Founding Fathers Fluent in French

Founding Fathers Fluent in French!

Some of the most important and influential Founding Fathers of the United States of America were fluent in French!

  • John Adams – 1st Vice-President of the U.S. (under George Washington); 2nd U.S. President; father of John Quincy Adams
  • Thomas Jefferson – 3rd U.S. President; contributing writer of the Declaration of Independence
  • Benjamin Franklin – famous inventor; drafted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States

These three men—whose lives and works were so crucial to the founding of our country—read, wrote, and spoke la langue française.

Benjamin Franklin, U.S. President
John Adams, statesman and U.S. President
Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

Presidents Also Fluent in French

And several U.S. Presidents (who were not Founding Fathers) were also fluent in French, including:

Founding Fathers Fluent French
President James Monroe. Portrait by Samuel Morse, c. 1819 (co-inventor of the Morse Code!)
Founding Fathers Fluent French
1796 portrait of John Quincy Adams by John Singleton Copley (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of Charles Francis Adams.)
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt
A replica of the original Teddy Bear. NPS
founding fathers fluent French
Original copy of the U.S. Constitution, housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
National Archives, Washington, D.C.