Abraham Baldwin, Georgia

Abraham Baldwin, Georgia

Abraham Baldwin (November 23, 1754 – March 4, 1807) was an American politician, Patriot, and Founding Father from the U.S. state of Georgia. Baldwin was a Georgia representative in the Continental Congress and served in the United States House of Representatives and Senate after the adoption of the Constitution.

 

Baldwin was born at Guilford, Connecticut. He was the second son of a blacksmith who fathered 12 children by two wives. Besides Abraham, several of the family attained distinction in life. His sister Ruth Baldwin married the poet and diplomat Joel Barlow, and his half-brother Henry became an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Their ambitious father went heavily into debt to educate his children.

 

After attending a local village school, Abraham graduated from Yale University in nearby New Haven in 1772. Three years later, he became a minister and tutor at the college. He held that position until 1779, when he served as a chaplain in the Continental Army. Two years later, he declined an offer from Yale for a divinity professorship. Instead of resuming his ministerial or educational duties after the war, he turned to the study of law and in 1783 was admitted to the bar at Fairfield.

 

After Baldwin turned down a prestigious teaching position as professor of divinity at Yale, Georgia governor Lyman Hall persuaded him to accept the responsibility of creating an educational plan for both secondary and higher education in the state. Baldwin strongly believed that education was the key to developing frontier states like Georgia. Once elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in the state legislature, he developed a comprehensive educational plan that ultimately included land grants from the state to fund the establishment of the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, Georgia. Through Baldwin's efforts, UGA became the first state-chartered school in the nation when UGA was incorporated on January 27, 1785. Baldwin served as the first president of the institution during its initial planning phase, from 1785 to 1801. In 1801, Franklin college, UGA's initial college, opened to students with Josiah Meigs succeeding Baldwin as president to oversee the inaugural class of students. The school was architecturally modeled on Baldwin's alma mater, Yale.

 

Within a year, Baldwin moved to Georgia, won legislative approval to practice law, and obtained a land grant in Wilkes County. In 1789 he sat in the assembly and the Continental Congress. Two years later, his father died after a heart attack. He later also sat in the Constitutional Congress and helped in the bringing down of the Articles of Confederation and signed the Constitution which helped shape America into the form of government it has today.

 

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Richard Bassett, Delaware

Richard Bassett, Delaware

Richard Bassett (April 2, 1745 – August 15, 1815) was an American lawyer and politician from Dover, in Kent County, Delaware. He was a veteran of the American Revolution, a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, and a member of the Federalist Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly, as Governor of Delaware, and as U.S. Senator from Delaware.

 

Bassett was born at Bohemia Ferry in Cecil County, Maryland, son of Arnold and Judith Thompson Bassett. His father was a part time tavern owner and farmer, but deserted the family when Bassett was young. Richard married Ann Ennals in 1774 and they had three children, Richard Ennals, Ann (known as Nancy), and Mary. After his first wife’s death he married Betsy Garnett in 1796. They were active members of the Methodist Church, and gave the church much of their time and attention.

 

Fortunately, Bassett’s mother was the great granddaughter and an heiress of Augustine Herrman, the original owner of Bohemia Manor, a massive estate in Cecil County, and her family raised Bassett. Eventually this heritage provided him with inherited wealth and a plantation, Bohemia Manor, in Cecil County, Maryland, and much other property in New Castle County, Delaware.

 

Bassett studied the law under Judge Robert Goldsborough of Dorchester County, Maryland and in 1770 was admitted to the Bar. He moved to Dover, Delaware, then just the court town of Kent County, and began a practice there. By concentrating on agricultural pursuits as well as religious and charitable concerns, he quickly established himself amongst the local gentry and “developed a reputation for hospitality and philanthropy.”

 

Bassett was a reluctant revolutionary, more closely in tune with the approach of George Read than with his neighbors from Kent County: Caesar Rodney and John Haslet. Nevertheless, in 1774 he was elected to the local Boston Relief Committee. When the new government of Delaware was organized, Bassett served on the 1776 Delaware Council of Safety, and was a member of the convention responsible for drafting the Delaware Constitution of 1776, which was adopted September 20, 1776. He was then one of the conservatives elected to Delaware's first Legislative Council, and served for four sessions, from 1776/77 through 1779/80. Subsequently, he was a member of the House of Assembly for the 1780/81 and 1781/82 sessions, and returned to the Legislative Council, for three sessions from 1782/83 through 1784/85. He concluded his state legislative career with a final term in the House of Assembly during the 1786/87 session. He thereby represented Kent County in all but one session of the Delaware General Assembly from independence to the adoption of the U.S. Constitution of 1787.

 

However, Bassett’s most notable contributions during the American Revolution were his efforts to mobilize the state’s military. Some sources credit him with developing the plans for raising and staffing the 1st Delaware Regiment, with his neighbor, John Haslet at its command. Known as the "Delaware Continentals" or "Delaware Blues," they were from the smallest state, but at some 800 men, were the largest battalion in the army. David McCullough in 1776 describes them "turned out in handsome red trimmed blue coats, white waistcoats, buckskin breeches, white woolen stockings, and carrying fine, 'lately imported' English muskets. Raised in early 1776, they went into service in July and August 1776. Bassett also participated in the recruitment of the reserve militia that served in the “Flying Camp” of 1776, and the Dover Light Infantry, led by another neighbor, Thomas Rodney.

 

When the British Army marched through northern New Castle County, on the way to the Battle of Brandywine and the capture of Philadelphia, Bassett “appears to have joined his friend Rodney in the field as a volunteer.” Once the Delaware militia returned home after the British retired from the area, Bassett continued as a part-time soldier, assuming command of the Dover Light Horse, Kent County's militia cavalry unit.

 

Bassett was one of the delegates at the Constitutional Convention. He did not supply much input, but did sign the constitution. Meanwhile, the Delaware Constitution of 1776, was in need of revision, and Bassett once again joined with John Dickinson in leading the convention to draft a revision, which became the Delaware Constitution of 1792. Upon his retirement from the United States Senate in 1793 Bassett began a six-year term as the first Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Delaware. At the time it was a court of general civil jurisdiction and the predecessor of the present Delaware Superior Court. By this time Bassett was formally a member of the Federalist Party, and as such was elected Governor of Delaware in 1799. It was during his time in office that Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours first came to Delaware to begin his gunpowder business.

 

However, it was also during his term that Thomas Jefferson was elected President of the United States, causing great concern for the future of the country among the Federalists. The retiring President John Adams, rushed the Judiciary Act of 1801 through the Federalist 6th Congress, creating a number of new judgeships on the United States circuit courts. Being a staunch Federalist and old political ally, Adams, on his last day in office, February 18, 1801, appointed Bassett to one of the positions, as judge of the Third Circuit. He was one of the so-called "midnight judges." Bassett was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 20, 1801, and received his commission the same day. But the legislation was repealed by the new Jeffersonian 7th Congress, and his tenure ended quickly on July 1, 1802. He never again held public office.

 

In addition to his high profile in government, Bassett was a devout and energetic convert to Methodism. Having met Francis Asbury in 1778 at the home of their mutual friend, Judge Thomas White, Bassett soon had a conversion experience, and for the remainder of his life devoted much of his attention and wealth to the promotion of Methodism. He and Asbury remained lifelong friends. This association caused him to become linked in many people’s minds to the loyalists, as both White and Asbury were viewed to be opposed to the war. But it also led to a strong abolitionist belief, which led him to free his own slaves and advocate the emancipation of others.

 

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Gunning Bedford Jr., Delaware

Gunning Bedford Jr., Delaware

Gunning Bedford, Jr. (1747 - March 30, 1812) was an American lawyer and politician from Wilmington, Delaware, who served as a Continental Congressman from Delaware and as a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787. He is often confused with his cousin, Gunning Bedford, Sr. (1742-1797), an officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolution and Governor of Delaware.

 

Bedford was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the College of New Jersey, (now Princeton University) in 1771. He read law to enter the Bar in 1779, and had a private practice in Delaware from 1779 to 1783. He was elected to the Delaware legislature. In 1784, he was appointed Attorney General and served in that position for five years. He was also a delegate to the Federal Constitutional Convention in 1787, and a Delaware state senator in 1788.

 

Bedford was the most vocal supporter of giving small states equal power in the federal government to large states; his experience in local politics, along with his service in the Continental Congress, taught him much about the political and economic vulnerabilities of states like Delaware. Unlike some other small-state representatives who looked to the creation of a strong central government to protect their interests against more powerful neighbors, Bedford sought to limit the powers of the new government. But when the conflict over representation threatened to wreck the Constitutional Convention, he laid regional interests aside and, for the good of the country, sought to compromise.

 

Concerned primarily with the fate of the small states in a federal union potentially dominated by powerful, populous neighbors, the fiery Bedford warned the delegates at Philadelphia that the small states might have to seek foreign alliances for their own protection. Bedford's threat, "the small ones would find some foreign ally of more honor and good faith, who will take them by the hand and do them justice" was shouted down as treasonous by the other delegates. At first he joined with those who sought merely to amend the Articles of Confederation, believing, as one delegate contended, "there is no middle way between a perfect consolidation of the states into one nation and a mere confederacy of the states. The first is out of the question, and in the latter they must continue if not perfectly yet equally sovereign".

 

But when the idea of drafting a new Constitution was accepted, he supported the New Jersey Plan, a scheme that provided equal representation for the states in the national legislature, a point on which the Delaware legislature had instructed its delegates not to compromise. He called for strong limitations on the powers of the executive branch and recommended measures by which the states could maintain close control over the national legislature and judiciary, including the appointment of federal judges by the state legislatures. Bedford's speeches in support of these ideas led Georgia delegate William Pierce to describe him as a "bold" speaker, with "a very commanding and striking manner;" but "warm and impetuous in his temper and precipitate in his judgement".

 

Realizing as the Convention sessions went on that unyielding adherence to his position would endanger the union, Bedford adopted a more flexible stance. He agreed to sit on the committee that drafted the Great Compromise, which settled the thorny question of representation and made possible the Convention's acceptance of the new plan of government.

 

Bedford was a delegate to Delaware's ratification convention. Thanks to his efforts, along with those of John Dickinson, Richard Bassett, and others, Delaware became the first state to approve the Constitution. He resigned his post as Delaware's attorney general in 1789. Widely respected for his knowledge of the law, Bedford was asked by Delaware's senators and fellow signers George Read and Richard Bassett to review a bill, then under consideration, on the organization of the federal judiciary system. Bedford was now to feel watched.

 

Bedford praised the document, which would become the Judiciary Act of 1789, created by 1 Stat. 73, one of the most important pieces of legislation of the period, as a "noble work;" but expressed some concerns as well. He admitted that the common law of the United States was difficult to define. "Yet", he claimed, "the dignity of America requires that it [a definition] be ascertained, and that where we refer to laws they should be laws of our own country. If the principles of the laws of any other country are good and worthy of adoption, incorporate them into your own". He believed the Constitution's ratification had been the moment of "legal emancipation", declaring that "as the foundation is laid so must the superstructure be built".

 

On September 24, 1789, President George Washington selected Bedford to be the first judge for the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. Two days later, Bedford was confirmed by the United States Senate, and received his commission to the court, a position he held until his death.

 

Bedford never lost educational interest in his local community,. Believing the establishment of schools "is, on all hands, justly acknowledged to be an object of first importance;" he worked for the improvement of education in Wilmington. He was president of the Board of Trustees of Wilmington Academy, and when that institution became Wilmington College, he became its first president. He also served as the first Grand Master of the Delaware Masonic Lodge.

 

He died in Wilmington, Delaware, on March 30, 1812. He is buried at the Masonic Home in Christiana, Delaware.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

John Blair, Virginia

John Blair, Virginia

John Blair, Jr. (October 1731–August 31, 1800) was an American politician, Founding Father, and Patriot.

 

John Blair was one of the best-trained jurists of his day. A famous legal scholar, he avoided the tumult of state politics, preferring to work behind the scenes. But he was devoted to the idea of a permanent union of the newly independent states and loyally supported fellow Virginians James Madison and George Washington at the Constitutional Convention. His greatest contribution as a Founding Father came not in Philadelphia, but later as a judge on the Virginia court of appeals and on the U.S. Supreme Court, where he influenced the interpretation of the Constitution in a number of important decisions. Contemporaries praised Blair for such personal strengths as gentleness and benevolence, and for his ability to penetrate immediately to the heart of a legal question.

 

Born in Williamsburg, Virginia, Blair was a member of a prominent Virginia family. He served as mayor of Williamsburg, Virginia from 1751 to 1752. His father served on the Virginia Council and was for a time acting Royal governor. His granduncle, James Blair, was founder and first president of the College of William and Mary. Blair attended William and Mary, receiving an A.B. in 1754. In 1755 he went to London to study law at the Middle Temple. Returning home to practice law, he was quickly thrust into public life, beginning his public career shortly after the close of the French and Indian War with his election to the seat reserved for the College of William and Mary in the House of Burgesses (1766-70). He went on to become clerk of the Royal Governor's Council, the upper house of the colonial legislature (1770-75).

 

Blair originally joined the moderate wing of the Patriot cause. He opposed Patrick Henry's extremist resolutions in protest of the Stamp Act, but the dissolution of the House of Burgesses by Parliament profoundly altered his views. In response to a series of Parliamentary taxes on the colonies, Blair joined Booker T. Washington and others in 1770 and again in 1774 to draft nonimportation agreements which pledged their supporters to cease importing British goods until the taxes were repealed. In the latter year he reacted to Parliament's passage of the Intolerable Acts by joining those calling for a Continental Congress and pledging support for the people of Boston who were suffering economic hardship because of Parliament's actions.

