Monday, July 8, 2013

Writings of our Founding Fathers

As genealogists, we all know how important it is to find the writings of our ancestors--whether they be personal letters, diaries, published essays and so on.  Now imagine one of those ancestors--and their writings--had a national and even revolutionary impact in their lifetimes and on history. And imagine the personal, social, and intimate insights that we learn from our ancestors.

Thanks to Dick Eastman, I've learned of a relatively new website called "Founders Online".   It's a treasure trove of great documents written by the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton and many others. You may of heard of these guys--the ones who wrote the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and staged a little revolution way back when.  

Founders Online, at, has digitalized more than 119,000 documents and letters written by our Founding Fathers. Yes, more than 119,000. More than 30,000 attributed just to George Washington. Yes, 30,000 and then some!! Is there enough time to read them all? Sadly, no, unless you are incredibly obsessive and determined. :)

There is just one woman I've found in the site: Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams--and it's not just her letters to John Adams that are included.  She was a prolific writer of letters throughout her lifetime, expressing her attitudes that range from running the family farm to expressing opinions about the revolution and politics.  Even though she did not have the equivalent of a high school education, she read and edited her husband's legal briefs before he submitted them to court. And she wisely foretold of a women's revolution, should the men refuse to consider women's rights and role in the new democracy. Her letters alone provide wonderful insights of an 18th century woman.

 So, if you're in the mood to extend the 4th of July holiday, or just interested in American history, check out the site:


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