are persons instrumental not only in the establishment (founding) of a political institution, but also in the origination of the idea of the institution. It is applied especially to those men involved with the creation and early development of the United States of America
, such as the signers of its Declaration of Independence
and the framers of its Constitution
, in which case it refers to such individuals as George Washington
, James Madison
, Thomas Jefferson
and Benjamin Franklin
. But it can be applied to other countries as well.
The ideas of the Founding Fathers of the United States were heavily influenced by the European Enlightenment.
The term has been denigrated by some as being sexist, though its use is accurate. The reality that it refers to was sexist—the groups of people it has been used to refer to have been all male. The politically correct "Founder" has recently been suggested as an alternative. However, the alternate word does not capture the full meaning, and unintentionally demeans the achievements of the Founding Fathers.
Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet[?], Konrad Adenauer, Alcide De Gasperi[?], Paul-Henri Spaak and Altiero Spinelli[?] have been referred to as the founding fathers of the European Union.
See also: Father of the Nation
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