National American History and Founders Month
As we approach our Nation's 250th anniversary in 2026, there is a clear need to empower Americans to be active citizens through greater understanding of our Nation’s early history, its founders, and the civic duties within the American experience.
The purpose of National American History and Founders Month is to create a tradition of educating and celebrating the founding history of our country for all Americans. Furthermore, while there are holidays celebrating key events, leaders, and groups responsible for creating and shaping our Nation, there is no official recognition or formal commemoration of our Nation’s early history, its founders and its governmental system. This new recognition and focus offers all Americans an occasion to appreciate the struggle to create a new nation, the founders who pioneered how this new nation should be governed, and the civic duties of its citizens.
National American History and Founders Month is proposed to take place every November. This month includes important holidays, such as Election Day, Veterans’ Day, and Thanksgiving, that focus on American civics and history.
The establishment of National American History and Founders Month has been citizen-driven effort led by Dr. Jennifer Burkhart London with the support of many historical and educational organizations.
WHAT WE DO
American History & Founders Features
How much do you know about America's founding and Founding Fathers? These feature articles will educate and entertain you about the people, places, and holidays that we know today.
See where National American History and Founders Month is being celebrated near you.
Presidential Proclamations on NAHFM
States Proclamations on NAHFM
Click to read each state's proclamation.
Improve Your Knowledge
- National Archives
- Founders Online (papers and correspondence of six founding fathers)
- Smithsonian's History Explorer
- "Constitution Annotated" at the Library of Congress
- "Thomas Jefferson's Library" at the Library of Congress
- "John Adams: A Resource Guide" at the Library of Congress
- USCIS Civics Test preparation materials
11/3/20 - National Association of Scholars endorses NAHFM
11/1/20 - Why Our Founding Fathers Matter
Why are the Founding Fathers so important to America? United by the concepts of liberty and self-determination, the Founding Fathers shared a belief in the public good and a duty to promote a common welfare. The period beginning with the onset of the American Revolution in 1775 through 1791 encapsulates the events and people responsible for establishing and shaping our country’s future. The American Revolution (1775-1783) is one of the most defining events in modern history, both as the revolt against Great Britain and as the creation of a self-governing and sovereign nation. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights forever set our nation apart from all others. The electoral system, our three branches of government in the form of an elected President, an elected Congress, and an independent Supreme Court are well-established and sustaining. These have all set an enduring, unique and remarkable precedent that many other nations over the past two centuries have sought to replicate. So, who were these Founders and why do they matter?
John Adams was known for his strong advocacy for American independence, his patriotism and his devotion to the right to counsel and presumption of innocence. As the Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress he emerged as one of its leaders. He was a principle drafter of the Declaration of Independence and its foremost advocate to Congress. He also secured vital government loans and negotiated the peace treaty with Britain following the American Revolution.
Benjamin Franklin, in addition to being regarded as one of the most influential Founders, was a prominent writer, printer, political philosopher, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist statesman and diplomat. He was known as “The First American” for his tireless campaigning for colonial unity. He exemplified the emerging American nation as the first United States ambassador to France.
Alexander Hamilton was a military commander, lawyer, banker economist, statesman and politician. As one of the Founders he was a prominent interpreter and promoter of the U.S. Constitution. As the founder of America’s financial system and first secretary of the treasury, his ideas laid the groundwork for America’s government and finance. He helped ratify the Constitution by authoring 51 of 85 installments of the Federalist Papers, a series of pro-ratification essays that are one of the most influential political science papers in American history and which are still used as one of the most significant references for the interpretation of the Constitution.
John Jay who initially supported reconciliation with England chose independence once the Revolutionary War became inevitable. He was a statesman, diplomat, abolitionist, patriot and negotiator. He was a negotiator of the Treaty of Paris in which Britain recognized America’s independence. He was a co-author of the Federalist Papers along with Hamilton and Madison and writer five of the eighty-five essays. He was the first Chief Justice of the United States. As an abolitionist he signed into law An Act for the gradual Abolition of slavery.
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and was a promoter of democracy, individual rights, and republicanism. He was a diplomat, statesman, lawyer, philosopher and architect who became the third President of the United States. A persuasive orator, Jefferson worked at motivating American colonists to break from Great Britain and form a separate sovereign country. He represented Virginia at the Continental Congress where the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
James Madison is known as the “Father of the Constitution” for his important role in drafting and promoting the Constitution of the United States and the United States Bill of Rights. He was a diplomat, statesman, expansionist, philosopher and co-author of The Federalist Papers. He was one of the organizers of the Constitutional Convention and one of the most influential individuals at the convention as a leader in promoting the ratification of the Constitution. He was the fourth President of the United States.
George Washington was a military general, political leader and statesman. He led the Patriotic army to victory during the Revolutionary War solidifying the colonies’ break from Britain and presided over the Continental Congress which established our federal government. He played a pivotal role in the adoption and ratification of the constitution. Known as “Father of our Country” for his leadership of the nascent country, he established a strong well financed national government. Elected president twice he set the precedent for the office of the president to include the title of “Mr. President” declining any title such as “King” that would suggest absolute rule.
The Founders were not perfect, but their shortcomings do not and should not define them or diminish their greatness and historical significance. They are celebrated for their role in creating the foundation of a nation built on the ideals of freedom, equality, natural and civil rights and pursuit of individual opportunity. They are the reason for our independence, our national identity and our country’s devotion to the higher ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In framing the Declaration of Independence these extraordinary men promoted the interests of ordinary people rather than the dictates of kings, emperors and dictators. The Constitution has provided a resilient document that has guided America through almost 250 years of trials and tribulations and has kept our country strong. Thanks to our Founders, America remains a beacon of hope and opportunity to all people around the world.
11/27/19 - Thanksgiving Message from NAHFM
Giving Thanks and Recognition of A Shared History
At this time of year, Thanksgiving, Native American Heritage Month, and National American History and Founders Month, gives us the opportunity to reflect on our collective history and give thanks for the country in which we live.
The first Thanksgiving dates back to November 1621 when Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians gathered in Plymouth, Massachusetts for a three-day autumn harvest celebration. Many Native nations historically celebrated and gave thanks for abundant harvest seasons. In fact, Thanksgiving’s holiday tradition of gratitude originates from the Native American philosophy of giving without expecting anything in return. The Wampanoags, for example, taught the newcomers about agriculture, fishing, and hunting.
Settlers’ traditions also included days of feasting and giving thanks. Some early English settlers were required by their charter to celebrate the day of their arrival annually as a day of thanksgiving. Over the next several decades, autumn thanksgiving festivals followed the harvest.
In September 1789, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation, designating November 26, 1789 as the first official thanksgiving. In particular, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the successful ratification of the new Constitution. John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanksgiving during their presidencies.
It took many years for Thanksgiving to become the holiday we celebrate today. Since 2008, the day after Thanksgiving is designated Native American Heritage Day. As November shares the commemorations National American History and Founders Month and Native American Heritage Month, we honor our nation’s history, give thanks for our blessings, and have the opportunity to grow as a country for many years to come.
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