Daughter of a New England parson, wife of John Adams, she is one of the most influential American woman of her time, both socially and politically. Her letters to her husband paint a vivid picture of the era, and are filled with insightful comments on politics and government
Born to a modest family of Massachusetts farmers, John Adams chooses to practice law. By 1776, Adams is a veteran member of the First and Second Continental Congresses, and a leading advocate of independence from England. During the Revolution, Adams serves as a diplomat in Europe, but finds time to write the pathbreaking Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. He becomes the first American minister to Great Britain, the first Vice President of the United States, and its second President.
A true revolutionary and a radical propagandist, Adams serves for nine years in the Massachusetts legislature, during which time he helps organize the Sons of Liberty, the Boston Tea Party, and other demonstrations against British rule. Though not a great orator, he is an earnest and shrewd champion of colonists' rights.
GEN. JOHN BURGOYNE
A gambler, playboy and sophisticate, British General John Burgoyne moves in the best social circles of London. Deeply ambitious, his dream is to return to England as the conqueror of the American rebels. The battle of Saratoga dashes that hope
Born to poverty in Boston, Franklin rises from a printshop apprenticeship to a career as a skillful politician and diplomat. He wins international fame as a scientist, inventor, and writer and comes to exemplify the self-made man. Slow to side with American patriots in the years before the Revolution, in time he becomes a full-fledged rebel
A slave in Rhode Island, he runs away from his loyalist master in 1777 and serves with the Continental army as a teamster. Eight months later, Grant is reclaimed into slavery.
A brilliant and opinionated student from the British West Indies, Hamilton is a leading pamphleteer for the American cause while still in his teens. After the war, Hamilton becomes one of the leading advocates for the federalist cause and along with James Madison and John Jay, an author of the Federalist Papers.
The pre-war speeches in the House of Burgesses establish Henry as one of the leading voices of the patriot cause, and he will ultimately serve five years as Virginia's governor. But his antifederalist stance in the years after the war prevent him from ever achieving a national leadership role.
The son of a Virginia planter, Thomas Jefferson grows up groomed for social and political leadership. As a young man, he becomes a leading member of the Virginia bar, and, in 1775, a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress. His skill with the pen wins him the assignment for drafting the Declaration of Independence. His many other talents and skills serve him well through a lifetime of intellectual pursuit and public service, including two terms as president.
MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE
Orphaned at an early age, Lafayette inherits considerable wealth and becomes a rising member of the French nobility. Fired with enthusiasm for the American cause, he receives a commission from the Continental Army and leads his men skillfully in battle. Returning to France in 1779, he helps to persuade King Louis XVI to fully commit French support to the American cause
A shy, retiring figure, Madison becomes a central character in national politics in 1787, with the Constitutional Convention. He is the principal architect of the Virginia Plan, which will serve as the basis for the federal constitution passed by theconvention
JOSEPH PLUMB MARTIN
An American soldier from Connecticut who enlists at the age of 16, and serves in Washington's Continental Army for most of the war. Martin's diary is a priceless source