As we've taken pains to point out, "Founding Father" is a pretty fluid term. And if we're generously including anyone with an early influence on the founding of America, we have every reason to put Abigail Adams on the list.
Adams is famous for advising her husband to "remember the ladies" as he helped form the United States government. But she went even farther than that, cautioning her husband that they "will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation" [source: American Experience]. Her letters are considered some of the earliest examples of modern feminist writing.
John Adams' wife wasn't just whispering in her husband's ear, however. She was also appointed by the Massachusetts Colony General Court to a panel charged with questioning women who had been accused of Tory sympathies or actions -- the first "political" appointment of a first lady [source: National First Ladies' Library].
Author's Note: 10 Little-known Facts About the Founding Fathers
I'm embarrassed to say that before starting the article, I had no idea what exactly it took for one to get into the elite club of the Founding Fathers. A powdered wig and a signature on some important document? A military background during the Revolution and attendance at some boring meetings? Turns out that both the answer -- and those who we can safely call Founding People -- proved to be a lot more diverse, and interesting.
*Did you guess which document famously begins "We the people ... "? The answer, as you undoubtedly knew, is the Constitution.
- American Experience. "Abigail Adams' 'Remember the Ladies' Letter (1776)." PBS.org. Aug. 26, 2005. (March 6, 2014) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/adams/filmmore/ps_ladies.html
- Caldwell, Carla. "Rare Button Gwinnet signature expected to bring up to $800k." Atlanta Business Chronicle. Dec. 13, 2012. (March 6, 2014) http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/morning_call/2012/12/rare-button-gwinnett-signature-for.html
- Crawford, Alan Pell. "Uncouth, Unheeded." The Wall Street Journal. Sept. 22, 2008. (March 6, 2013) http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB122204297442161385?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB122204297442161385.html
- Deaton, Stan. "Button Gwinnett (1735-1777)." New Georgia Encyclopedia. Jan. 23, 2004. (March 6, 2014) http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/button-gwinnett-1735-1777
- Etter William M. "Wooden Teeth Myth." MountVernon.Org. (March 6, 2014) http://www.mountvernon.org/educational-resources/encyclopedia/wooden-teeth-myth
- Haselby, Sam. "The legend of the 'Founding Fathers'." Boston Globe. July 4, 2010. (March 6, 2014) http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/07/04/the_legend_of_the_founding_fathers/
- Haynes, Lemuel. "Lemuel Haynes Calls for Universal Liberty," excerpted from "Liberty Further Extended." Pearson Education. 2010. (March 6, 2014) http://wps.ablongman.com/long_carson_aal_1/27/6981/1787191.cw/content/index.html
- Jacob, Mark and Benzkofer, Stephan. "10 things you might not know about the Founding Fathers (and Mothers)." Chicago Tribune. July 3, 2011. (March 6, 2014) http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-07-03/opinion/ct-perspec-0703-things-20110703_1_slave-ship-signer-betsy-ross
- Kidd, Thomas. "The Top Five Forgotten Founders." Patheos.org. July 3, 2012. (March 6, 2014) http://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2012/07/the-top-five-forgotten-founders/
- Monticello.org. "Debt." (March 6, 2014) http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/debt
- Mt. Vernon Ladies' Association. "Dentures." MountVernon.org. (March 6, 2014) http://emuseum.mountvernon.org/code/emuseum.asp?style=text¤trecord=1&page=search&profile=objects&searchdesc=dentures&quicksearch=dentures&sessionid=AEFD9519-50A3-455A-A530-98787ED07D31&action=quicksearch&style=single¤trecord=2
- The National Archives. "America's Founding Fathers." The National Archives and U.S. Records Administration. (March 6, 2014) http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_founding_fathers.html
- The National Archives. "Signers of the Declaration of Independence." The National Archives and U.S. Records Administration. (March 6, 2014) http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_signers_gallery_facts.pdf
- National First Ladies' Library. "Abigail Adams." FirstLadies.org. (March 6, 2014) http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=2
- Richards, Phillip M. "Lemuel Haynes (1753-1833)." The Heath Anthology of American Literature. (March 6, 2014) http://college.cengage.com/english/lauter/heath/4e/students/author_pages/eighteenth/haynes_le.html
- The Robinson Library. "Jonathan Dayton." Jan. 29, 2014. (March 6, 2014) http://www.robinsonlibrary.com/america/unitedstates/1783/biography/dayton-j.htm
- Sahr, Robert C. "Consumer Price Index conversion factors 1774 to estimated 2022 to convert to dollars of 2010." Oregon State University. 2010. (March 6, 2014) http://oregonstate.edu/cla/polisci/sites/default/files/faculty-research/sahr/inflation-conversion/pdf/cv2010.pdf
- The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. "George Washington -- The Portrait." (March 6, 2014) http://www.georgewashington.si.edu/portrait/face.html
- United States Senate. "The Expulsion Case of William Blount of Tennessee (1797)." Senate.gov. (March 6, 2014) http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/expulsion_cases/Blount_expulsion.htm
- Vujovich, Dian. "Autograph collectors share their passion for pen strokes of the famous." Palm Beach Daily News. Nov. 7, 2009. (March 12, 2014) http://www.diansfundfreebies.com/other/110709.html
- White House Kids. "Lemuel Haynes." WhiteHouse.Org. (March 6, 2014) http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/kids/dreamteam/lemuelhaynes.html
This might be the most remarkable slave narrative you've never heard about. Learn more about the Black Loyalists at HowStuffWorks.