terror.

It’s hard to pick a “least,” but with apologies to stucco, I am going to say Benjamin Franklin. Not really related to man’s many accomplishments, but I have this horrific vision of spending time with Franklin where he keeps spouting off his aphorisms, like the guy at the party who can’t stop quoting himself. Early to bed, early to rise … OKAY WE GET IT.

Button Gwinnett is one of my favorites, if only for having the best name.

Otherwise I’d pretty much have to name Thomas Jefferson as my favorite, because he just excelled at so much and in such a wide variety of fields.

Can’t really think of a least favorite, so I’ll pick John Adams, because he always seemed to me, to be grumpy.

Adams: Dammit Franklin, you make us sound treasonous!
Franklin**: Treason, eh? Treason is a charge invented by winners as an excuse for hanging the losers.

Adams: As if I don’t have anything better to do than stand here listening to you quote yourself.

Franklin (reproachfully): Oh John, that was a new one!

  • 1776

I’m supposedly related to Alexander Hamilton, so I guess I have to say it’s him.

Outside of that, for both, it’s Jefferson.

Favorite: Thomas Jefferson, hands down. A true renaissance man. Ben Franklin gets an honorable mention for same, plus he was a stud. :stuck_out_tongue:

Least: Alexander Hamilton. He just always struck me as the original Reaganite, trickle down, let 'em eat cake kind of guy.

See previous posters comments. My thoughts exactly.

Ditto, ditto, and ditto. :smiley:

James Madison was pretty cool too – a big nerd with big ideas. But I also like Thomas Jefferson (a philosopher, scientist, and early friend of public libraries) and of course Big Bad Ben Franklin.

Finally, a thread where we can agree on everything:

Most: Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin were two of the most was and skilled men the world has ever seen.

Least: The famous ones are famous for a reason. There were a whole bunch of goobers that signed the Declaration of Independence and helped form the country.

Favorite: Hamilton and Jefferson. The country couldn’t have been properly made without both of these men, one realistic and the other idealistic, and both brilliant.

Least: Elbridge Gerry. About all he added was methods for making sure the government could never accomplish anything. Not to mention inventing gerrymandering.

I’ll pick Hamilton as my favorite. If you haven’t read the excellent Ron Chernow biography I urge you to consider it.

I’ll have to pick James Madison as my least favorite.

I pretty much like them all. But for all his flaws, the one man who was absolutely necessary for the country to come about was George Washington. He was the man who was the revolution and government. He was the country to many people.

There was no other choice regarding the first president - for a very good reason. After a term when he wanted to return to Mount Vernon, Hamilton, Jefferson and Adams could agree on nothing else other than Washington had to stay another term.

In addition to all of that, he refused power when everyone wanted to hand it to him on a royal silver platter. He could have been a dictator, king and emperor all rolled up in one, but he refused it. That is just so amazing to me. Not many men in mankind’s history have walked away from it willingly.

Not sure about the worst, maybe Aaron Burr. That whole emperor of the West thing always made me feel uncomfortable. It made sense, but it made me feel uncomfortable.


Nitpick: The phrase “Founding Fathers” generally refers to the delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Paine was not among them.

Favorite: George Washington! Here was the man who, on so many critical occasions, held things together when they could have easily fallen apart. From keeping the army together, to preventing a coup, to stepping away from power (setting the two-term precedent), to adding his gravitas to the Constitutional Convention, to putting down the Whiskey Rebellion.

Honorable mention for military achievement to Nathaniel Greene, who quietly won the Revolution for us by exhausting Cornwallis’s command in the lead-up to Yorktowne.

Least favorite: Alexander Hamilton. Odd that one with his background should become such an elitist. (I acknowledge and appreciate his contributions to the Republic, but find him personally repulsive.)

And BrainGlutton, don’t be pedantic. It is obvious the OP is using “founding fathers” in its broader sense:

Tough one.

For favorite, my first thought was Ben Franklin, although Jefferson would have been a close second, and Washington was probably more important than either. I’ll stick with Ben, though.

Least favorite. Alexander Hamilton always struck me as the type who favored government control over civil liberties, so for all him competence and success, he rubs me the wrong way. Similarly, I dislike John Adams for the Alien and Sedition Acts that he signed into law.

This is a tough one.

Least favorite, Thomas Jefferson. He neutered the military, wrecked the economy, was a hypocrit of the worst order, and his vision of an America made up of aristocratic farmers was completely wrong.

As for my favorite, I’ve got to go with good old George Washington.

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