 

When the Revolution began, Blair became deeply involved in the government of his state. He served as a member of the convention that drew up Virginia's constitution (1776) and held a number of important committee positions, including a seat on the Committee of 28 that framed Virginia's Declaration of Rights and plan of government. He served on the Privy Council, Governor Patrick Henry's major advisory group (1776-78). The legislature elected him to a judgeship in the general court in 1778 and soon thereafter to the post of chief justice. He was named Grand Master of Freemasons in Virginia under the newly organized Grand Lodge of Virginia in 1778. He was also elected to Virginia's high court of chancery (1780), where his colleague was George Wythe, later a fellow delegate to the Constitutional Convention. These judicial appointments automatically made Blair a member of Virginia's first court of appeals. In 1786, the legislature, recognizing Blair's prestige as a jurist, appointed him Thomas Jefferson's successor on a committee revising the laws of Virginia.

 

On September 24, 1789, Blair was nominated by President George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 26, 1789, and received his commission on September 30. Blair resigned on October 25, 1795, and died in Williamsburg, five years later.

 

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William Blount, North Carolina

William Blount, North Carolina

William Blount, (March 26, 1749 (O.S.)/April 6, 1749 (N.S.) – March 21, 1800) was a United States statesman. He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention for North Carolina, the first and only governor of the Southwest Territory, and Democratic-Republican Senator from Tennessee (1796–1797). He played a major role in establishing the state of Tennessee. He was the first U.S. Senator to be expelled from the Senate and the only Senator expelled outside of the Civil War.

 

Blount was born near Windsor, North Carolina in Bertie County into a family of distinguished merchants and planters who owned extensive properties along the banks of the Pamlico River.

 

During the Revolutionary War, Blount accepted appointment as the regimental paymaster for the 3rd North Carolina Regiment. Although a regimental paymaster was not a commissioned officer with command responsibility on the battlefield, Blount served under a warrant on the regimental staff and drew the same pay and allowances as a captain. He also participated in the regiment's march north in the late spring of 1777 when it joined Washington's main army in defense of Philadelphia against Sir William Howe's Royal forces. Blount and his comrades had participated in one of the key battles of the war. By demonstrating Washington's willingness to fight and the Continental Army's recuperative powers, the battle convinced France that the Americans were in the war to the end and directly influenced France's decision to support the Revolution openly.

 

After the battle, Blount returned home to become chief paymaster of state forces and later deputy paymaster general for North Carolina. For the next three years he remained intimately involved in the demanding task of recruiting and reequipping forces to be used in support both of Washington's main army in the north and of separate military operations in defense of the southern tier of states.

 

The fall of Charleston, South Carolina, to British forces under Sir Henry Clinton in May 1780 exposed North Carolina to invasion. The state again faced the difficult task of raising new units, this time to counter a force of British, Hessian, and Loyalist troops under General Charles Cornwallis. Blount not only helped organize these citizen-soldiers but also took to the field with them. His North Carolina unit served under General Horatio Gates, who hastily engaged Cornwallis in a bloody battle at Camden, South Carolina. On August 16 Gates deployed his units – his continentals to the right, the North Carolina and Virginia militia on his left flank – and ordered an advance. The American soldiers were exhausted from weeks of marching and insufficient rations. Furthermore, the militia elements had only recently joined with the regulars, and disciplined teamwork between the two components had not yet been achieved. Such teamwork was especially necessary before hastily assembled militia units could be expected to perform the intricate infantry maneuvers of 18th century linear warfare. While the Continentals easily advanced against the enemy, the militia quickly lost their cohesion in the smoke and confusion, and their lines crumbled before the counterattacking British. Cornwallis then shifted all his forces against the continentals. In less than an hour Gates' army had been lost. This second defeat in the South, the result of inadequate preparations, provided the young Blount a lesson that would stand him in good stead in later years. It also marked the end of Blount's active military career.

 

Blount was appointed Governor of the Territory South of the Ohio River by President George Washington in 1790. Blount governed from the home of William Cobb, Rocky Mount, located in current Piney Flats, Tennessee. After concluding the Treaty of Holston, he announced that the territorial capital would move to newly founded Knoxville. Blount named Knoxville after the first Secretary of War, Henry Knox. After moving to Knoxville, construction began on his mansion, known as Blount Mansion, in 1792. The mansion still stands in downtown Knoxville and is a popular museum.

 

While serving as U.S. Senator, Blount's affairs took a sharp turn for the worse. In 1797 his land speculations in western lands led him into serious financial difficulties. That same year, he apparently concocted a plan to incite the Creek and Cherokee Indians to aid the British in conquering the Spanish territory of West Florida. A letter he wrote alluding to the plan fell into the hands of President John Adams, who turned it over to the Senate on July 3, 1797. Four days later, on July 7, the United States House of Representatives voted to impeach Blount and on July 8 the Senate voted 25 to 1 to expel him from the Senate. The Senate began an impeachment trial on December 17, 1798, but dropped charges two months later on the grounds that no further action could be taken beyond his expulsion. That set an important precedent for the future with regard to the limitations on actions which could be taken by Congress against its members and former members.

 

The episode did not seem to hamper Blount's career in Tennessee. In 1798 he was elected to the Tennessee State Senate and rose to the speakership. He died two years later at Knoxville, where he is buried in the cemetery of the First Presbyterian Church.

 

In 1792, while governor of the Southwest Territory, Blount built the William Blount Mansion in Knoxville. The mansion is a National Historic Landmark.

 

Blount County, Tennessee is named after Blount. Grainger County, Tennessee and Maryville, Tennessee are both named after his wife, Mary Grainger Blount. William Blount High School, William Blount Middle School, and Mary Blount Elementary School are named after Blount and his wife. (Blount County, Alabama is named after his younger half-brother Willie Blount, later governor of Tennessee). Raleigh, North Carolina has a street named after Blount going though the center of its downtown.

 

Blount was the father of William Grainger Blount (1784–1827), Tennessee state representative and U.S. Representative from Tennessee, 1815-1819. He was half-brother of Willie Blount (1767–1835), Governor of Tennessee, 1809-1815. He was brother to Thomas Blount (1759–1812), Revolutionary War veteran and U.S. Representative from North Carolina, 1793-1799, 1805-1809, and 1811-1812.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

David Brearley, New Jersey

David Brearley, New Jersey

David Brearley (often spelled Brearly) (June 11, 1745–August 16, 1790) was a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention and signed the U.S. Constitution on behalf of New Jersey.

 

Born in Spring Grove, New Jersey, he was a graduate of the College of New Jersey, which later became Princeton University. David was 5' 7" tall and weighed 185 lb. He maintained this weight until his retirement, when he gained 20 lb. Upon graduating, he read law and practiced in Allentown, New Jersey and resided in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

 

With the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, Brearley was at first a captain in the Monmouth County militia, and rose to the rank of colonel in Nathaniel Heard's New Jersey militia brigade. From 1776 to 1779 he served in the New Jersey Line of the Continental Army, seeing action at Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth.

 

Brearley resigned from the army in 1779 to serve as the New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice. He decided on the famous Holmes v. Walton case where he ruled that the judiciary had the authority to declare whether laws were unconstitutional or not. He held the seat until 1789.

 

While at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 at the age of 42, he served on the panel that decided how long the President's term should be. After signing the Constitution in 1787, he headed up New Jersey's committee that approved the Constitution omgeeee. In 1789, he was a Presidential elector and on September 25, 1789 he was nominated by President George Washington to be the first federal district judge for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, a new seat created by 1 Stat. 73. He was confirmed by the Senate on September 25, 1789, and received his commission the following day. He died in that office a few months later.

 

Brearley was the first Grand Master of the New Jersey Masonic Lodge. He is buried in the churchyard of Saint Michael's Episcopal Church in Trenton, New Jersey. David Brearley High School in Kenilworth, New Jersey, was named in his honor.

 

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Jacob Broom, Delaware

Jacob Broom, DelawareJacob Broom (October 17, 1752–April 25, 1810) was an American businessman and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, the Annapolis Convention (1786) and served in the Delaware General Assembly. He was the father of Congressman James M. Broom and grandfather of Congressman Jacob Broom.

 

His father was James Broom, a blacksmith turned prosperous farmer, and his mother was Esther Willis, a Quaker. In 1773 he married Rachel Pierce, and together they raised eight children.

 

After receiving his primary education at Wilmington's Old Academy, he became in turn a farmer, surveyor, and finally, a prosperous local businessman. Even as a young man Broom attracted considerable attention in Wilmington's thriving business community, a prominence that propelled him into a political career. He held a variety of local offices, including borough assessor, president of the city's "street regulators;" a group responsible for the care of the street, water, and sewage systems, and justice of the peace for New Castle County. He became assistant burgess (vice-mayor) of Wilmington in 1776 at the age of 24, winning re-election to this post six times over the next few decades. He also served as chief burgess (Mayor) of the city four times. He never lost an election.

 

Although the strong pacifist influence of his Quaker friends and relatives kept him from fighting in the Revolution, Broom was nevertheless a Patriot who contributed to the cause of independence. For example, he put his abilities as a surveyor at the disposal of the Continental Army, preparing detailed maps of the region for General Washington shortly before the Battle of Brandywine. Broom's political horizons expanded after the Revolution when his community sent him as their representative to the state legislature (1784-86 and 1788), which in turn chose him to represent the state at the Annapolis Convention. Like many other delegates, Broom was unable to attend the sessions of the short meeting, but he likely sympathized with the convention's call for political reforms.

 

Despite his lack of involvement in national politics prior to the Constitutional Convention, Broom was a dedicated supporter of strong central government. When George Washington visited Wilmington in 1783, Broom urged him to "contribute your advice and influence to promote that harmony and union of our infant governments which are so essential to the permanent establishment of our freedom, happiness and prosperity."

 

Broom carried these opinions with him to Philadelphia, where he consistently voted for measures that would assure a powerful government responsive to the needs of the states. He favored a nine-year term for members of the Senate, where the states would be equally represented. He wanted the state legislatures to pay their representatives in Congress, which, in turn, would have the power to veto state laws. He also sought to vest state legislatures with the power to select presidential electors, and he wanted the President to hold office for life. Broom faithfully attended the sessions of the Convention in Philadelphia and spoke out several times on issues that he considered crucial, but he left most of the speechmaking to more influential and experienced delegates. Georgia delegate William Pierce described him as "a plain good Man, with some abilities, but nothing to render him conspicuous, silent in public, but cheerful and conversible in private."

 

After the convention, Broom returned to Wilmington, where in 1795 he erected a home near Brandywine Creek on the outskirts of the city. Broom's primary interest remained in local government. In addition to continuing his service in Wilmington's government, he became the city's first postmaster (1790-92).

 

For many years, he chaired the board of directors of Wilmington's Delaware Bank. He also operated a cotton mill, as well as a machine shop that produced and repaired mill machinery. He sold his mill property in 1802 to the DuPonts and it became the center of the DuPont manufacturing empire. Broom was also involved in an unsuccessful scheme to mine bog iron ore. A further interest was internal improvements: toll roads, canals, and bridges. A letter to his son James in 1794 touches upon a number of these pursuits.

 

Broom also found time for philanthropic and religious activities. His long-standing affiliation with the Old Academy led him to become involved in its reorganization into the College of Wilmington, and to serve on the college's first Board of Trustees. Broom was also deeply involved in his community's religious affairs as a lay leader of the Old Swedes Church.

 

He died at the age of 58 in 1810 while in Philadelphia on business and was buried there at Christ Church Burial Ground. His home near the Brandywine, the Jacob Broom House, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

Pierce Butler, South Carolina

Pierce Butler, South Carolina

Pierce Butler (July 11, 1744 - February 15, 1822) was a soldier, planter, and statesman, recognized as one of United States' Founding Fathers. He represented South Carolina in the Continental Congress, the 1787 Constitutional Convention, and the U.S. Senate. Butler defended American slavery for both political and personal motives, though he had private misgivings about the institution, and particularly about the African slave trade. He introduced the Fugitive Slave Clause -- Article 4, Section 2 -- of the U.S. Constitution, but his authorship of this clause has been questioned.

 

He was born in Ireland and came to America in 1758 as an officer in the British Army. Butler represented South Carolina at the Constitutional Convention, was a man of startling contrasts. As late as 1772 he was a ranking officer in those British units charged with suppressing the growing colonial resistance to Parliament. In fact, a detachment from his unit, the 29th Regiment of Foot, had fired the shots in the "Boston Massacre" of 1770, thereby dramatically intensifying the confrontation between the colonies and England. But by 1779 Butler, now an officer in South Carolina's militia and a man with a price on his head, was organizing American forces to fight the invading Redcoats. Butler lost his considerable estates and fortune during the British occupation of South Carolina, but at the end of the Revolutionary War he was among the first to call for reconciliation with the Loyalists and a renewal of friendly relations with the former enemy. Although an aristocrat to the manner born, Butler became a leading spokesman for the frontiersmen and impoverished western settlers. Finally, this Patriot, always a forceful and eloquent advocate of the rights of the common man during the debate over the Constitution, was a large planter and among the political and social elite of the Southern colonies. In 1793 he held 500 enslaved African-Americans, who worked on his plantation at Butler Island and cotton plantation at St. Simons Island.

 

The unifying force in this fascinating career was Butler's strong and enduring sense of nationalism. An Irish nobleman, he severed his ties with the old world to embrace the concept of a permanent union of the thirteen states. His own military and political experiences then led him to the conviction that a strong central government, as the bedrock of political and economic security, was essential to protect the rights not only of his own social class and adopted state but also of all classes of citizens and all the states.

 

Pierce Butler was the third son of Sir Richard Butler, 5th Baronet, a member of the Irish Parliament. Traditionally British gentry directed younger sons into the military or the church, and Butler's father was no exception. In the honored fashion of the times, he bought his son a commission in the 22nd Regiment of Foot. Butler demonstrated both military skill and the advantages of powerful and wealthy parents in his subsequent career in the British Army. His regiment came to North America in 1758 to participate in the French and Indian War and served in the campaigns that resulted in the capture of Canada from the French. Butler later transferred to the 29th Foot (today's Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment), before returning to Ireland in 1762.

