Independence Day: Which Founding Fathers Didn’t Attend College?

founding fathers independence day

It’s July 4th! Happy Independence Day, America! Get your grills going and your fireworks ready! It’s a national party day!

As a website devoted to the how’s and why’s of getting into college, we thought we’d focus today’s factoids on the “Founding Fathers” of the good ole U.S. of A.

First, we almost always think of these men as old. Those wigs definitely didn’t help. Powdered white wigs will make anyone look ancient to our modern fashion standards. But did you know many of the Founding Fathers, at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, were a lot younger than 40? The average age of all of the Declaration’s signers was 44!

In fact, many important American Revolution personalities were very young adults. Heads up, college-bound 18-year-olds: the Marquis de Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton’s buddy, and maybe well-known to you, thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda, was just 18 himself. Hamilton, by all accounts, was only 21, and his nemesis Aaron Burr, 20. Not to be forgotten, women such as spy Peggy Shippen was merely 16 and flag-sewing Betsy Ross was 24!

Three Out of Seven

Secondly, three out of seven “key leaders” of the American Revolution didn’t actually graduate from college. Hamilton dropped out of what is now Columbia University. Benjamin Franklin and the leader of the Continental Army and our first President George Washington didn’t even attend university.

Who did graduate? James Madison, John Adams, John Jay, and Thomas Jefferson all held various degrees.

RELATED: Some Facts About The Declaration of Independence

In fact, Thomas Jefferson, who everyone remembers as a President, was prouder of his founding of the University of Virginia. He planned its first curriculum, hired faculty, and designed its campus.

Finally, as you spend the day relaxing, remember that this country was created by young people with a dream, and very little else. You young people out there, about to go to college? You’re just like the Founding Fathers. Maybe you have a bit more in the way of supplies as you move in to your dorms this fall! But take a page from our nation’s history. Make your mark.

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