What role did Richard Henry Lee have in the American Revolution so that he was important in history?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794) was one of the famous Lees of Virginia. His great-grandfather was Colonel Richard Lee, one of the colony's earliest settlers; his grandfather and father were also militia colonels. Brother Francis Lightfoot Lee was, like Richard, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was a cousin of American Revolutionary War General Henry "Lighthorse Harry" Lee, who was the father of Confederate Civil War General Robert E. Lee. Richard Henry Lee was one of the founding fathers of the Revolution. Among his most noteworthy achievements:

  • Member of the Continental Congress from 1774–1779, 1784–1785, and 1787.
  • Signer of the Declaration of Independence, 1776.
  • United States Senator from Virginia, 1789-1792.
  • President pro tempore of the Second Congress, 1792.

Lee is probably best remembered for making the original motion to proclaim colonial independence from England during the Second Continental Congress in June 1776. The resolution directly led to the creation of the Declaration of Independence, which Lee signed.