 

The overwhelming success of the forces of the British Empire and its allies ended French territorial claims in North America and brought about profound changes in the nature of the mother country's relationship with its American colonies. To occupy Canada and other new lands won during the war, Parliament for the first time ordered the permanent stationing of large British garrisons in North America. Because the government had incurred heavy war debts, Parliament chose to support these troops by levying new taxes on the colonists. Americans generally disagreed with Parliament over the need for the garrisons, arguing that their local militias could handle the defense of the colonies. They also opposed the new taxes that began with the Stamp Act of 1765.

 

Butler's regiment was serving on garrison duty in Nova Scotia at the time, but he could not long escape becoming embroiled in the growing controversy. In 1768 the intensity of protests over Parliament's taxes in Massachusetts led London to order the 29th Foot, along with a second infantry regiment the 14th Regiment of Foot, to Boston to maintain the King's peace. In 1771, the year after the "Massacre," Butler, now a major, married Mary Polly Middleton on January 10. She was the daughter of wealthy South Carolina planter and colonial leader Henry Middleton. Marriage led him to seek new directions, for when the 29th received orders to return to Britain in 1773, he decided to leave the army. He sold his commission and used the proceeds to purchase a plantation in the coastal region of South Carolina, adapting to the lifestyle of a southern landowner with apparent ease. Management skills learned in the military undoubtedly proved useful as he increased his land holdings to over 10,000 acres (40 square km). He also began to accumulate a small fleet of coastal vessels to support his expanding business ventures.

 

When war broke out between Great Britain and the colonies in 1775, Butler joined several other former British officers (including the future generals Horatio Gates, Charles Lee, and Richard Montgomery) in casting his lot with the American cause. In Butler's case the success of his business interests as well as the important role played by the Middleton family in the Patriot movement in South Carolina clearly influenced his decision. Butler's father-in-law had been the president of the First Continental Congress, and a brother-in-law would soon sign the Declaration of Independence. Butler himself lost little time in expressing his patriotic sentiments by standing for local election. He began his public service in 1776 when his neighbors elected him to a seat in the South Carolina legislature, a post that he continued to hold until 1789.

 

Although bad health prevented Butler from assuming an active combat role, he offered his military talents to his state, and in early 1779 Governor John Rutledge turned to the former Redcoat to help reorganize South Carolina's defenses. Butler assumed the post of the state's adjutant general, a position that carried the rank of brigadier general, although he continued to prefer to be addressed as major, his highest combat rank.

 

The decision to reorganize South Carolina's defenses followed in the wake of a shift in Britain's war strategy. By 1778 the King and his ministers found themselves faced with a new military situation. Their forces in the northern and middle states had reached a stalemate with Washington's continentals, now more adequately supplied and better trained after Valley Forge. The British also faced the prospect of France entering the war as an active partner of the Americans. In response, they adopted a "southern strategy." Assuming that the many Loyalists in the southern states would rally to the Crown if supported by regular troops, they planned a conquest of the rebellious colonies one at a time, moving north from Georgia. They launched their new strategy with the capture of Savannah in December 1778.

 

Butler joined in the effort to mobilize South Carolina's citizen-soldiers to repulse the threatened British invasion and later helped prepare the state units used in the counterattack designed to drive the enemy from Georgia. During the operation, which climaxed with an attempted investiture of Savannah, Butler served as a volunteer aide to General Lachlan McIntosh. The hastily raised and poorly prepared militia troops were no match for the well-trained British defenders, and the effort to relieve Savannah ended in failure.

 

In 1780 the British captured Charleston, and with it most of South Carolina's civil government and military forces. Butler, as part of a command group deliberately left outside the city, escaped. During the next two years he employed his considerable military talents in developing a counterstrategy to defeat the enemy's southern operations. He and his fellow South Carolinians, along with their neighbors in occupied portions of Georgia and North Carolina, refused to submit to London's demand that they surrender. Instead, they organized a resistance movement. Butler, as adjutant general, worked with former members of the militia and Continental Army veterans such as Francis Marion and Thomas Sumter to integrate their various partisan efforts into a unified campaign, in conjunction with the operations of the Southern Army under the command of Horatio Gates and later Nathanael Greene.

 

These partisan tactics involved considerable expense and personal risk for Butler who, as a former Royal officer, remained a special target for the British occupation forces. Several times he barely avoided capture. Once, surprised by the sudden arrival of enemy dragoons in the middle of the night, he escaped by sneaking from his home dressed only in his nightshirt. On another occasion, a British regiment, repeatedly denounced by Butler for plundering civilian properties – he called it a "band of jailbirds" – placed a bounty on his head. Throughout the closing phases of the southern campaign he personally contributed cash and supplies to help sustain the American forces and also assisted in the administration of prisoner-of-war facilities.

 

Military operations in the latter months of the Revolution left Butler a poor man. Many of his plantations and ships were destroyed, and the international trade on which the majority of his income depended was in shambles. These economic realities forced him to travel to Europe when the war ended in an effort to secure loans and establish new markets. Betraying a singular tolerance for a foe who had caused him much personal harm, Butler took the occasion to enroll his son in a London school and to engage a new minister from among the British clergy for his church in South Carolina. In late 1785 he returned home, where he became an especially outspoken advocate of reconciliation with former Loyalists and equal representation for the residents of the backcountry. Testifying to his growing political influence, the South Carolina legislature asked Butler to represent the state at the Constitutional Convention that met in Philadelphia in 1787.

 

Butler's experiences as a soldier and planter-legislator influenced his forceful support for a strong union of the states at the Convention. As a military leader during the campaigns in the south he had come to appreciate the need for a national approach to defense. As a planter and merchant, especially after his trip to Europe, he came to understand that economic growth and international respect depended upon a strong central government. At the same time, he energetically supported the special interests of his region.

 

This dual emphasis on national and state concerns puzzled his fellow delegates, just as other apparent inconsistencies would bother associates throughout the rest of his political career. For example, Butler favored ratification of the Constitution, yet absented himself from the South Carolina convention that approved it. Later, he would serve three separate terms in the United States Senate, but this service was marked by several abrupt changes in party allegiance. Beginning as a Federalist, he switched to the Jeffersonian party in 1795, only to become a political independent in 1804. These changes confused the voters of his state, who rejected his subsequent bids for high public offices, although they did elect him three more times to the state legislature as an easterner who spoke on behalf of the west.

 

Butler retired from politics in 1805 and spent much time in Philadelphia where he had previously established a summer home. He continued his business ventures, becoming one of the wealthiest men in America with huge land holdings in several states. Like other Founding Fathers from his region, Butler also continued to support the institution of slavery. But unlike Washington or Thomas Jefferson, for example, Butler never acknowledged or grasped the fundamental inconsistency in simultaneously defending the rights of the poor and supporting slavery.

 

The contradictions in this fascinating man led associates to label him an "eccentric" and an "enigma." Within his own lights, however, he followed a steady path along lines which were intended to produce the maximum of liberty and respect for those individuals whom he classed as citizens. His later political maneuverings were animated by his desire to maintain a strong central government, but a government that could never ride roughshod over the rights of the private citizen. He opposed the policies of the Federalists under Alexander Hamilton because he decided that they had sacrificed the interests of westerners and had sought to force their policies on the opposition; he later split with Jefferson and the Democrats for the same reason. Butler never wavered from his central emphasis on the role of the common man. Late in life he summarized his view: "Our System is little better than [a] matter of Experiment.... much must depend on the morals and manners of the people at large." This was certainly an interesting view, coming as it did from a former member of the British hereditary aristocracy.

 

In January 1771, Major Pierce Butler married Mary Middleton (c.1750 - 1790), the orphaned daughter of South Carolina planter and slave-importer Thomas Middleton, and heiress to a vast fortune. He resigned his commission in the British Army two years later.

 

Following his wife's death, Butler sold off the last of their South Carolina holdings, investing in Georgia sea island plantations. He disinherited his only surviving son Thomas, along with his French wife and children. Butler initially planned to leave his whole fortune to daughter Sarah Butler Mease's eldest son, Pierce Butler Mease, who died in 1810 at age 9. He then left it in equal parts to her other 3 sons, provided they irrevocably adopt Butler as their surname. Two of her sons, John and (the second-named) Pierce Butler Mease (b. 1810), did change their names to inherit.

 

Grandson Pierce Butler (Mease) married the well-known English actress Frances ("Fanny") Kemble in 1834. Kemble's growing abolitionism was a factor in their 1849 divorce, but she waited until 1863 to publish her Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839, an eye-witness indictment of slavery. Pierce Butler (Mease) squandered a fortune estimated at $700,000, but was saved from bankruptcy by the March 2-3, 1859 sale of his 436 slaves at Ten Broeck Racetrack, outside Savannah, Georgia -- the largest single slave auction in American history. He was briefly imprisoned for treason, August-September 1861, and sat out the American Civil War in Philadelphia. Union forces occupied the Butler plantations beginning in February 1862, and a similar number of his brother's slaves were freed by the January 1, 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Later that year, Pierce Butler (Mease) inherited his brother's half of their grandfather's plantations, but was unsuccessful in managing them after the war. His daughter, Frances Butler Leigh, defended her father in a rebuttal to her mother's journal: Ten Years on a Georgian Plantation since the War (1883). His other daughter, Sarah Butler Wister, was the mother of Owen Wister, the popular American novelist and author of the 1902 western novel, The Virginian. Wister was the last descendant to inherit the Butler plantations, and wrote about the post-Civil War South in his 1906 novel, Lady Baltimore.

 

Major Pierce Butler and many of his descendants are buried in a family vault at Christ Church, Philadelphia.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

Daniel Carroll, Maryland

Daniel Carroll, Maryland

Daniel Carroll (July 22, 1730 – July 5, 1796) was a politician and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a prominent member of one of America's great colonial families that included his cousin Charles Carroll of Carrollton who signed the Declaration of Independence, and his brother John Carroll who was the first Catholic bishop in the United States. He was one of only five men to sign both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States.

 

Carroll was a patrician planter who fused family honor with the cause of American independence, willingly risking his social and economic position in the community for the Patriot cause. Later, as a friend and staunch ally of George Washington, he worked for a strong central government which could secure the achievements and fulfill the hopes of the Revolution. Ironically, for one whose name was synonymous with the colonial aristocracy, Carroll fought in the Convention for a government responsible directly to the people of the country.

 

Carroll was born in Upper Marlboro, Prince Georges County, Maryland, and spent his early years at his family's home, Darnall's Chance. Carroll went abroad for his education. Between 1742 and 1748 he studied under the Jesuits at the College of St. Omer in Flanders. After his return, he only gradually joined the Patriot cause. A large landholder, he was concerned lest the Revolution fail economically and bring about not only his family's financial ruin, but mob rule as well. Furthermore, he was initially prevented from becoming involved in Maryland politics by laws that excluded Catholics from holding public office. Once these laws were nullified by the Maryland constitution of 1776, the way was cleared for his election to the upper house of the Maryland legislature (1777-81). At the end of his term, he became a member of the Continental Congress (1781-84), where, in 1781, he signed the Articles of Confederation. His involvement in the Revolution, like that of other Patriots in this patrician's extended family, was inspired by the family's ancient motto: "Strong in Faith and War".

 

Carroll was an active member of the Constitutional Convention, despite the fact that illness prevented him from attending the early sessions. Like his good friend James Madison, Carroll was convinced that a strong central government was needed to regulate commerce among the states and with other nations. He also spoke out repeatedly in opposition to the payment of members of the United States Congress by the states, reasoning that such compensation would sabotage the strength of the new government because "the dependence of both Houses on the state Legislatures would be compleat.... The new government in this form is nothing more than a second edition of [the Continental] Congress in two volumes, instead of one, and perhaps with very few amendments"

 

He wanted governmental power vested in the people, and he joined James Wilson in campaigning for popular sovereignty. When it was suggested that the President should be elected by the Congress, it was Carroll, seconded by James Wilson, who moved that the words "by the legislature" be replaced with "by the people". His signature on the Constitution made him one of two Roman Catholics to sign the document, a further symbol of the advance of religious freedom in America during the Revolutionary period.

 

Carroll did not arrive at the Constitutional Convention until July 9, but thereafter he attended quite regularly. He spoke about 20 times during the debates and served on the Committee on Postponed Matters. Returning to Maryland after the convention, he campaigned for ratification of the Constitution but was not a delegate to the state convention.

 

Following the Convention, Carroll immersed himself in state and national affairs. He was a key participant in the Maryland ratification struggle. He also defended the Constitution in the pages of the Maryland Journal, most notably in his response to the arguments advanced by the well-known Antifederalist Samuel Chase. After ratification was achieved in Maryland, Carroll became a representative from the sixth district of Maryland in the First Congress, where, reflecting his concern for economic and fiscal stability, he voted for the assumption of state debts by the federal government.

 

He later served in the Maryland Senate and as one of three commissioners appointed to survey the District of Columbia. He then became a commissioner (co-mayor) of the new capital city, but advanced age and failing health forced him to retire in 1795. Even then, interest in the good of his region kept him active. In the last year of his life he became one of George Washington's partners in the Patowmack Company, a business enterprise intended to link the middle states with the expanding west by means of a Potomac River canal.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

George Clymer, Pennsylvania

George Clymer, Pennsylvania

George Clymer (March 16, 1739 – January 24, 1813) was an American politician and Founding Father. He was one of the first Patriots to advocate complete independence from Britain. As a Pennsylvania representative, Clymer was, along with only five others, a signatory of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He attended the Continental Congress and served in political office until the end of his life.

 

Clymer was born in Whiteville on March 16, 1740. Orphaned when only a year old, he was apprenticed to his paternal uncle, William Coleman, in preparation for a career as a merchant. He was a patriot and leader in the demonstrations in Philadelphia resulting from the Tea Act and the Stamp Act. He became a member of the Philadelphia Committee of Safety in 1773, and was elected to the Continental Congress 1776-1780. He served ably on several committees during his first Congressional term and was sent to inspect the northern army on behalf of Congress in the fall of 1776. When Congress fled Philadelphia in the face of Sir Henry Clinton's threatened occupation, Clymer stayed behind with George Walton and Robert Morris. The British made a special point in destroying Clymer's country home in Chester County following the Battle of Brandywine.

