Many Founding Fathers Were Shockingly Young When The Declaration Of Independence Was Signed In 1776

declaration of independenceBusiness Insider – by Alyson Shontell

How old were the Founding Fathers when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776?

Some were older, like Thomas Jefferson who was 33, John Hancock who was 39, or Benjamin Franklin who was 70. Others were shockingly young — even teenagers. James Monroe, for example, was 18 and Alexander Hamilton was 21.

All Things Liberty compiled a list of the ages of key people during the American Revolution (a period spanning from 1765–1783) when the Declaration of Independence was signed.  

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
  • Alexander Hamilton, 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 

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5 thoughts on “Many Founding Fathers Were Shockingly Young When The Declaration Of Independence Was Signed In 1776

  1. Hardly surprising.

    I believe 40 something was the average life expectancy back in those days.

  2. As shockingly young they might have been …
    These giants among men, had an education
    which allowed them to apply serious thought.
    In other words, critical thinking.
    Which, sadly today, is lacking in many generations.
    since.Those who’ve been through the education
    mill of the public FOOL system, are not taught anything
    which would allow them to think for themselves.
    This is perfectly obvious when one witnesses
    the masses who demand assistance …..
    you know, like free obama phones, free food,
    and what have you….6th and 8th generational
    mindless drones, which leach off of society.
    This is what keeps morons like pelosi, reid,
    rangel, schumer, and others, in power.
    No, sadly the educational dilemma today, is
    producing the “have nots” of the day.
    Have nots with hands stretched out ……
    Unlike the self educated men of days gone by.
    Those who’d take up a challenge, and make
    things happen. Because doing for one’s self
    is the right thing to do.

  3. thats what I was going to say Paraclete…they were not raised on the indoctrination system of what the U.S. calls education…
    Watch the HBO series “deadwood” and you will see how well they were schooled across the atlantic before coming to america. It took me two episodes before I started understanding the beautiful language. Yes,
    I was dumbed down too….changing tho.

  4. Wow! They were that young? Damn, I didn’t know that. News to me. Man, they sure make them look old on TV and in pictures. lol

  5. This is surprising to Americans today because “men” now have a tendency to stretch their childhood until they’re about 30 years old.

    Now — look at the guys in WWII footage on the History Channel. I asked my Mom if kids went to war back then, because they all looked to be about 35-40 years old to me.
    She told me “that’s what an 18 year-old guy looked like back then”. So by at least one account from someone who was around back then, we’re not aging as quickly physically, either.

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