Main Page | Recent changes | View source | Page history

Printable version | Disclaimers | Privacy policy

Not logged in
Log in | Help

Bios:Founding Fathers

From dKosopedia

Answers to common questions are often just a few keystrokes away; this is one of the benefits of living in the information age.

I confess to being curious about what history had to say about our much vaunted ‘founding fathers’ and found much smaller group of individuals were involved in this undertaking than I originally thought.

On September 17, 1787, the Constitutional Convention came to a close in the Assembly Room of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There were seventy individuals chosen to attend the meetings with the initial purpose of amending the Articles of Confederation. Rhode Island opted to not send any delegates. Fifty-five men attended most of the meetings, there were never more than forty-six present at any one time, and ultimately only thirty-nine delegates actually signed the Constitution. (William Jackson, who was the secretary of the convention, but not a delegate, also signed the Constitution. John Delaware was absent but had another delegate sign for him.) While offering incredible contributions, George Mason of Virginia, Edmund Randolph of Virginia, and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts refused to sign the final document because of basic philosophical differences. Mainly, they were fearful of an all-powerful government and wanted a bill of rights added to protect the rights of the people.

click here to view the full source of these facts and more.

Fascinating Facts about the U.S. Constitution The U.S. Constitution has 4,440 words. It is the oldest and the shortest written constitution of any government in the world.

Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution. He was in France during the Convention, where he served as the U.S. minister. John Adams was serving as the U.S. minister to Great Britain during the Constitutional Convention and did not attend either.

The Constitution does not set forth requirements for the right to vote. As a result, at the outset of the Union, only male property-owners could vote. African Americans were not considered citizens, and women were excluded from the electoral process. Native Americans were not given the right to vote until 1924.

James Madison, “the father of the Constitution,” was the first to arrive in Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention. He arrived in February, three months before the convention began, bearing the blueprint for the new Constitution.

Of the forty-two delegates who attended most of the meetings, thirty-nine actually signed the Constitution. Edmund Randolph and George Mason of Virginia and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts refused to sign due in part to the lack of a bill of rights.

When it came time for the states to ratify the Constitution, the lack of any bill of rights was the primary sticking point.

The Great Compromise saved the Constitutional Convention, and, probably, the Union. Authored by Connecticut delegate Roger Sherman, it called for proportional representation in the House, and one representative per state in the Senate (this was later changed to two.) The compromise passed 5-to-4, with one state, Massachusetts, “divided.”

Patrick Henry was elected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but declined, because he “smelt a rat.”

Because of his poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did so, tears streamed down his face.

Gouverneur Morris was largely responsible for the “wording” of the Constitution, although there was a Committee of Style formed in September 1787.

The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin (81). The youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey (26).

When the Constitution was signed, the United States’ population was 4 million. It is now more than 300 million. Philadelphia was the nation’s largest city, with 40,000 inhabitants.

A proclamation by President George Washington and a congressional resolution established the first national Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1789. The reason for the holiday was to give “thanks” for the new Constitution.

The first time the formal term “The United States of America” was used was in the Declaration of Independence.

It took one hundred days to actually “frame” the Constitution.

There was initially a question as to how to address the President. The Senate proposed that he be addressed as “His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties.” Both the House of Representatives and the Senate compromised on the use of “President of the United States.”

Not a very auspicious start for a group purported to be such staunch defenders of liberty, justice and equality…can you imagine the public’s reaction to our elected ‘representatives’ addressing the president as Your Highness, much less your Majesty or his Excellency? James Wilson originally proposed the President be chosen by popular vote, but the delegates agreed (after 60 ballots) on a system known as the Electoral College. Although there have been 500 proposed amendments to change it, this “indirect” system of electing the president is still intact.

George Washington and James Madison were the only presidents who signed the Constitution.

James Madison was the only delegate to attend every meeting. He took detailed notes of the various discussions and debates that took place during the convention. The journal that he kept during the Constitutional Convention was kept secret until after he died. It (along with other papers) was purchased by the government in 1837 at a price of $30,000 that would be $404,828.99 today). The journal was published in 1840.

On March 24, 1788, a popular election was held in Rhode Island to determine the ratification status of the new Constitution. The vote was 237 in favor and 2,945 opposed!

The word “democracy” does not appear once in the Constitution.

