Founding Fathers

Brief Lives of the Framers of the United States Constitution

Second Edition, Revised

M. E. Bradford

One was a shoemaker, surveyor, lawyer, jurist, lay theologian, and statesman. Two became president, one vice president. Over half were experienced in the legal profession. The majority were well off and, for their time, well educated. And when they came together in Philadelphia in 1787, they produced the framework for the most influential document in the history of the United States.

Yet, says M. E. Bradford, the fifty-five original Framers of the U.S. Constitution didn't view themselves as demigods out to "invent" a country. Instead they tackled the nuts and bolts of constitution building by relying on a shared philosophical legacy inherited from more than 1,000 years of British history and culture.

“As the only concise compilation of these biographies available, this is an invaluable reference work done by a scholar who devoted his life to the study of the founding of the American Constitution.”

—John P. Kaminski, Director, Center for the Study of the American Constitution

In this concise and valuable reference work—the only compilation of biographical sketches for all fifty-five Framers who attended the Philadelphia Convention—Bradford examines the Framer's constitutional theories, their visions for the newly founded union, and their opinions on ratification of the document that would address such paramount issues as national revenue, public debt, currency, removal of trade barriers between the states, and provisions for the common defense.

Delving into the political and philosophical principles of the founders, Bradford illuminates their motives, thoughts, and actions and illustrates how their political decision-making was influenced by religion, education, environment, economic circumstances, and personal background.

About the Author

The late M.E. Bradford was professor of English at the University of Dallas and is the author of numerous books, including Original Intentions: On the Making and Ratification of the United States Constitution and A Better Guide Than Reason: Studies in the American Revolution.