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Richard Henry Lee was an American statesman from Virginia who made the motion for independence from Great Britain at the Second Continental Congress.
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Though he supported the 1787 Federal Convention in Philadelphia, he worried that the new Constitution had too much power over the states and lacked a bill of rights. He put forth his arguments in a series of "Letters of a Federal Farmer," which became a textbook for the opposition during the ratification process.
In 1789, with the Constitution ratified, Richard Henry Lee served as senator from Virginia, helping shepherd the passage of the Bill of Rights. In declining health,
he retired from the Senate and public service to his family and the comfort of his home in Chantilly, Virginia. On June 19, 1794, Lee died at the age of 62.
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They are American icons—they're on our dollars and coins, they are the subject of our monuments, and we live our daily lives in the world their ideas helped create. America's "Founding Fathers" include George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and of course, Benjamin Franklin. These men, together with several other key players of their time, structured the American democracy and left a legacy that has shaped the world. But beyond their legends, these men were human beings who led complex and fascinating lives. Learning their stories helps us better understand what made them tick, as well as their influence on our world today.
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