 

He resigned from Congress in 1777, and in 1780 was elected to a seat in the Pennsylvania Legislature. In 1782, he was sent on a tour of the southern states in a vain attempt to get the legislatures to pay up on subscriptions due to the central government. He was reelected to the Pennsylvania legislature in 1784, and represented his state at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. He was elected to the first U.S. Congress in 1789. Clymer shared the responsibility of being treasurer of the Continental Congress with Michael Hillegas, the first Treasurer of the United States.

 

He was the first president of the Philadelphia Bank, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and vice-president of the Philadelphia Agricultural Society. When Congress passed a bill imposing a duty on spirits distilled in the United States in 1791, Clymer was placed as head of the excise department, in the state of Pennsylvania. He was also one of the commissioners to negotiate a treaty with the Creek Indian confederacy at Coleraine, Georgia on June 29, 1796. He is considered the benefactor of Indiana Borough, as it was he who donated the property for a county seat in Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

 

Clymer died on January 24, 1813, and was buried at the Friends Burying Ground in Trenton, New Jersey.

 

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Jonathan Dayton, New Jersey

Jonathan Dayton, New Jersey

Jonathan Dayton (October 16, 1760 – October 9, 1824) was an American politician from the U.S. state of New Jersey. He was the youngest person to sign the United States Constitution and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as the fourth Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and later the U.S. Senate. Dayton was arrested in 1807 for treason in connection with Aaron Burr's conspiracy, he was never tried, but his national political career never recovered.

 

Dayton was born in Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth) in New Jersey. He was the son of Elias Dayton, a merchant who was prominent in local politics. He graduated in 1776 from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). During the Revolutionary War Dayton served under his father in the 3rd New Jersey Regiment and attained the rank of captain by the age of 19.

 

After the war, Dayton studied law and established a practice, dividing his time between land speculation, law, and politics. After serving as a delegate to the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention (of which he was the youngest member, at the age of 26), he became a prominent Federalist legislator. He was a member of the New Jersey General Assembly from 1786-1787, and again in 1790, and served in the New Jersey State Council (now the New Jersey Senate) in 1790.

 

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1789, he did not take his seat, but was elected and took his seat in 1791. He served as speaker for the Fourth and Fifth Congress. Like most Federalists, he supported the fiscal policies of Alexander Hamilton, and suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion. He supported the Louisiana Purchase and opposed the repeal of the Judiciary Act of 1801.

 

Dayton met with Aaron Burr in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and became involved in a "conspiracy" in which Burr later had been accused of intending to conquer parts of what is now the western United States. (This was never proven.) An illness prevented Dayton from accompanying Burr's aborted 1806 expedition, but in 1807 Dayton was arrested for treason. He was released and never brought to trial but his national political career never recovered.

 

He married Susan Williamson and had two daughters but their marriage date is unknown.

After resuming his political career in New Jersey, he died in 1824 in his hometown and was interred in an unmarked grave now under the present St. John's Episcopal Church in Elizabeth which replaced the original church in 1860.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

John Dickinson, Delaware

John Dickinson, Delaware

John Dickinson (November 2, 1732 – February 14,1808) was an American lawyer and politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware. He was a militia officer during the American Revolution, a Continental Congressman from Pennsylvania and Delaware, a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, President of Delaware, President of Pennsylvania. Among the wealthiest men in the British American colonies, he is known as the Penman of the Revolution, for his Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, where he eloquently argued the cause of American liberty.

 

Dickinson was born at Croisadore his family's tobacco plantation in Talbot County, near Trappe, Maryland. He was the great grandson of Walter Dickinson who emigrated from England to Virginia in 1654 and, having joined the Society of Friends, came with several co-religionists to Talbot County on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in 1659. There, with 400 acres (1.6 km2) on the banks of the Choptank River he began a plantation, Croisadore, meaning "cross of gold." He also bought 800 acres (3.2 km2) on St. Jones Neck in what became Kent County, Delaware.

 

Croisadore passed through Walter's son, William, to his grandson, Samuel, the father of John Dickinson. Each generation increased the landholdings, so that Samuel inherited 2500 acres (10 km²) on five farms in three Maryland counties and over his lifetime increased that to 9000 acres (36 km²). He also bought the Kent County property from his cousin and expanded it into a massive domain of some 3000 acres (12 km²) stretching along the St. Jones River from Dover to the Delaware Bay. There he began another plantation and called it “Poplar Hall.” These plantations were large, profitable agricultural enterprises worked by slave labor, producing tobacco in Talbot County and wheat and corn in the more sandy soil of Kent County. As a result the family was enormously wealthy.

 

Samuel Dickinson first married Judith Troth on 11 April 1710. They had nine children; William, Walter, Samuel, Elizabeth, Henry, Elizabeth "Betsy," Rebecca, Rachel and Rachel. The three eldest sons died of smallpox while in London seeking their education. Widowed, with two young children, Henry and Betsy, Samuel married Mary Cadwalader in 1731. She was the daughter of the prominent Quaker, John Cadwalader of Philadelphia. Their sons, John, Thomas and Philemon were born in the next few years.

 

For three generations the Dickinson family had been devout members of the Third Haven Friends Meeting in Talbot County and the Cadwaladers were equally devout members of the Meeting in Philadelphia. But in 1739, John Dickinson's half-sister, Betsy, was married in an Anglican church to Charles Goldsborough in what was called a "disorderly marriage" by the Meeting. The couple would be the grandparents of Maryland governor Charles Goldsborough. This event hurt Samuel Dickinson in such a way that he never participated in the Meeting again.

 

It may have also been one of the reasons for Samuel’s decision to move the family to Poplar Hall in 1740. Leaving Croisadore to elder son, Henry Dickinson, they made the trek to their new home, where Samuel had already taken a leading role in the community as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Kent County. The move also placed Mary nearer her Philadelphia relations, and young John was to grow up under the growing attraction of that great metropolis.

 

By contemporary standards Poplar Hall was itself a busy place, situated on a now straightened bend of the St. Jones River. There was plenty of activity delivering the necessities, and shipping the agricultural products produced. Much of this product was wheat, an especially soft, fine wheat, that along with other wheat from the region, was milled into the famous “superfine” flour. But the people were largely servants and slaves, employed by, or doing business with the Dickinsons. Neighbors were a long way away over the marshy hinterland, and even those that were there were not close friends, separated psychologically by differences in wealth and religion. The land itself was a vast, damp, mosquito ridden domain, acquired because it was cheaper to buy than to improve, and therefore quickly worn out and abandoned. It had a subtle, quiet beauty, fully appreciated by John Dickinson and his father, but less so by others in the family, and not at all by his wife in the years to come.

 

Dickinson was educated at home, largely by doting parents, but also by recent immigrants employed for that purpose. Included among them was the Presbyterian minister Francis Alison, who later began the well known New London Academy in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Most important was William Killen, who became a life-long friend, and himself had a distinguished career as Delaware’s first Chief Justice and Chancellor. Dickinson was precocious and energetic, and in spite of his love of Poplar Hall and his family, was himself irresistibly drawn to the larger stage up river in Philadelphia.

 

Recognizing all this, his father sent him, at the age of 18, to begin studying the law under John Moland in Philadelphia. There he made friends with fellow students George Read and Samuel Wharton, among others, and enjoyed the new experience of urban life. By 1753 it was apparent that the place he really needed to study was London, and in spite of having already lost three sons while making similar trips, Samuel Dickinson agreed to send John for what ended up as three years of study at the Middle Temple. He spent those years studying the works of Edward Coke and Francis Bacon at the Inns of Court, and by early 1757 was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar. After returning to Poplar Hall for a lengthy visit he was back in Philadelphia by the fall, having begun his career as barrister and solicitor.

 

On July 19, 1770 Dickinson married Mary Norris, also known as Polly, the daughter of another wealthy Philadelphia Quaker, and Speaker of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Isaac Norris. They had five children, but only two survived to adulthood: Sarah Norris "Sally" Dickinson and Maria Mary Dickinson. Dickinson never formally joined the Quaker Meeting, because, as he explained, he believed in the "lawfulness of defensive war." However, now married to another devout Quaker, he was always strongly influenced by the beliefs of the Society of Friends.

 

He was already among the wealthiest of men and this marriage only increased that. In Philadelphia, he preferred to live at the family estate of his wife, called Fairhill, near Germantown. Meanwhile he built an elegant mansion on Chestnut Street but never lived there as it was confiscated and turned into a hospital during his 1776-77 absence in Delaware. It then became the residence of the French ambassador and still later the home of his brother, Philemon Dickinson. Fairhill was burned by the British during the Battle of Germantown. While in Philadelphia as State President, he lived at the confiscated mansion of Joseph Galloway at Sixth and Market Streets, now established as the State Presidential mansion.

 

As an adult Dickinson lived at his family home at Jones Neck, in Kent County Poplar Hall, for extended periods only in 1776-77 and 1781-82. In August 1781 it was sacked by Loyalists and after being restored, was badly burned in 1804. This home is now owned by the State of Delaware, is undergoing restoration and is open to the public. After his service as President of Pennsylvania, he returned to live in Wilmington, Delaware in 1785 and built a mansion at the northwest corner of 8th and Market Streets.

 

As events unfolded Dickinson was one of Pennsylvania's delegates to the First Continental Congress in 1774 and the Second Continental Congress in 1775 and 1776. In support of the cause, he continued to contribute declarations in the name of the Congress. Among the most famous is one written with Thomas Jefferson, a Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, with Dickinson’s famous conclusion that Americans were resolved to die free men rather than live slaves. Another was the Olive Branch Petition, a last ditch appeal to King George III to resolve the dispute. But through it all, agreeing with New Castle County's George Read and many others in Philadelphia and the Lower Counties, Dickinson's object was reconciliation, not independence and revolution. He was a proud devotee of the British Constitution and felt the dispute was with Parliament only. He was also a product of his Quaker heritage, which insisted that disputes be settled without violence.

 

When the Continental Congress began the debate on the Declaration of Independence on July 1, 1776, Dickinson reiterated his opposition to declaring independence at that time. Dickinson believed that Congress should complete the Articles of Confederation and secure a foreign alliance before issuing a declaration. He abstained or absented himself from the votes on July 2nd that declared independence and absented himself again from voting on the wording of the formal Declaration on July 4. Dickinson understood the implications of his refusal to vote stating, "My conduct this day, I expect will give the finishing blow to my once too great and, my integrity considered, now too diminished popularity." Dickinson refused to sign the Declaration and since a proposal had been brought forth and carried that stated, "for our mutual security and protection," no man could remain in Congress without signing, Dickinson voluntarily left and joined the Pennsylvania militia.

 

Following the Declaration of Independence Dickinson was given the rank of brigadier general in the Pennsylvania militia, known as the Associators. He led some 10,000 soldiers to Elizabeth, New Jersey to protect that area against British attack from Staten Island. But because of his unpopular opinion on independence two junior officers were promoted above him. He resigned his commission in December 1776 and went to stay at Poplar Hall in Kent County. While there he learned that his home on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia had been confiscated and converted into a hospital. Despite these setbacks, Dickinson insisted on always espousing his true feelings, no matter the consequence.

 

After his service in Pennsylvania, Dickinson returned to Delaware, and lived in Wilmington. He was quickly appointed to represent Delaware at the Annapolis Convention, where he served as its President. In 1787, Delaware sent him as one of its delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, along with Gunning Bedford, Jr., Richard Bassett, George Read, and Jacob Broom, There, he supported the effort to create a strong central government, but only after the Great Compromise assured that each state, regardless of size, would have an equal vote in the future United States Senate. Following the Convention he promoted the resulting Constitution in a series of nine essays, written under the pen name, Fabius.

 

In 1791, Delaware convened a convention to revise its existing Constitution, which had been hastily drafted in 1776. Dickinson was elected president of this convention, and although he resigned the chair after most of the work was complete, he remained highly influential in the content of the final document. Major changes included the establishment of a separate Chancery Court and the expansion of the franchise to include all taxpayers, except blacks and women. Dickinson remained neutral in an attempt to include a prohibition of slavery in the document, believing the General Assembly was the proper place to decide that issue. The new Constitution was approved June 12, 1792.

 

Once more Dickinson was returned to the State Senate for the 1793 session, but served for just one year before resigning due to his declining health. In his final years he worked to further the abolition movement, donated a considerable amount of his wealth to the "relief of the unhappy." In 1801 he published two volumes of his collected works on politics.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

William Few, Georgia

William Few, Georgia

William Few, Jr. (June 10, 1748—July 16, 1828) was an American politician and a Founding Father of the United States. Few represented the U.S. state of Georgia at the Constitutional Convention. Born into a poor yeoman farming family, Few achieved both social prominence and political power later in life. Exhibiting those characteristics of self-reliance vital for survival on the American frontier, he became an intimate of the nation's political and military elite. The idea of a rude frontiersman providing the democratic leaven within an association of the rich and powerful has always excited the American imagination, nurtured on stories of Davy Crockett and Abraham Lincoln. In the case of the self-educated Few, that image was largely accurate.

 

Few's inherent gifts for leadership and organization, as well as his sense of public service, were brought out by his experience in the Revolutionary War. Important in any theater of military operations, leadership and organizational ability were particularly needed in the campaigns in the south where a dangerous and protracted struggle against a determined British invader intimately touched the lives of many settlers. Few's dedication to the common good and his natural military acumen quickly brought him to the attention of the leaders of the Patriot cause, who eventually invested him with important political responsibilities as well.

 

The war also profoundly affected Few's attitude toward the political future of the new nation, transforming the rugged frontier individualist into a forceful exponent of a permanent union of the states. Men of his stripe came to realize during the years of military conflict that the rights of the individual, so jealously prized on the frontier, could be nurtured and protected only by a strong central government accountable to the people. This belief became the hallmark of his long public service.

