David McCullough

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George Washington

George Washington is the central character of 1776. One of the only Founding Fathers who played an active role in fighting in the Revolutionary War, Washington was widely regarded as an intimidating yet charismatic… read analysis of George Washington

General William Howe

Beginning in 1775, General William Howe is the general commander of the British forces in America. Howe comes from a powerful British aristocratic family, and his brother, Admiral Lord Richard Howe, is also an… read analysis of General William Howe

Joseph Reed

Joseph Reed is the personal secretary to George Washington. As a result, he sees a side of Washington’s personality that few people ever do. When Washington is frightened or uncertain about the future of… read analysis of Joseph Reed

General Charles Lee

General Charles Lee is an old friend and fellow general of George Washington. During the early stages of the Revolutionary War, he’s Washington’s second-in-command. However, Lee is headstrong and arrogant, and as 1776 drags… read analysis of General Charles Lee

Nathanael Greene

Nathanael Greene is a young soldier on the American side of the Revolutionary War. He hails from Rhode Island, and grows up teaching himself about reading, writing, and military strategy despite his family’s modest means… read analysis of Nathanael Greene
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Henry Knox

Henry Knox is one of the key commanders on the American side of the Revolutionary War. A Bostonian by birth, Knox joins the American side in 1775 and quickly becomes impressed with George Washington’s charisma… read analysis of Henry Knox

King George III

King George III is the leader of England during the Revolutionary War. Although he was a hugely important figure in the British war effort, he’s a relatively minor character in 1776, appearing only at… read analysis of King George III

General Henry Clinton

Henry Clinton is General William Howe’s second-in-command for the early years of the Revolutionary War. He’s an intelligent, experienced general, although he struggles to prove himself to Howe, failing mission after mission. Clinton begins… read analysis of General Henry Clinton

Admiral Lord Richard Howe

Admiral Lord Richard Howe, the brother of General William Howe, is also an important figure on the British side of the Revolutionary War. He’s tasked with controlling the naval resources of the British offense… read analysis of Admiral Lord Richard Howe
Minor Characters
Lord Sandwich
The First Lord of the Admiralty under King George III.
Edmund Burke
A prominent Scottish politician and intellectual, notable (and, in Britain, controversial) for his support for the American cause during the Revolutionary War.
John Burgoyne
One of the three generals who King George III sends to wage war against the American rebels in 1775.
Duke of Grafton
A Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister who opposes King George III’s decision to send troops to America.
John Dyke Acland
A Member of Parliament who supports King George III’s decision to send troops to America.
George Johnstone
A Member of Parliament who opposes King George III’s decision to send troops to America.
Charles James Fox
A legendary British politician and orator, notable for being the only Member of Parliament to support both the French and the Americans in their revolutionary causes.
Edward Gibbon
A famous British historian, politician, and orator whose most famous work is The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, still one of the greatest works of classical scholarship.
Lord George Germain
A British general and politician who King George III appoints to the British war effort against America.
John Adams
One of the Founding Fathers and the second president of the United States, John Adams is a key figure in the Revolutionary War, but a comparatively minor figure in 1776: he appears mainly in his capacity as a useful ally for George Washington on the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
John Hancock
One of the Founding Fathers, famous for signing the Declaration of Independence in large, flamboyant letters.
Thomas Jefferson
One of the Founding Fathers and the third president of the United States, Jefferson was the principle author of the Declaration of Independence. Like many of the most famous figures in the Revolutionary War, Jefferson is a minor character in 1776.
John Locke
An English philosopher whose political writings had a major influence on Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers.
Katherine Littlefield
The wife of Nathanael Greene.
John Greenwood
A teenage fife player who joins the American forces in the Revolutionary War.
John Washington
The great-grandfather of George Washington and the founder of the Washington family’s plantation in Virginia.
Augustine Washington
The father of George Washington, who died when his son was only eleven years old.
Martha Dandridge Custis / Martha Washington
The wife of George Washington, and later the first “First Lady” of the United States.
Benjamin Franklin
One of the Founding Fathers, Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence and was later a key negotiator with France.
Elizabeth Loring
A Boston Loyalist who, according to rumor, had an adulterous affair with General William Howe.
Crean Brush
A Boston Loyalist who receives permission from the British army to collect valuables from Boston locals in return for worthless certificates from the British crown.
Thomas Paine
One of the Founding Fathers and author of the famous pamphlet, Common Sense, which argued for American independence from the British Empire. Paine is one of the few Founding Fathers who witnesses military action during the Revolutionary War.
Archibald Kennedy
A New York land speculator who built the Kennedy Mansion, a famous house where George Washington stays during his time in New York in the summer of 1776.
General William Alexander / “Lord Stirling”
An important American general, descended from Scottish aristocracy, Stirling plays an especially critical role during the American army’s time in New York. He is captured by the British in Brooklyn but later released in a prisoner exchange.
Thomas Hickey
A Loyalist New Yorker who’s executed for allegedly trying to assassinate George Washington.
Captain James Paterson
A British soldier who meets with George Washington in New York to offer peace terms.
John Sullivan
An American commander who is appointed by George Washington after Nathanael Green becomes dangerously ill.
Major Alexander Scammell
An American soldier who nearly ruins George Washington’s plan to retreat from Brooklyn in secret by misinterpreting one of Washington’s orders.
General Thomas Mifflin
An American commander who nearly ruins George Washington’s plan to retreat from Brooklyn in secret by recalling his troops from the frontlines too early.
Edward Rutledge
One of the Founding Fathers and a member of the Continental Congress.
Mrs. Robert Murray
An American woman who, according to legend, invites General William Howe to tea and delays him from ordering further attacks upon the American troops in New York.
Colonel Thomas Knowlton
An American commander who organizes a counterattack on British troops in New York.
Nathan Hale
An American spy who’s executed for burning New York after the American troops leave. It has been suggested, but never proven, that Hale was working on George Washington’s orders.
Captain William Demont
An American soldier who defects to the British side, bringing with him the plans to Fort Washington.
General Charles Cornwallis
A British commander who replaces Henry Clinton as the second-in-command to General William Howe.
Johann Gottlieb Rall
A Hessian officer whose drunkenness and obliviousness on Christmas Day of 1776 indirectly leads to an American victory in the Battle of Trenton the next day.
Dr. Benjamin Church
The head surgeon for the American troops, who is later revealed to be a British spy.
Lord North
The British Member of Parliament who arranges the hiring of German mercenaries, or Hessians, in the Revolutionary War.
John Wilkes
The Lord Mayor of London.