When most people think of our founding fathers, it is likely that many people think of the men responsible as being primarily old. The stuffy imagery of old men sitting for stiff portraits in powdered wigs very well might come to mind. According to UPI on Sunday, however, a historical author gives us a good reminder that many of our nation's founders were younger than you might think.
Author of "Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News" Todd Andrlik pointed out that many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were under the age of 40 in 1776 while a few early presidents were still twentysomethings or younger (think 9-year-old Andrew Jackson).
Andrlik, who also founded and edits the Journal of the American Revolution, says he was unable to find a good list showing the ages of key participants and decided to compile one himself that lists people ranging from age 9 to 81. A quick glance shows that the youngest signers of the Declaration were Thomas Lynch, Jr. and Edward Rutledge, both 26.
King George III, the target of the signers' grievances, was 38, just a few years older than the minimum age requirement for president in the U.S.
Historian David McCullough echoed the sentiment in a 2005 speech, noting that even though portraits depict old age, many key players in the American Revolution were young.
"It was a young man's -- young woman's -- cause," he said.
He's not wrong; in 1776, Betsy Ross was just 24, while future first lady Abigail Adams was 31.
Andrlik also noted that the average age of the signers was 44, with more than a dozen clocking in at under the age of 35. Something to think about next time you see one of those stuffy portraits.