The delegates were involved in debates from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. six days a week with only a 10-day break during the duration of the convention. {nice hours when you can get them! let’s not forget these were lawyers, merchants and gentlemen farmers, five hours my well have been considered ‘a full day’ for this lot!}

From 1804 to 1865 there were no amendments added to the Constitution until the end of the Civil War when the Thirteenth amendment was added that abolished slavery. This was the longest period in American history in which there were no changes to our Constitution.

As evidence of its continued flexibility, the Constitution has only been changed seventeen times since 1791!

The main reason for the meeting in Philadelphia was to revise the Articles of Confederation. However, the delegates soon concluded that it would be necessary to write an entirely new Constitution. They agreed to conduct the meetings in secrecy by stationing guards at the door to the Pennsylvania state house. When one delegate dropped a convention document, Chairman George Washington replied, “I must entreat the gentlemen to be more careful, lest our transactions get into the newspapers and disturb the public repose.”

Disturb the public’s repose? What, pray tell, could our founding fathers have been trying to hide and more importantly, from whom were they hiding it? Was this the founding of a nation or the theft of it?

The end result of the Constitution is the establishment of a government that placed itself beyond the control of the average citizen. Not only by depriving them of their right to vote directly on the issues but by purposefully neglecting to include any mechanism whereby the elect could be held responsible for their actions or failure of the same.

James Madison of Virginia was responsible for proposing the resolution to create the various Cabinet positions within the Executive Branch of our government and twelve amendments to the Constitution of which ten became the Bill of Rights.

Of the fifty-five delegates who attended the convention 34 were lawyers, 8 had signed the Declaration of Independence, and almost half were Revolutionary War veterans…many of these so-called ‘veterans’ never saw action.

The remaining members were planters, educators, ministers, physicians, financiers, judges and merchants. About a quarter of them were large land owners and all of them held some type of public office (39 were former Congressmen and 8 were present or past governors).

All were former or current public servants…nothing like putting the fox in charge of building a new hen house. Furthermore, every signatory, at the time of their service, was a man of means. Which is to say there weren’t no poor folk [or even working class folk] at the Constitutional Convention.

Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts was opposed to the office of vice president. “The close intimacy that must subsist between the President and Vice President makes it absolutely improper.” However, he put his feelings aside and became Vice President under James Madison!

When Paul Revere learned that Sam Adams and John Hancock were reluctant to offer their support for the Constitution during the ratification fight, he organized the Boston mechanics into a powerful force and worked behind the scenes for the successful approval by the Massachusetts convention.

Two of this nation’s most revered patriots were opposed to the Constitution, what does that tell you?

The term “others” is used in the Constitution to categorize ethnic minorities.

It apparently didn’t refer to women at all. So much for ‘fun facts’, the following is a list of who signed this historic document and what happened to them afterwards



William S. Johnson (1727-1819)—He became the president of Columbia College (formerly known as King’s College), and was then appointed as a United States Senator in 1789. He resigned from the Senate in 1791 to return to Columbia. He retired from education in 1800. More: William Samuel Johnson was the son of Samuel Johnson, the first president of King's College (later Columbia College and University). William was born at Stratford, CT, in 1727. His father, who was a well-known Anglican clergyman-philosopher, prepared him for college and he graduated from Yale in 1744. About 3 years later he won a master of arts degree from the same institution and an honorary master's from Harvard.

Resisting his father's wish that he become a minister, Johnson embraced law instead--largely by educating himself and without benefit of formal training. After admittance to the bar, he launched a practice in Stratford, representing clients from nearby New York State as well as Connecticut, and before long he established business connections with various mercantile houses in New York City. In 1749, adding to his already substantial wealth, he married Anne Beach, daughter of a local businessman. The couple was to have five daughters and six sons, but many of them died at an early age.

Johnson finally decided to work for peace between Britain and the colonies and to oppose the extremist Whig faction. On that basis, he refused to participate in the First Continental Congress, to which he was elected in 1774, following service as a judge of the Connecticut colonial supreme court (1772-74). When hostilities broke out, he confined his activities to peacemaking efforts. In April 1775 Connecticut sent him and another emissary to speak to British Gen. Thomas Gage about ending the bloodshed. But the time was not ripe for negotiations and they failed. Johnson fell out of favor with radical patriot elements who gained the ascendancy in Connecticut government and they no longer called upon his service. Although he was arrested in 1779 on charges of communicating with the enemy, he cleared himself and was released.

