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July 4, 1776

Entrepreneurs Who Made the Revolution

July 4, 1776It’s been 243 years since a group of men in Philadelphia signed the Declaration of Independence and started a revolution. Most of these 56 men were small business owners, lawyers, doctors and farmers; 14 were plantation owners.  These men risked it all: “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”  (This is an update of a blog I ran 5 years ago.)

Here’s a list from the National Archives of the signers and their occupations to remind us that our businesses, our jobs, and our lives can be on the line when freedom is at stake.

Signers Occupation
John Adams (MA) Lawyer
Samuel Adams (MA) Merchant
Josiah Bartlett (NH) Physician
Carter Braxton (VA) Plantation owner, ship owner
Charles Carroll (MD) Merchant, plantation owner
Samuel Chase (MD) Lawyer
Abraham Clark (NJ) Lawyer, surveyor
George Clymer (PA) Merchant
William Ellery (RI) Lawyer, merchant
William Floyd (NJ) Land speculator
Benjamin Franklin (PA) Scientist, printer
Elbridge Gerry (MA) Merchant
Button Gwinnett (GA) Merchant, plantation owner
Lyman Hall (GA) Physician, minister
John Hancock (MA) Merchant
Benjamin Harrison (VA) Plantation owner, farmer
John Hart (NJ) Landowner
Joseph Hewes (NC) Merchant
Thomas Heyward Jr. (SC) Lawyer, plantation owner
William Hooper (NC) Lawyer
Stephen Hopkins (RI) Merchant
Francis Hopkinson (NJ) Lawyer, musician
Samuel Huntington (CT) Lawyer
Thomas Jefferson (VA) Lawyer, plantation owner, scientist
Francis Lightfoot Lee (VA) Plantation owner
Richard Henry Lee (VA) Plantation owner, merchant
Francis Lewis (NY) Merchant
Philip Livingston (NY) Merchant
Thomas Lynch Jr. (SC) Lawyer
Thomas McKean (DE) Lawyer
Arthur Middleton (SC) Plantation owner
Lewis Morris (NY) Plantation owner
Robert Morris (PA) Merchant, land speculator
John Morton (PA) Farmer
Thomas Nelson Jr. (VA) Merchant, plantation owner
William Paca (MD) Lawyer, plantation owner
Robert Treat Paine (MA) Lawyer, scientist
John Penn (NC) Lawyer
George Read (DE) Lawyer
Caesar Rodney (DE) Plantation owner, military officer
George Ross (PA) Lawyer
Dr. Benjamin Rush (PA) Physician
Edward Rutledge (SC) Lawyer, plantation owner
Roger Sherman (CT) Lawyer
James Smith (PA) Lawyer
Richard Stockton (NJ) Lawyer
Thomas Stone (MD) Lawyer
George Taylor (PA) Merchant
Matthew Thornton (NH) Physician
George Walton (GA) Lawyer
William Whipple (NH) Merchant
William Williams (CT) Merchant
James Wilson (PA) Lawyer
John Witherspoon (NJ) Minister
Oliver Wolcott (CT) Lawyer
George Wythe (VA) Lawyer


Some of the signers were very successful in their businesses, while others failed miserably. Many loaned money in support of the American Revolution and were not repaid.  Others had their property destroyed by the British.

All in all, these men made it possible for the American experiment to continue.

Happy 4th to all!