 

Descendant of Quaker shoemaker, Richard Few of Whiltshire England, and his son Isaac Few, a cooper, who emigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1680s, the Fews lived in northern Maryland, where they eked out a modest living raising tobacco on small holdings. When a series of droughts struck the region in the 1750s, the Fews and their neighbors—actually a sort of extended family consisting of cousins and distant relations—found themselves on the brink of ruin. The whole community decided to abandon its farms and try its luck among the more fertile lands on the southern frontier.

 

The group ultimately selected new homesites along the banks of the Eno River one mile from Hillsborough in Orange County, North Carolina, first in what is now Durham County (but was then Orange County), and later east of Hillsborough, in Orange County. Here young Few developed the skills expected of the eighteenth-century farmer.In an account of the early history of Orange County, Francis Nash wrote, "His father [William Few, Jr.s] though, belonged to the better class of farmers, had more means and a better education than the average settler." Such a life left little time for formal schooling, although the community hired an itinerant teacher for a brief time in the 1760s. From this experience Few obtained a rudimentary education that led to a lifelong love of reading. Essentially a self-educated man, Few also found time to read law and qualify as an attorney despite a full-time commitment to the unrelenting demands of agricultural toil.

 

In time the Few family achieved a measure of prosperity, emerging as political leaders in rural Orange County. Like many other western settlers, however, the family became involved with the Regulators, a populist movement that grew up in reaction to the political and economic restrictions imposed on the frontier or backcountry farmers by the merchants and planters of the tidewater area and by the local politicians and lawyers. By 1771 protest had become confrontation, and a large group of mostly unarmed westerners gathered to clash with North Carolina militia units at the "battle" of the Alamance. The uneven fight ended in total victory for the militia, although most of the Regulator's demands for political representation and economic relief eventually would be met by the state legislature. More immediately, one of Few's brothers – James Few – was hanged for his part in the uprising, and the Few family farm just east of Hillsborough was ransacked by Tryon's militia troops. The rest of the family fled to Wrightsboro, Georgia, leaving Few behind to settle their affairs and sell their property.

 

These antagonisms within North Carolina began to evaporate as American opinion turned against the imperial measures instituted by Great Britain in the 1770s. Both the eastern planters and the new settlers found new taxes and restrictions on western expansion at odds with their idea of self-government, and Patriot leaders were able to unite the state against what they could portray as a threat to the liberties of all parties.

 

Few participated in this training as one of the first men to enlist in the volunteer militia or "minute men" company formed in Hillsborough. Typically, Few's unit received its tactical instruction from a veteran of the colonial wars, in this case a former corporal in the British Army who was hired by the company as its drill sergeant. Citing the press of family business, Few rejected the offer of a captaincy in one of the first units North Carolina raised for the Continental Army in the summer of 1775. But when he finally settled the family's accounts the next year and joined his relatives in Georgia, where he opened a law office, he quickly placed his newly acquired military knowledge at the service of the Patriot cause in his new state.

 

Georgia organized its citizen-soldiers on a geographical basis, forming local companies into a regiment in each county. Few joined the Richmond County Regiment, which his older brother, Benjamin, commanded. For the next two years Few's military duties consisted of attending military assemblies where he instructed his friends and neighbors in the skills he had acquired in the North Carolina militia. Only in 1778, when Georgia faced the threat of invasion by a force of Loyalist militia and British regulars based in Florida, was Few finally called to active duty.

 

The Georgians' first military campaign ended in disaster. A force of state and Continental units successfully combined to repulse an enemy raid on Sunbury near the states southeastern border, but a counterattack orchestrated by Major General Robert Howe of the Continental Army and Governor John Houstoun bogged down before the Patriots could reach St. Augustine. Few, now in command of a company of Georgia Militia, watched the collapse of the campaign's logistical support and then the disintegration of the force itself, as senior officers bickered among themselves and as disease began to decimate the units. Only half of the American soldiers survived to return home. At the end of the year a sudden amphibious invasion by British forces resulted in the capture of Savannah, Georgia, and the destruction of the rest of the Continental units under Howe and most of the eastern militia formations. Armed resistance to the British continued in the western part of the state, led by the Richmond County Regiment. Throughout 1779 the regiment, with Few now second in command, frequently turned out to skirmish with probing British units, eventually forcing the enemy to abandon Augusta, which the British had captured soon after the fall of Savannah.

 

The success of the citizen-soldiers in defending their own homes began to reverse the fortunes of war in Georgia, prompting the new Continental commander in the region, Major General Benjamin Lincoln, to take the offensive. Lincoln combined his continentals and militia units from Georgia and South Carolina with a French force newly arrived from the Caribbean to lay siege to Savannah. He immediately encountered difficulty, however, in coordinating the efforts of his diverse forces. The French, under pressure to terminate operations quickly in order to move on to other assignments, persuaded Lincoln to launch a full frontal attack. The result was a bloody defeat, but Few's militiamen participated in a successful rear-guard action that shielded the retreat of the American units. In the aftermath of the battle his regiment was posted to the frontier where the Creek Indians, interpreting the defeat before Savannah as proof of the Georgians' weakness, had taken to the field in support of British forces.

 

Enemy operations in Georgia in 1779 were part of a new "southern strategy" by which the British planned to use the state as a base for conquering the rebellious colonies in a sweep up from the south. Few's military service in the later years of the war proved critical both in frustrating this strategy and in enhancing his credentials as a state leader. The western forces, in which Few's regiment played a prominent role, kept the British from consolidating their position. The area never developed into a secure Loyalist base, and British troops needed for subsequent operations against the Carolinas and Virginia had to be diverted to counter the threat posed by the frontier militia units. Few emerged as a gifted administrator and logistician in this demanding and difficult effort to maintain a viable military force in Georgia. He also turned into a bold, innovative partisan commander. Experience and innate common sense enabled him to develop patience, preserve his forces for key attacks, and then pick his time and place to defeat small enemy parties without unduly risking the safety of his men. Most important, he displayed the raw physical stamina required to survive the serious hardships of guerrilla warfare.

 

Military success went hand in hand with political service. During the late 1770s Few also won election to the House of Representatives in the Georgia General Assembly, sat on the state's Executive Council, acted as state surveyor-general, represented Georgia in negotiations with the Indians that succeeded in minimizing the danger of frontier attacks, and served as Richmond County's senior magistrate. Few's growing political prominence and undisputed talent for leadership prompted the state legislature in 1780 to appoint him to represent Georgia in the Continental Congress.

 

Few served in Congress less than a year when, in the wake of General Nathanael Greene's successful effort to drive the British out of most of Georgia, Congress sent him home to help reassemble Georgia's scattered government. This task accomplished, Few returned to Congress in 1782, where he remained to serve throughout most of the decade. While a member of that body, Few was asked by his state to serve concurrently in the Constitutional Convention that met in Philadelphia in 1787. This dual responsibility caused him to split his time between the two bodies and therefore to miss portions of the constitutional proceedings. Nevertheless, Few firmly supported the effort to create a strong national union and worked hard to secure the Continental Congress' approval of the new instrument of government. He also participated in the Georgia convention in 1788 that ratified the document.

 

Georgia promptly selected Few to serve as one of its original United States senators. Planning to retire from politics at the expiration of his term in 1793, he bowed instead to the wishes of his neighbors and served yet another term in the state legislature. In 1796 the Georgia Assembly appointed him as a circuit court judge. During this three-year appointment he not only consolidated his reputation as a practical, fair jurist but became a prominent supporter of public education. He was a founding trustee of the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens in 1785. Few's efforts to establish UGA as the first state-chartered university in the United States indicated the importance this self-educated man gave to formal instruction.

 

At the urging of his wife, a native New Yorker, Few left Georgia in 1799 and moved to Manhattan. There, he embarked on yet another career of public service, while supporting his family through banking and the occasional practice of law. His new neighbors promptly elected him to represent them in the New York State Assembly and later as a city alderman. He also served for nine years as New York's inspector of prisons and one year as a federal commissioner of loans before finally retiring to his country home in Dutchess County, New York.

 

He died the age of 80 in Fishkill-on-Hudson, survived by his wife Catherine Nicholson and three daughters. He was buried in the yard of the Reformed Dutch Church of Fishkill Landing but was reinterred at St. Paul's Church, Augusta, Georgia.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

Thomas Fitzsimons, Pennsylvania

Thomas Fitzsimons, Pennsylvania

Thomas Fitzsimons (1741–1811) was an American merchant and statesman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He represented Pennsylvania in the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the U.S. Congress.

 

Fitzsimons was born in Ireland around 1741. By 1760 he had immigrated to Philadelphia, and began work as a clerk in a mercantile house. He married Catherine Meade on November 23, 1761 and formed a business partnership with her brother George. Their firm specialized in the West Indies trade, and would operate successfully for over 41 years.

 

As the Revolution neared, he supported the Whig position. Early in the Revolutionary War he served as captain of a company of home guards, but the only report of their actions was to support the regular troops for the Battle of Trenton in 1776. Later in the war he provided supplies, ships, and money in support of Pennsylvania’s forces.

 

Fitzsimons entered active politics as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1782 and 1783. He was a member of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives in 1786 and 1787. He was also a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention in 1787. Although not a leading member of that convention, he did support a strong national government, opposed slavery, and favored giving the Congress powers to tax import and exports, as well as granting the house and the senate equal power in making treaties. He was one of only two Catholic signers of the United States Constitution.

 

After the constitution was established, he served in the first three sessions of the House, finally failing to win re-election in 1794. He lost to upstart John Swanwick, who carried 7 of Philadelphia's 12 Districts and 57% of the vote. This was partially attributed, not to Fitzsimons's own fault but to public opinion turning against the Federalist Party, to which he belonged, in the wake of the Whiskey Rebellion's suppression.

 

While withdrawing from politics, Fitzsimons remained active in civic and business affairs. He served as president of Philadelphia's Chamber of Commerce, as a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, and a director of the Bank of North America. He was a founder of the bank, and supported efforts to found the College of Georgetown.

 

Thomas died on August 26, 1811 in Philadelphia and was buried in the cemetery of St. Mary's Catholic Church there. (The cemetery is now part of the Independence National Historical Park.)

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705 – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author and printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass 'armonica'. He formed both the first public lending library in America and first fire department in Pennsylvania. He was an early proponent of colonial unity, and as a political writer and activist he supported the idea of an American nation. As a diplomat during the American Revolution he secured the French alliance that helped to make independence of the United States possible.

 

Franklin is credited as being foundational to the roots of American values and character, a marriage of the practical and democratic Puritan values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. In the words of Henry Steele Commager, "In Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat." To Walter Isaacson, this makes Franklin, "the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become."

 

Franklin became a newspaper editor, printer, and merchant in Philadelphia, becoming very wealthy, writing and publishing Poor Richard's Almanack and The Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin was interested in science and technology, and gained international renown for his famous experiments. He played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania and Franklin & Marshall College and was elected the first president of the American Philosophical Society. Franklin became a national hero in America when he spearheaded the effort to have Parliament repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations. From 1775 to 1776, Franklin was Postmaster General under the Continental Congress and from 1785 to 1788 was President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. Toward the end of his life, he became one of the most prominent abolitionists.

 

His colorful life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, and status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers, has seen Franklin honored on coinage and money; warships; the names of many towns, counties, educational institutions, namesakes, and companies; and more than two centuries after his death, countless cultural references.

 

Franklin's father, Josiah Franklin, was born at Ecton, Northamptonshire, England on December 23, 1657, the son of Thomas Franklin, a blacksmith and farmer, and Jane White. His mother, Abiah Folger, was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on August 15, 1667, to Peter Folger, a miller and schoolteacher and his wife Mary Morrill, a former indentured servant. A descendant of the Folgers, J.A. Folger, founded Folgers Coffee in the 19th century.

 

Josiah Franklin had seventeen children with his two wives. He married his first wife, Anne Child, in about 1677 in Ecton and emigrated with her to Boston in 1683; they had three children before emigrating, and four after. After her death, Josiah was married to Abiah Folger on July 9, 1689 in the Old South Meeting House by Samuel Willard. Benjamin, their eighth child, was Josiah Franklin's fifteenth child and tenth and last son.

 

Josiah Franklin converted to Puritanism in the 1670s. Puritanism was a Protestant movement in England to "purify" Anglicanism from elements of the Roman Catholic religion, which they considered superstitious. Three things were important to the Puritans: that each congregation would be self-governing, that ministers give sermons instead of performing rituals such as a Mass, and individual Bible study so that each believer could develop a personal understanding and relationship with God. Puritanism appealed to smart, middle-class people such as Benjamin Franklin's father, who enjoyed the governance meetings, discussion, study, and personal independence.

 

The roots of American democracy can be seen in these Puritan values of self-government, the importance of the individual and active indignation against unjust authority, which were passed on to Benjamin Franklin and other Founding Fathers, such as John Adams. One of Josiah's core Puritan values was that personal worth is earned through hard work, which makes the industrious man the equal of kings, which Ben Franklin etched onto his father's tombstone, from his father Josiah's favorite Bible quote, from the Hebrew Bible, Proverbs 22:29: "Seest thou a man diligent in his calling, he shall stand before Kings." Hard work and equality were two Puritan values Ben Franklin preached throughout his own life (ibid, p 78) and spread widely through Poor Richard's Almanac and his autobiography.

 

Ben Franklin's mother, Abiah Folger, was born into a Puritan family that was among the first Pilgrims to flee to Massachusetts for religious freedom, when King Charles I of England began persecuting Protestants. They sailed for Boston in 1635. Her father was "the sort of rebel destined to transform colonial America." As clerk of the court, he was jailed for disobeying the local magistrate in defense of middle-class shopkeepers and artisans in conflict with wealthy landowners. Ben Franklin followed in his grandfather's footsteps in his battles against the wealthy Penn family that owned the Pennsylvania Colony.