Once the passions of war had ebbed, Johnson resumed his political career. In the Continental Congress (1785-87), he was one of the most influential and popular delegates. Playing a major role in the Constitutional Convention, he missed no sessions after arriving on June 2; espoused the Connecticut Compromise; and chaired the Committee of Style, which shaped the final document.

Johnson took part in the new government, in the U.S. Senate where he contributed to passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789. In 1791, the year after the government moved from New York to Philadelphia, he resigned mainly because he preferred to devote all his energies to the presidency of Columbia College (1787-1800), in New York City. During these years, he established the school on a firm basis and recruited a fine faculty.

Let’s call Mr. Johnson a Tory lawyer and Blueblood number one.

Roger Sherman (1721-1793)—He campaigned strongly for the ratification of the Constitution and served as a United States Representative (1789-1791) and Senator (1791-1793) until his death in 1793 at the age of 72.

In 1723, when Sherman was 2 years of age, his family relocated from his Newton, MA, birthplace to Dorchester (present Stoughton). As a boy, he was spurred by a desire to learn and read widely in his spare time to supplement his minimal education at a common school. But he spent most of his waking hours helping his father with farming chores and learning the cobbler's trade from him. In 1743, 2 years after his father's death, Sherman joined an elder brother who had settled in New Milford, CT.

Purchasing a store, becoming a county surveyor, and winning a variety of town offices, Sherman prospered and assumed leadership in the community. In 1749 he married Elizabeth Hartwell, by whom he had seven children. Without benefit of a formal legal education, he was admitted to the bar in 1754 and embarked upon a distinguished judicial and political career. In the period 1755-61, except for a brief interval, he served as a representative in the colonial legislature and held the offices of justice of the peace and county judge. Somehow he also eked out time to publish an essay on monetary theory and a series of almanacs incorporating his own astronomical observations and verse.

Although on the edge of insolvency, mainly because of wartime losses, Sherman could not resist the lure of national service. In 1787 he represented his state at the Constitutional Convention, and attended practically every session. Not only did he sit on the Committee on Postponed Matters, but he also probably helped draft the New Jersey Plan and was a prime mover behind the Connecticut, or Great Compromise, which broke the deadlock between the large and small states over representation. He was, in addition, instrumental in Connecticut's ratification of the Constitution.

Sherman concluded his career by serving in the U.S. House of Representatives (1789-91) and Senate (1791-93), where he espoused the Federalist cause.

This guy is as close as we come to working class roots as this son of a cobbler eventually became a member of the merchant class before progressing to become…lawyer number two.


Richard Bassett (1745-1815)—He was appointed as a United States Senator from Delaware (1789-1793), and was instrumental in the organization of the Judiciary of the United States. He favored moving the nation’s capital from New York City to Washington, D.C., and was opposed to Alexander Hamilton’s plan of the assumption of state debts by the federal government. After his retirement from the Senate, he devoted the rest of his life to public affairs in Delaware. He was elected governor of Delaware (1799-1801).

More: Bassett (Basset) was born in Cecil County, MD., in April 1745. After his tavern-keeper father deserted his mother, he was reared by a relative, Peter Lawson, from whom he later inherited Bohemia Manor (MD.) estate. He read for the law at Philadelphia and in 1770 received a license to practice in Dover, DE. He prospered as a lawyer and planter, and eventually came to own not only Bohemia Manor, but homes in Dover and Wilmington as well.

At the U.S. Constitutional Convention the next year, Bassett attended diligently but made no speeches, served on no committees, and cast no critical votes. Like several other delegates of estimable reputation and talent, he allowed others to make the major steps.

Mr. Bassett makes blueblood number two,(despite the hard luck story of his birth) lawyer number three and thumb twiddler number one…of many.

Gunning Bedford, Jr. (1747-1812)—President Washington appointed him the first United States district judge for the state of Delaware in 1789, a position he held until his death in 1812.

More: Bedford was born in 1747 at Philadelphia and reared there. The fifth of seven children, he was descended from a distinguished family that originally settled in Jamestown, VA. He usually referred to himself as Gunning Bedford, Jr., to avoid confusion with his cousin and contemporary Delaware statesman and soldier, Col. Gunning Bedford.

