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The Ages of the Founding Fathers

We tend to think of America’s Founding Fathers as all being old men, but some of them were definitely on the young side. Todd Andrlik took the trouble to compile a list of how old various players on both sides of the American Revolution were when the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. While Ben Franklin was 70 and Samuel Adams was 53, George Washington was only 44 and John Adams was just 40. King George Ⅲ was just 38. The youngest signers of the Declaration of Independence appear to have been just 26 years old: Thomas Lynch, Jr. and Edward Rutledge, although the list doesn’t indicate whether or not they actually signed on July 4, 1776 or were among some of the people who added their names later. Still, our perspectives seemed to have been shaped by how these men looked when their portraits were painted years later, not how they looked during the Revolution.

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