 

Benjamin Franklin was born on Milk Street, in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706 and baptized at Old South Meeting House. His father, Josiah Franklin, was a tallow chandler, a maker of candles and soap, whose second wife, Abiah Folger, was Benjamin's mother. Josiah's marriages produced 17 children; Benjamin was the fifteenth child and youngest son. Josiah wanted Ben to attend school with the clergy but only had enough money to send him to school for two years. He attended Boston Latin School but did not graduate; he continued his education through voracious reading. Although "his parents talked of the church as a career" for Franklin, his schooling ended when he was ten. He then worked for his father for a time and at 12 he became an apprentice to his brother James, a printer, who taught Ben the printing trade. When Ben was 15, James created The New-England Courant, the first truly independent newspaper in the colonies. When denied the chance to write a letter to the paper for publication, Franklin invented the pseudonym of "Mrs. Silence Dogood," who was ostensibly a middle-aged widow. Her letters were published, and became a subject of conversation around town. Neither James nor the Courant's readers were aware of the ruse, and James was unhappy with Ben when he discovered the popular correspondent was his younger brother. Franklin left his apprenticeship without permission, and in so doing became a fugitive.

 

At age 17, Franklin ran away to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, seeking a new start in a new city. When he first arrived he worked in several printer shops around town. However, he was not satisfied by the immediate prospects. After a few months, while working in a printing house, Franklin was convinced by Pennsylvania Governor Sir William Keith to go to London, ostensibly to acquire the equipment necessary for establishing another newspaper in Philadelphia. Finding Keith's promises of backing a newspaper to be empty, Franklin worked as a typesetter in a printer's shop in what is now the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in the Smithfield area of London. Following this, he returned to Philadelphia in 1726 with the help of a merchant named Thomas Denham, who gave Franklin a position as clerk, shopkeeper, and bookkeeper in Denham's merchant business.

 

In 1727, Benjamin Franklin, 21, created the Junto, a group of "like minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community." The Junto was a discussion group for issues of the day; it subsequently gave rise to many organizations in Philadelphia.

 

Reading was a great pastime of the Junto, but books were rare and expensive. The members created a library, and initially pooled their own books together. This did not work, however, and Franklin initiated the idea of a subscription library, where the members pooled their monetary resources to buy books. This idea was the birth of the Library Company, with the charter of the Library Company of Philadelphia created in 1731 by Franklin. Franklin hired the first American librarian in 1732, Louis Timothee.

 

Originally, the books were kept in the homes of the first librarians, but in 1739 the collection was moved to the second floor of the State House of Pennsylvania, now known as Independence Hall. In 1791, a new building was built specifically for the library. The Library Company flourished with no competition and gained many priceless collections from bibliophiles such as James Logan and his physician brother William. The Library Company is now a great scholarly and research library with 500,000 rare books, pamphlets, and broadsides, more than 160,000 manuscripts, and 75,000 graphic items.

 

Upon Denham's death, Franklin returned to his former trade. By 1730, Franklin had set up a printing house of his own and had contrived to become the publisher of a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette. The Gazette gave Franklin a forum for agitation about a variety of local reforms and initiatives through printed essays and observations. Over time, his commentary, together with a great deal of savvy about cultivating a positive image of an industrious and intellectual young man, earned him a great deal of social respect; though even after Franklin had achieved fame as a scientist and statesman, he habitually signed his letters with the unpretentious 'B. Franklin, Printer.'

 

In 1731, Franklin was initiated into the local Freemason lodge, becoming a grand master in 1734, indicating his rapid rise to prominence in Pennsylvania. That same year, he edited and published the first Masonic book in the Americas, a reprint of James Anderson's Constitutions of the Free-Masons. Franklin remained a Freemason throughout the rest of his life.

 

In 1736, Franklin created the Union Fire Company, one of the first volunteer firefighting companies in America. In the same year, he printed a new currency for New Jersey based on innovative anti-counterfeiting techniques which he had devised. Throughout his career, Franklin was an advocate for paper money, publishing A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency in 1729, and his printer printed money. He was influential in the more restrained and thus successful monetary experiments in the Middle Colonies, which stopped deflation without causing excessive inflation. In 1766 he made a case for paper money to the British House of Commons.

 

As he matured, Franklin began to concern himself more with public affairs. In 1743, he set forth a scheme for The Academy and College of Philadelphia. He was appointed president of the academy in November 13, 1749, and it opened on August 13, 1751. At its first commencement, on May 17, 1757, seven men graduated; six with a Bachelor of Arts and one as Master of Arts. It was later merged with the University of the State of Pennsylvania to become the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Franklin became involved in Philadelphia politics and rapidly progressed. In October 1748, he was selected as a councilman, in June 1749 he became a Justice of the Peace for Philadelphia, and in 1751 he was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly. On August 10, 1753, Franklin was appointed joint deputy postmaster-general of North America. His most notable service in domestic politics was his reform of the postal system, but his fame as a statesman rests chiefly on his subsequent diplomatic services in connection with the relations of the colonies with Great Britain, and later with France.

 

In 1751, Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond obtained a charter from the Pennsylvania legislature to establish a hospital. Pennsylvania Hospital was the first hospital in what was to become the United States of America.

 

In 1753, both Harvard and Yale awarded him honorary degrees.

 

In 1754, he headed the Pennsylvania delegation to the Albany Congress. This meeting of several colonies had been requested by the Board of Trade in England to improve relations with the Indians and defense against the French. Franklin proposed a broad Plan of Union for the colonies. While the plan was not adopted, elements of it found their way into the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.

 

In 1756, Franklin organized the Pennsylvania Militia (see "Associated Regiment of Philadelphia" under heading of Pennsylvania's 103rd Artillery and 111th Infantry Regiment at Continental Army). He used Tun Tavern as a gathering place to recruit a regiment of soldiers to go into battle against the Native American uprisings that beset the American colonies. {Reportedly Franklin was elected "Colonel" of the Associated Regiment but declined the honor}.

 

Also in 1756, Franklin became a member of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (now Royal Society of Arts or RSA, which had been founded in 1754), whose early meetings took place in coffee shops in London's Covent Garden district, close to Franklin's main residence in Craven Street (the only one of his residences to survive and which opened to the public as the Benjamin Franklin House museum on January 17, 2006). After his return to America, Franklin became the Society's Corresponding Member and remained closely connected with the Society. The RSA instituted a Benjamin Franklin Medal in 1956 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Franklin's birth and the 200th anniversary of his membership of the RSA.

 

In 1757, he was sent to England by the Pennsylvania Assembly as a colonial agent to protest against the political influence of the Penn family, the proprietors of the colony. He remained there for five years, striving to end the proprietors' prerogative to overturn legislation from the elected Assembly, and their exemption from paying taxes on their land. His lack of influential allies in Whitehall led to the failure of this mission.

 

Whilst in London, Franklin became involved in radical politics. He was a member of the Club of Honest Whigs, alongside thinkers such as Richard Price, the minister of Newington Green Unitarian Church who ignited the Revolution Controversy. During his stays at Craven Street between 1757 and 1775, Franklin developed a close friendship with his landlady, Margaret Stevenson and her circle of friends and relations, in particular her daughter Mary, who was more often known as Polly.

 

In 1759, he visited Edinburgh with his son, and recalled his conversations there as "the densest happiness of my life." In February 1759, the University of St Andrews awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree and in October of the same year he was granted Freedom of the Borough of St. Andrews.

 

In 1762, Oxford University awarded Franklin an honorary doctorate for his scientific accomplishments and from then on he went by "Doctor Franklin." He also managed to secure a post for his illegitimate son, William Franklin, as Colonial Governor of New Jersey.

 

He also joined the influential Birmingham based Lunar Society with whom he regularly corresponded and on occasion, visited in Birmingham in the West Midlands.

 

In 1763, soon after Franklin returned to Pennsylvania, the western frontier was engulfed in a bitter war known as Pontiac's Rebellion. The Paxton Boys, a group of settlers convinced that the Pennsylvania government was not doing enough to protect them from American Indian raids, murdered a group of peaceful Susquehannock Indians and then marched on Philadelphia. Franklin helped to organize the local militia in order to defend the capital against the mob, and then met with the Paxton leaders and persuaded them to disperse. Franklin wrote a scathing attack against the racial prejudice of the Paxton Boys. "If an Indian injures me," he asked, "does it follow that I may revenge that Injury on all Indians?"

 

At this time, many members of the Pennsylvania Assembly were feuding with William Penn's heirs, who controlled the colony as proprietors. Franklin led the "anti-proprietary party" in the struggle against the Penn family, and was elected Speaker of the Pennsylvania House in May 1764. His call for a change from proprietary to royal government was a rare political miscalculation, however: Pennsylvanians worried that such a move would endanger their political and religious freedoms. Because of these fears, and because of political attacks on his character, Franklin lost his seat in the October 1764 Assembly elections. The anti-proprietary party dispatched Franklin to England to continue the struggle against the Penn family proprietorship, but during this visit, events would drastically change the nature of his mission.

 

In London, Franklin opposed the 1765 Stamp Act, but when he was unable to prevent its passage, he made another political miscalculation and recommended a friend to the post of stamp distributor for Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians were outraged, believing that he had supported the measure all along, and threatened to destroy his home in Philadelphia. Franklin soon learned of the extent of colonial resistance to the Stamp Act, and his testimony before the House of Commons led to its repeal. With this, Franklin suddenly emerged as the leading spokesman for American interests in England. He wrote popular essays on behalf of the colonies, and Georgia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts also appointed him as their agent to the Crown.

 

In September 1767, Franklin visited Paris with his usual traveling partner, Sir John Pringle. News of his electrical discoveries was widespread in France. His reputation meant that he was introduced to many influential scientists and politicians, and also to King Louis XV.

 

While living in London in 1768, he developed a phonetic alphabet in A Scheme for a new Alphabet and a Reformed Mode of Spelling. This reformed alphabet discarded six letters Franklin regarded as redundant (c, j, q, w, x, and y), and substituted six new letters for sounds he felt lacked letters of their own. His new alphabet, however, never caught on and he eventually lost interest.

 

In 1771, Franklin traveled extensively around the British Isles staying with, among others, Joseph Priestley and David Hume. In Dublin, Franklin was invited to sit with the members of the Irish Parliament rather than in the gallery. He was the first American to be given this honor. While touring Ireland, he was moved by the level of poverty he saw. Ireland's economy was affected by the same trade regulations and laws of Britain which governed America. Franklin feared that America could suffer the same effects should Britain’s "colonial exploitation" continue.

 

In 1773, Franklin published two of his most celebrated pro-American satirical essays: Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One, and An Edict by the King of Prussia. He also published an Abridgment of the Book of Common Prayer, anonymously with Francis Dashwood. Among the unusual features of this work is a funeral service reduced to six minutes in length, "to preserve the health and lives of the living."

 

By the time Franklin arrived in Philadelphia on May 5, 1775, the American Revolution had begun with fighting at Lexington and Concord. The New England militia had trapped the main British army in Boston. The Pennsylvania Assembly unanimously chose Franklin as their delegate to the Second Continental Congress. In June, 1776, he was appointed a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Although he was temporarily disabled by gout and unable to attend most meetings of the Committee, Franklin made several small changes to the draft sent to him by Thomas Jefferson.

 

At the signing, he is quoted as having replied to a comment by Hancock that they must all hang together: "Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."

 

In December, 1776, Franklin was dispatched to France as commissioner for the United States. He lived in a home in the Parisian suburb of Passy, donated by Jacques-Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont who supported the United States. Franklin remained in France until 1785. He conducted the affairs of his country towards the French nation with great success, which included securing a critical military alliance in 1778 and negotiating the Treaty of Paris (1783). During his stay in France, Benjamin Franklin as a freemason was Grand Master of the Lodge Les Neuf Sœurs from 1779 until 1781. His number was 24 in the Lodge. He was also a Past Grand Master of Pennsylvania. In 1784, when Franz Mesmer began to publicize his theory of "animal magnetism", which was considered offensive by many, Louis XVI appointed a commission to investigate it. These included the chemist Antoine Lavoisier, the physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, the astronomer Jean Sylvain Bailly, and Benjamin Franklin.

 

When he finally returned home in 1785, Franklin occupied a position only second to that of George Washington as the champion of American independence. Le Ray honored him with a commissioned portrait painted by Joseph Duplessis that now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. After his return, Franklin became an abolitionist, freeing both of his slaves. He eventually became president of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.

 

In 1787, Franklin served as a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention. He held an honorary position and seldom engaged in debate. He is the only Founding Father who is a signatory of all four of the major documents of the founding of the United States: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, the Treaty of Alliance with France, and the United States Constitution.

 

In 1787, a group of prominent ministers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, proposed the foundation of a new college to be named in Franklin's honor. Franklin donated £200 towards the development of Franklin College, which is now called Franklin & Marshall College.

 

Between 1771 and 1788, he finished his autobiography. While it was at first addressed to his son, it was later completed for the benefit of mankind at the request of a friend.

 

In his later years, as Congress was forced to deal with the issue of slavery, Franklin wrote several essays that attempted to convince his readers of the importance of the abolition of slavery and of the integration of blacks into American society. These writings included: An Address to the Public, (1789); A Plan for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks (1789); and Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim on the Slave Trade (1790).

 

In 1790, Quakers from New York and Pennsylvania presented their petition for abolition. Their argument against slavery was backed by the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society and its president, Benjamin Franklin.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

Nicholas Gilman, New Hampshire

Nicholas Gilman, New Hampshire

Nicholas Gilman, Jr. (August 3, 1755–May 2, 1814) was a soldier in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, a delegate to the Continental Congress, and a signer of the U.S. Constitution, representing New Hampshire. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives during the first four Congresses, and served in the U.S. Senate from 1804 until his death in 1814.

 

His brother John Taylor Gilman was also very active in New Hampshire politics, serving as Governor of New Hampshire for 14 years, as well as a principal benefactor of Phillips Exeter Academy.

