Continental Congress
Trade Exploration Military Political Religious Sent in Tips

The selection of Founding Fathers can greatly affect your success in the game. Some are a lot more useful than others, some in my opinion are worthless or actually have a detrimental effect. Their usefulness depends on which level you are playing at, your geography and your current needs e.g. Are you on an island? Is your military weak? Do you have a cash flow problem?

Generally I go for Political leaders first, as they allow more liberty bells to be generated, which means you get new leaders faster and your colonies become more efficient and can support larger populations.

Then you can pick the best leaders from the remaining categories, the choice will depend mainly on which leaders are available at any time. The better leaders usually don't appear straight away though. Generally the better leaders apply to all Colonies or Units. Here is a table to help you decide:

Top Priority Simon Bolivar, Thomas Jefferson, Pocahontas
Very Useful Francis Drake, John Paul Jones, Thomas Paine, Adam Smith, Peter Stuyvesant, Jan de Witt, Ferdinand Magellan
Depends on Circumstances George Washington, Francisco de Coronado, Henry Hudson
Depends on Player Style Hernan Cortes, Benjamin Franklin, Jakob Fugger, Peter Minuit, Father Jean de Brebeuf, William Brewster, Sieur de la Salle
Marginal Use Paul Revere, Hernando de Soto
Don't Bother Bartolome de Las Casas, William Penn, Juan de Sepulveda