Founding Fathers as Entrepreneurs

What do George Washington, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin all have in common?

They are founding fathers of our nation who were entrepreneurs in the way they led, governed, and developed a foundation for how we live today. Have you ever thought about how the founding fathers of our nation, were in the very truest sense of the world, entrepreneurs? These are men who fought to challenge the status quo and to embark upon a journey that would change the lives of billions of our fellow Americans over the last 225+years.

Our nation has a history of entrepreneurs who led not only on the battle field of industry and innovation, but also fought for the rights of us as citizens to have the freedom to become entrepreneurs as well.

american flag-libertyConsider George Washington who went from General of the Colonial Armies during the America Revolution to become the first President of the United States. Washington was a true visionary who through convincing Congress to amend the Articles of Confederation brought the nation to the realization that we needed a full Constitution to represent key tenants of our governmental foundation and that would be the basis for the future guiding document for the history of our country.

James Madison, the fourth President of the United States is credited with being the “Father of the Bill of Rights” which further amended the Constitution and offered necessary additions to govern as the country grew, and expanded its service to its people. A political revolutionary, Madison cofounded the Republican Party, helped start the Federalist Papers, and he led the initiative to finalize the Lousiana Purchase which doubled the nation’s size.

Finally, and probably most well known for being an entrepreneur is Benjamin Franklin. Famous for being a scientist, inventor, author, economist and more, Franklin is widely viewed as one of the earliest true serial entrepreneur in the US. Credited with discovering the reality of electricity, Franklin also invented bifocals, published the Poor Richard’s Almanac and was known across the world for his work as diplomat and inventor of the lighting rod. His passion for innovation and commitment to an altruist approach to all that he created, Franklin was committed to innovation on behalf of human improvement.

How can aspiring entrepreneurs look at the example of our founding fathers and learn about courage, risk tolerance, dedication, and leadership? In a world of constant innovation, new ideas, products/services that are created to make our lives easier, how can we institute the ideology of these men that build the foundation of a country that affords us the opportunity to successful have an idea, launch that idea, and build a business that can continue to make the US a key leader in entrepreneurship in the world. Often much can be learned from those that have gone before us and the idea that there “is nothing new under the sun” reinforces the idea that by looking intently at the past we can truly understand how to be build our future.

So on this day, when we celebrate our independence and as we remember all that makes this nation great, let us not forget the contribution of our founding fathers not only as politicians and leaders, but also as revolutionary entrepreneurs that laid a foundation of freedom, liberty and free market that allows us entrepreneurs of today continue to dream, create, and innovate for a brighter America.

So as a challenge to entrepreneurs I offer a quote from the great Mark Twain:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”


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