 

Gilman was the second son in a family of eight children. Born during the French and Indian War, he was soon aware of the military responsibilities that went with citizenship in a New England colony. After attending local public schools, he became a clerk in his father's trading house, but the growing rift between the colonies and Great Britain quickly thrust Gilman into the struggle for independence. New England merchants in particular resented Parliament's attempt to end its "salutary neglect" of the financial and political affairs of the colonies by instituting measures to raise and to enforce the raising of revenue-measures that many Americans considered violations of their rights as British citizens. Gilman's father, along with Nathaniel Folsom and Enoch Poor, emerged as a leader of the Patriot cause in Exeter. He represented his community in the New Hampshire Provincial Congresses, which met just after hostilities broke out at Lexington and Concord in 1775 and which later drafted the one hundred and thirty eight state constitution. During the American Revolution he served as the state's treasurer. His oldest son, John, was a sergeant in Exeter's company of militia that marched to fight the Redcoats around Boston. Nicholas remained behind, but already an ardent supporter of the Patriot cause, he likely trained with the local militia regiment.

 

He was thirty-two at the constitutional convention. The state he represented is New Hampshire. Nicholas Gilman was a strong federalist.

 

In November 1776, a committee of the state legislature appointed young Nicholas Gilman to serve as adjutant, or administrative officer, of the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment. That unit was in the process of a complete reorganization under the direction of its commander, Colonel Alexander Scammel. A superb combat officer, Scammell made good use of Gilman's administrative talents in the task of creating a potent fighting force out of the limited manpower resources at hand-a combination of raw recruits from around the state and ragged veterans of the Trenton-Princeton campaign. In time the 3rd New Hampshire would be recognized as one of the mainstays of General Washington's Continental Army. Because New Hampshire lay along the major invasion route from Canada to New York, George Washington assigned its regiments a key role in the strategic defense of the northern states. In the spring of 1777 Gilman and the rest of the officers and men of the 3d New Hampshire marched to Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain to participate in an attempt by American forces to halt the advance of a powerful army of British and German regulars and Indian auxiliaries under General John Burgoyne. Difficulties in coordinating the efforts of several different states turned Gilman's first military experience into one of defeat. The veteran British troops outflanked the fort, and only at the last minute did the garrison, including the 3d New Hampshire, escape capture by making a dangerous night withdrawal.

 

The American retreat lasted through the early summer, until a combination of British transportation difficulties and delaying tactics employed by the continentals finally slowed the enemy advance. This delay allowed time for a mass mobilization of New England militia, including a New Hampshire Regiment of volunteers led by John Langdon and Gilman's father. It also provided Major General Horatio Gates with time to establish new positions near Saratoga, New York, to block Burgoyne's further advance, and then, once Gates had a numerical advantage, to cut off the British line of withdrawal to Canada. During this campaign Gilman was busily employed in supervising the training and readiness of Scammell's men. He participated with his unit in two important battles at Freeman's Farm, where Burgoyne's units were so pummeled that "Gentleman Johnny" was eventually forced to surrender his whole army.

 

Neither Gilman nor Scammell was granted a respite after this great victory. Less than a week after the British surrender, the 3rd New Hampshire set out to reinforce Washington's main army near Philadelphia. The American capital had recently fallen to a larger British force, and the New Englanders had to spend a harsh winter in the snows of Valley Forge. That winter encampment put the units of the Continental Army to their supreme test, a time of suffering and deprivation from which they emerged as a tough, professional combat team. Gilman's administrative skills came to the fore at this time. When Washington selected Colonel Scammell to serve as the Continental Army's Adjutant General, Scammell made Gilman his assistant. Promotion to the rank of captain followed in June 1778.

 

For the remainder of the war Gilman found himself in close proximity to the military leaders of the Continental Army. His duties in carrying out the myriad tasks necessary to keep a force in the field placed him in daily contact with Washington, Steuben, Knox, Greene, and others. He personally saw action in the remaining battles fought by Washington's main army, including Monmouth and Yorktown, while continuing to hold his captain's commission in the New Hampshire Line. The death of Colonel Scammell, however, during the preliminary skirmishing before Yorktown robbed him of much of the joy of that great victory. Following the death of his father in late 1783, he retired from military service and returned to Exeter to assume control of the family's business.

 

Gilman's career as merchant proved short-lived. His career as statesman continued for decades. Gilman's service as a Continental Army officer had exposed him to many of the ideas of such prominent nationalists as Washington and Alexander Hamilton. Their influence, his family's own tradition of service, and his special skill at organization all combined to divert the young veteran into a political career. In 1786 the New Hampshire legislature appointed Gilman to the Continental Congress. He was also selected in 1786 to represent the state at the Annapolis Convention. Although he was unable to attend, his selection recognized Gilman's emergence as a nationalist spokesman, since the convention had been called specifically to address the country's serious economic problems and the inability of the separate states or Congress to solve them.

 

The outbreak of unrest and latent insurrection in western Massachusetts in late 1786 further strengthened Gilman's commitment to changing the Articles of Confederation. He was pleased to serve his state as a representative at the Constitutional Convention that met in July 1787. Although he and fellow New Hampshire delegate John Langdon, his father's former commanding officer, reached Philadelphia after the proceedings were well under way, they both immediately joined in the debates and helped hammer out the compromises needed to produce a document that might win approval in every state and region.

 

During the subsequent struggle to secure New Hampshire's ratification of the Constitution, Gilman remained in New York as a member of the Continental Congress, but he kept in close touch with his brother, John, who was one of the leaders of the states ratification forces. Working in tandem, the brothers used all of their considerable political influence to engineer a narrow 57-47 margin of victory in the final vote.

 

When the First Congress of the new United States of America convened in New York in 1789, Gilman was in attendance as a member of the House of Representatives, a seat he filled for four terms. During this period the Gilman brothers became a feature of New Hampshire politics. John Gilman became governor, a post he would hold for fourteen terms, while a younger brother embarked on a career in the state legislature. After returning to Exeter, Nicholas Gilman resumed his own political career in 1800, serving a term as state senator.

 

During this time Gilman's political loyalties began to change. Ever a staunch nationalist, he had supported the Federalists while that party led the fight for a more binding union of the states. But once that concept was firmly established, Gilman became increasingly concerned with the need to protect the common man from abuses of power by government. As a consequence, he gave his support to the Democratic-Republican party that was beginning to form around Thomas Jefferson. In 1801 he accepted appointment from Jefferson as a federal bankruptcy commissioner. Following one unsuccessful attempt, he was then elected to the United States Senate in 1804 as a Jeffersonian. Although the New Hampshire Yankee rarely spoke at length in legislative debate, his peers recognized his political prowess. He remained an influential member of the Senate until his death in 1814, which occurred while he was returning home from Washington during a recess.

 

Gilman summarized his belief in the importance of a strong national government on the day after he signed the Constitution. He called the new supreme law of the land "the best that could meet the unanimous concurrence of the States in Convention; it was done by bargain and Compromise, yet, notwithstanding its imperfections, on the adoption of it depends (in my feeble judgment) whether we shall become a respectable nation, or a people torn to pieces ... and rendered contemptible for ages." These modest words typified this eminently practical Soldier-Statesman. Yet his modesty failed to mask the justifiable pride he obviously felt in the accomplishment of the Founding Fathers. Gilman himself had played no small part.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

Nathaniel Gorham, Massachusetts

Nathaniel Gorham, Massachusetts

Nathaniel Gorham (May 27, 1738 – June 11, 1796) was the eighth President of the United States in Congress assembled, under the Articles of Confederation. He served from June 1786 to November 13, 1786. He was preceded in office by John Hancock and succeeded by Arthur St. Clair.

 

Gorham was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He took part in public affairs at the beginning of the American Revolution, was a member of the Massachusetts General Court (Legislature) from 1771 until 1775, a delegate to the Provincial Congress from 1774 until 1775, and a member of the Board of War from 1778 until its dissolution in 1781. In 1779 he served in the State constitutional convention. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1782 until 1783, and also from 1785 until 1787. Gorham also served a term as judge of the Middlesex County, Massachusetts Court of Common Pleas.

 

For several months in 1787, Gorham served as one of the Massachusetts delegates to the United States Constitutional Convention. Gorham frequently served as Chairman of the Convention's Committee of the Whole, meaning that he (rather than the President of the Convention, George Washington) presided over convention sessions during the delegates' first deliberations on the structure of the new government in late May and June of 1787. After the convention, he worked hard to see that the Constitution was approved in his home state.

 

In connection with Oliver Phelps, he purchased from the state of Massachusetts in 1788 pre-emption rights to an immense tract of land in western New York State which straddled the Genesee River, all for the sum of $1,000,000 (the Phelps and Gorham Purchase). The land in question had been previously ceded to Massachusetts from the state of New York under the 1786 Treaty of Hartford. The pre-emption right gave them the first or preemptive right to obtain clear title to this land from the Indians. They soon extinguished the Indian title to the portion of the land east of the Genesee River, as well as a 185,000 acre (749 km²) tract west of the Genesee The Mill Yard Tract), surveyed all of it, laid out townships, and sold large parts to speculators and settlers. In 1790, after they defaulted in payment, they sold nearly all of their unsold lands east of the Genesee to Robert Morris, who eventually resold those lands to The Pulteney Association. Phelps and Gorham were unable to fulfill their contract in full to Massachusetts, so in 1790, they surrendered back to Massachusetts that portion of the lands which remained under the Indian title, namely, the land west of the Genesee. It also was eventually acquired by Robert Morris, who resold most of it to The Holland Land Company. Morris did keep 500,000 acres (2,000 km²) for himself, and that land became known as The Morris Reserve.

 

Gorham died in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1796.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

Alexander Hamilton, New York

Alexander Hamilton, New YorkAlexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 – July 12, 1804) was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, a Founding Father, economist, and political philosopher. He led calls for the Philadelphia Convention, was one of America's first Constitutional lawyers, and cowrote the Federalist Papers, a primary source for Constitutional interpretation.

 

Born on the British West Indian island of Nevis, Hamilton was educated in the Thirteen Colonies. During the American Revolutionary War, he joined the New York militia and was chosen artillery captain. Hamilton became senior aide-de-camp and confidant to General George Washington, and led three battalions at the Siege of Yorktown. He was elected to the Continental Congress, but resigned to practice law and to found the Bank of New York. He served in the New York Legislature, and was the only New Yorker who signed the Constitution. As Washington's Treasury Secretary, he influenced formative government policy widely. An admirer of British political systems, Hamilton emphasized strong central government and implied powers, under which the new U.S. Congress funded the national debt, assumed state debts, created a national bank, and established an import tariff and whiskey tax.

 

By 1792, a Hamilton coalition and a Jefferson–Madison coalition had arisen (the formative Federalist and Democratic-Republican Parties), which differed strongly over Hamilton's domestic fiscal goals and his foreign policy of extensive trade and friendly relations with Britain. Exposed in an affair with Maria Reynolds, Hamilton resigned from the Treasury in 1795 to return to Constitutional law and advocacy of strong federalism. In 1798, the Quasi-War with France led Hamilton to argue for, organize, and become de facto commander of a national army.

 

Hamilton's opposition to fellow Federalist John Adams contributed to the success of Democratic-Republicans Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr in the uniquely deadlocked election of 1800. With his party's defeat, Hamilton's nationalist and industrializing ideas lost their former national prominence. In 1801, Hamilton founded the New York Post as the Federalist broadsheet New York Evening Post. His intense rivalry with Vice President Burr eventually resulted in a duel, in which Hamilton was mortally wounded, dying the following day.

 

While on Washington's staff, Hamilton became frustrated with the decentralized nature of the wartime Continental Congress, particularly its dependence upon the states for financial support: it had no power to collect taxes, or to demand money from the states; this had caused serious problems in Army supplies and pay. Congress had given up printing unsupported paper money back in September 1779; it obtained what money it had from subsidies from the King of France, aid requested from the several states (which were often unable or unwilling to contribute), and loans from Europe against these uncertain revenues. After Yorktown, Hamilton resigned his commission. He was elected to the Congress of the Confederation as a New York representative beginning in November 1782; he supported such Congressmen as superintendent of finance Robert Morris, his assistant Gouverneur Morris (no relation), James Wilson, and James Madison, who had already been trying to provide the Congress with an independent source of revenue it lacked under the Articles of Confederation.

 

An amendment to the Articles had been proposed by Thomas Burke, in February 1781, to give Congress the power to collect a 5% impost or duty on all imports, but this required ratification by all states; securing its passage as law proved impossible after it was rejected by Rhode Island in November 1782. Madison joined Hamilton in convincing Congress to send a delegation to persuade Rhode Island to change its mind. Their report recommending the delegation also argued that the federal government needed not just some level of financial autonomy, but also the ability to make laws that supersede those of the individual states. Hamilton transmitted a letter arguing that Congress already had the power to tax, since it had the power to fix the sums due from the several states; but Virginia's rescission of its own ratification ended Rhode Island negotiations.

 

While Hamilton was in Congress, discontented soldiers began to pose a danger to the young United States. Most of the army was then posted at Newburgh, New York. The army was paying for much of their own supplies, and they had not been paid in eight months. Furthermore, the Continental officers had been promised, in May 1778, after Valley Forge, a pension of half their pay when they were discharged. It was at this time that a group of officers organized under the leadership of General Henry Knox sent a delegation to lobby Congress, led by Capt. Alexander MacDougall (see above). The officers had three demands: the Army's pay, their own pensions, and commutation of those pensions into a lump-sum payment.

 

Several Congressmen, including Hamilton and the Morrises, attempted to use this Newburgh conspiracy as leverage to secure independent support for funding for the federal government in Congress and from the states. They encouraged MacDougall to continue his aggressive approach, threatening unknown consequences if their demands were not granted, and defeated proposals which would have resolved the crisis without establishing general federal taxation: that the states assume the debt to the army, or that an impost be established dedicated to the sole purpose of paying that debt. Hamilton suggested using the Army's claims to prevail upon the states for the proposed national funding system. The Morrises and Hamilton contacted Knox to suggest he and the officers defy civil authority, at least by not disbanding if the army were not satisfied; Hamilton wrote Washington to suggest that he covertly "take direction" of the officers' efforts to secure redress, to secure continental funding but keep the army within the limits of moderation. Washington wrote Hamilton back, declining to introduce the army; after the crisis was over, he warned of the dangers of using the army as leverage to gain support for the national funding plan.

 

On March 15, Washington defused the Newburgh situation by giving a speech to the officers. Congress ordered the Army officially disbanded in April 1783. In the same month, Congress passed a new measure for a twenty-five-year impost, which Hamilton voted against, and which again required the consent of all the states; it also approved a commutation of the officers' pensions to five years of full pay. Rhode Island again opposed these provisions, and Hamilton's robust assertions of national prerogatives in his previous letter offended many. The Continental Congress was never able to secure full ratification for back pay, pensions, or their own independent sources of funding.

 

In June 1783, a different group of disgruntled soldiers from Lancaster, Pennsylvania sent Congress a petition demanding their back pay. When they began to march toward Philadelphia, Congress charged Hamilton and two others to intercept the mob. Hamilton requested militia from Pennsylvania's Supreme Executive Council, but was turned down. Hamilton instructed Assistant Secretary of War William Jackson to intercept the men. Jackson was unsuccessful. The mob arrived in Philadelphia, and proceeded to harangue Congress for their pay. The President of Congress, John Dickinson, feared the Pennsylvania state militia was unreliable, and refused their help. Hamilton argued that Congress ought to adjourn to Princeton, New Jersey. Congress agreed, and relocated there.

 

Frustrated with the weakness of the central government, Hamilton drafted a call to revise the Articles of Confederation while in Princeton. This resolution contained many features of the future U.S. Constitution, including a strong federal government with the ability to collect taxes and raise an army. It also included the separation of powers into the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.

 

Hamilton resigned from Congress, and in July 1783 was admitted to the New York Bar after several months of self-directed education. He soon began a law practice in New York City. He specialized in defending Tories and British subjects, as in Rutgers v. Waddington, in which he defeated a claim for damages done to a brewery by the Englishmen who held it during the military occupation of New York. He pleaded that the Mayor's Court should interpret state law to be consistent with the 1783 Treaty of Paris, which had ended the Revolutionary War.

 

In 1784, he founded the Bank of New York, now the oldest ongoing banking organization in the United States. Hamilton was one of the men who restored King's College, which had been suspended since the Battle of Long Island in 1776 and severely damaged during the War, as Columbia College. His public career resumed when he attended the Annapolis Convention as a delegate in 1786. While there, he drafted its resolution for a Constitutional convention, and in doing so brought his longtime desire to have a more powerful, more financially independent federal government one step closer to reality.

 

In 1787, Hamilton served as assemblyman from New York County in the New York State Legislature and was the first delegate chosen to the Constitutional Convention. In spite of the fact that Hamilton had been a leader in calling for a new Constitutional Convention, his direct influence at the Convention itself was quite limited. Governor George Clinton's faction in the New York legislature had chosen New York's other two delegates, John Lansing and Robert Yates, and both of them opposed Hamilton's goal of a strong national government. Thus, while the other two members of the New York delegation were present, they decided New York's vote; and when they left the convention in protest, Hamilton remained with no vote (two representatives were required for any state to cast a vote).

 

Early in the Convention he made a speech proposing what many considered a very monarchical government for the United States. Though regarded as one of his most eloquent speeches, it had little effect upon the deliberations of the convention. He proposed to have an elected President and elected Senators who would serve for life contingent upon "good behavior", and subject to removal for corruption or abuse; this idea contributed later to the view of Hamilton as a monarchist sympathizer, held by Madison (secretary of the Convention) and his friends.

 

During the convention, Hamilton constructed a draft for the Constitution on the basis of the convention debates, but he never actually presented it. This draft had most of the features of the actual Constitution, including such details as the three-fifths clause. In this draft, the Senate was to be elected in proportion to population, being two-fifths the size of the House, and the President and Senators were to be elected through complex multistage elections, in which chosen electors would elect smaller bodies of electors; they would hold office for life, but were removable for misconduct. The President would have an absolute veto. The Supreme Court was to have immediate jurisdiction over all law suits involving the United States, and State governors were to be appointed by the federal government.

 

At the end of the Convention, Hamilton was still not content with the final form of the Constitution, but signed it anyway as a vast improvement over the Articles of Confederation, and urged his fellow delegates to do so also. Since the other two members of the New York delegation, Lansing and Yates, had already withdrawn, Hamilton was the only New York signer to the United States Constitution. He then took a highly active part in the successful campaign for the document's ratification in New York in 1788, which was a crucial step in its national ratification. Hamilton recruited John Jay and James Madison to write a defense of the proposed Constitution, now known as the Federalist Papers, and made the largest contribution to that effort, writing 51 of 85 essays published (Madison wrote 29, Jay only five). Hamilton's essays and arguments were influential in New York state, and elsewhere, during the debates over ratification. The Federalist Papers are more often cited than any other primary source by jurists, lawyers, historians and political scientists as the major contemporary interpretation of the Constitution.

 

In 1788, Hamilton served yet another term in what proved to be the last time the Continental Congress met under the Articles of Confederation. He remained involved in the politics of New York: the ratification of the Constitution had been a success for two of the family cliques which constituted New York State politics, against a third, that led by George Clinton; the Legislature of 1789 had a majority of those two factions, one led by Hamilton's father-in-law, the other by the Livingston family. They had agreed to each select one of New York's first Senators: Phillip Schuyler was to be one, and James Duane, whose wife was a Livingston, was to be the other. Hamilton, however, persuaded the Legislature to elect Schuyler and his friend Rufus King, instead. The Livingstons responded by breaking the alliance and supporting the Clintons instead; this new coalition was to be the basis for the Democratic-Republican Party in New York. When Phillip Schuyler's term ended in 1791, they began by electing, in his place, the attorney-general of New York, one Aaron Burr. Hamilton blamed Burr for this result, and ill characterizations of Burr appear in his correspondence thereafter, although they did work together from time to time on various projects, including Hamilton's army of 1798 and the Manhattan Water Company.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

Jared Ingersoll, Pennsylvania

Jared Ingersoll, Pennsylvania

Jared Ingersoll (October 24, 1749 – October 31, 1822) was an early American lawyer and statesman from Philadelphia. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress and signed the U.S. Constitution for Pennsylvania. He joined DeWitt Clinton on the Federalist Party ticket for the U.S. presidential election, 1812, but was defeated by James Madison and Elbridge Gerry. Ingersoll also served as Pennsylvania state attorney general, 1791-1800 and 1811-1816 and as the United States Attorney for Pennsylvania, 1800-1801.

 

Jared Ingersoll overcame the strong influence of his Loyalist father to become a supporter of the Revolutionary cause. His training as a lawyer convinced him that the problems of the newly independent states were caused by the inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation. He became an early and ardent proponent of constitutional reform, although, like a number of his colleagues at the Constitutional Convention, he believed this reform could be achieved by a simple revision of the Articles. Only after weeks of debate did he come to see that a new document was necessary. Ironically, his major contribution to the cause of constitutional government came not during the Convention, but later during a lengthy and distinguished legal career when he helped define many of the principles enunciated at Philadelphia.

 

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Ingersoll was the son of a prominent British official, whose strong Loyalist sentiments would lead to his being tarred and feathered by radical Patriots. Ingersoll graduated from Yale College in 1766, studied law in Philadelphia, and was admitted to the bar in 1773. Although by training and inclination a Patriot sympathizer, the young Ingersoll shied away from the cause at the outset because of a strong sense of personal loyalty to his distinguished father. On his father's advice, he sought to escape the growing political controversy at home by retiring to London to continue his study of the law at the Middle Temple (1773-76) and to tour extensively through Europe. But shortly after the colonies declared their independence, Ingersoll renounced his family's views, made his personal commitment to the cause of independence, and returned home. In 1778 he arrived in Philadelphia as a confirmed Patriot. With the help of influential friends he quickly established a flourishing law practice, and shortly thereafter he entered the fray as a delegate to the Continental Congress (1780-81). Always a supporter of strong central authority in political affairs, he became a leading agitator for reforming the national government in the postwar years, preaching the need for change to his friends in Congress and to the legal community.

 

During his time in Connecticut he was a supporter and area collector for The Stamp Act. Until the resistance from New England began to spread and colonist uproar began. Angry colonists met Ingersoll on the roads outside of Hartford. It is there that the protesters demanded his resignation. They accompanied him to Hartford where he publicly renounced his title and is said to have thrown off his periwig, and cheered for liberty to the delight of the crowd.

 

At the Convention, Ingersoll was counted among those who favored revision of the existing Articles of Confederation, but in the end he joined with the majority and supported a plan for a new federal government. Despite his national reputation as an attorney, Ingersoll seldom participated in the Convention debates, although he attended all sessions.

 

Once the new national government was created, Ingersoll returned to the law. Except for a few excursions into politics—he was a member of Philadelphia's Common Council (1789) and, as a stalwart Federalist who considered the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800 a "great subversion;' he ran unsuccessfully for Vice President on the Federalist ticket in 1812—his public career centered on legal affairs. He served as attorney general of Pennsylvania (1790-99 and 1811-17), as Philadelphia's city solicitor (1798-1801), and as U.S. district attorney for Pennsylvania (1800-1801). For a brief period (1821-22) he sat as presiding judge of the Philadelphia district court. His major contribution to the cause of constitutional government came not during the Convention, but later during a lengthy and distinguished legal career when he helped define many of the principles enunciated at Philadelphia.

 

Ingersoll contributed to the constitutional process through his involvement in several key Supreme Court cases that defined basic points in constitutional law during the early years of the new republic. For example, he represented Georgia in Chisholm v. Georgia (1793), a landmark case in states' rights. Here the court decided against him, ruling that a state may be sued in federal court by a citizen of another state. This reversal of the notion of state sovereignty was later rescinded by the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution. In representing Hylton in Hylton v. US (1796), Ingersoll was also involved in the first legal challenge to the constitutionality of an act of Congress. In this case, the Supreme Court upheld the government's right to impose a tax on carriages. Ingersoll also served as counsel in various cases that helped clarify constitutional issues concerning the jurisdiction of federal courts and U.S. relations with other sovereign nations, including defending Senator William Blount of Tennessee against impeachment.

 

Jared Ingersoll died in Philadelphia and is interred at the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery. The cause of his death is unknown.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

 

 

Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Maryland

Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Maryland

Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer (1723 – 16 November 1790) was a politician and a Founding Father of the United States. Born long before conflicts with Great Britain emerged, he was a leader for many years in Maryland's colonial government. However, when conflict arose with Great Britain, he embraced the Patriot cause, willingly abandoning the ordered society of colonial Maryland for the uncertainty of revolution.

 

Jenifer, born at Coates Retirement (now Ellerslie), an estate west of Port Tobacco in Charles County, Maryland, was the son of a colonial planter of Swedish and English descent. As a young man, he acted as a receiver-general, the local financial agent for the last two proprietors of Maryland.

 

Jenifer served as justice of the peace for Charles County and later for the western circuit of Maryland. He sat on a commission that settled a boundary dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland (1760) and on the Governor's Council, the upper house of the Maryland legislature that also served as the colony's court of appeals and as a board of senior advisers to the governor (1773–76).

 

Despite his close ties with the colonial government, Jenifer strongly resented what he and most of the colonial gentry saw as Parliament's arbitrary interference with the colonies' affairs, especially its laws concerning taxation and trade regulation. Years before the struggle for independence began, he had defended the proprietors of Maryland against those who sought to make Maryland a Royal colony, and when the Revolution came he lent his considerable support as a wealthy landowner to the Patriot cause, despite the fact that many leading Patriots had been his enemies in the proprietorship struggle. He became the president of Maryland's Council of Safety, the Patriot body established to organize Maryland's military forces for the Revolution (1775–77). When, in 1776, a new constitution was framed for the state of Maryland, Jenifer commented on the document's neglect of popular sovereignty: "The Senate does not appear to me to be a Child of the people at Large, and therefore will not be Supported by them longer than there Subsists the most perfect Union between the different Legislative branches." He represented his state in the Continental Congress (1778–82) while simultaneously serving as president of the state's first senate (1777–80). As manager of the state's finances between 1782 and 1785, he drew on his experiences as a landholder to help the state survive the critical postwar economic depression.

 

During these years, Jenifer became increasingly concerned with national affairs. Along with James Madison, John Dickinson, and his good friend George Washington, he began to explore ways to solve the economic and political problems that had arisen under the weak Articles of Confederation. Consequently, he attended the Mount Vernon Conference, a meeting that would lead eventually to the Constitutional Convention.

 

Like his old friend Benjamin Franklin, Jenifer enjoyed the status of elder statesman at the Philadelphia Convention. He took stands on several important issues, although his advanced age restricted his activity in the day-to-day proceedings. Business experience gained while managing a large plantation had convinced him that an active central government was needed to ensure financial and commercial stability. To that end, he favored a strong and permanent union of the states in which a Congress representing the people had the power to tax. Concerned with continuity in the new government, he favored a three-year term for the House of Representatives. Too frequent elections, he concluded, might lead to indifference and would make prominent men unwilling to seek office. Jenifer was outvoted on this point, but his reaction was to marvel at the delegates' ability to come to agreement on a plan of government: "The first month we only came to grips, and the second it seemed as though we would fly apart forever, however we came as close as friends of eighty years in but days."

 

One of the oldest delegates in Philadelphia, he used his prestige to work for a strong and permanent union of the states. Contemporaries noted his good humor and pleasant company, which won him many friends at the Convention. When Luther Martin, who refused to sign the document, said that he feared being hanged if the people of Maryland approved the Constitution, Jenifer told him, humorously, that Martin should stay in Philadelphia, so that he would not hang in his home state. Along with Benjamin Franklin, Jenifer used laughter to help reconcile the opposing views of the delegates and to formulate the compromises that made the Convention a success.

 

After the Convention, Jenifer retired to Stepney, his great plantation near Annapolis, where he died in 1790. In his will, he passed his roughly 16,000-acre (65 km2) land holdings to his nephew, Daniel Jenifer, and instructed that all his slaves be freed six years after his death. His family home was Retreat, located in Charles County, Maryland.

 

The source of this article is Wikipedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

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