In 1771 signer Bedford graduated with honors from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton), where he was a classmate of James Madison.

After reading law with Joseph Read in Philadelphia, Bedford won admittance to the bar and set up a practice. Subsequently, he moved to Dover and then to Wilmington. He apparently served in the Continental Army, possibly as an aide to General Washington.

Following the war, Bedford figured prominently in the politics of his state and nation. He sat in the legislature, on the state council, and in the Continental Congress (1783-85). In the latter year, he was chosen as a delegate to the Annapolis Convention but for some reason did not attend. From 1784 to 1789 he was attorney general of Delaware.

Bedford numbered among the more active members of the Constitutional Convention, and he missed few sessions. A large and forceful man, he spoke on several occasions and was a member of the committee that drafted the Great Compromise. An ardent small-state advocate, he attacked the pretensions of the large states over the small and warned that the latter might be forced to seek foreign alliances unless their interests were accommodated. He attended the Delaware ratifying convention.

In 1789 Washington designated him as a federal district judge for his state, an office he was to occupy for the rest of his life. His only other ventures into national politics came in 1789 and 1793, as a Federalist presidential elector. In the main, however, he spent his later years in judicial pursuits, in aiding Wilmington Academy, in fostering abolitionism, and in enjoying his Lombardy Hall farm.

Bedford makes Blueblood number three and lawyer number four…

Jacob Broom (1752-1810)—Broom became the first postmaster of Delaware from 1790-1792, and was the head of the board of the Delaware Bank of Wilmington. He was involved in business ventures such as operating a cotton mill and running a machine shop, and was involved with attempts to improve the infrastructure of the state of Delaware in such areas as toll roads, canals, and bridges. He also served on the board of the College of Wilmington and showed concern for many other philanthropic activities.

More: Broom was born in 1752 at Wilmington, DE., the eldest son of a blacksmith he worked hard and prospered in farming. The youth was educated at home and probably at the local Old Academy. Although he followed his father into farming and also studied surveying, he was to make his career primarily in mercantile pursuits, including shipping and the import trade, and in real estate.

Broom was not a distinguished patriot. His only recorded service was the preparation of maps for George Washington before the Battle of Brandywine, PA.

Broom sat in the state legislature in the years 1784-86 and 1788, during which time he was chosen as a delegate to the Annapolis Convention, but he did not attend. At the Constitutional Convention, he never missed a session and spoke on several occasions, but his role was only a minor one.

He was its first postmaster (1790-92) and continued to hold various local offices and to participate in a variety of economic endeavors. 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 was involved, too, in an unsuccessful scheme to mine bog iron ore. A further interest was internal improvements: toll roads, canals, and bridges.

Hard to place this one…not a lawyer and not strictly a blueblood either although it seems he amassed a fortune after the revolt…wasn’t a patriot of any note so what WAS this guy doing there? Next!

John Dickinson (1732-1808)—He lived for twenty years after the official ratification of the Constitution but held no public offices. He spent much of his time writing about politics, and criticized the administration of President John Adams. He died in 1808 at the age of 75. Thomas Jefferson wrote: “A more estimable man or truer patriot could not have left us ... It has been a great comfort to me to have retained his friendship to the last moment of his life.”

More: Dickinson, "Penman of the Revolution," was born in 1732 at Crosiadore estate, near the village of Trappe in Talbot County, MD. He was the second son of Samuel Dickinson, the prosperous farmer, and his second wife, Mary (Cadwalader) Dickinson. In 1740 the family moved to Kent County near Dover, DE., where private tutors educated the youth. In 1750 he began to study law with John Moland in Philadelphia. In 1753 Dickinson went to England to continue his studies at London's Middle Temple. Four years later, he returned to Philadelphia and became a prominent lawyer there.

By that time, Dickinson's superior education and talents had propelled him into politics. In 1760 he had served in the assembly of the Three Lower Counties (Delaware), where he held the speakership. Combining his Pennsylvania and Delaware careers in 1762, he won a seat as a Philadelphia member in the Pennsylvania assembly and sat there again in 1764. He became the leader of the conservative side in the colony's political battles. His defense of the proprietary governor against the faction led by Benjamin Franklin hurt his popularity but earned him respect for his integrity…

…The next year, Delaware sent Dickinson to the Constitutional Convention. He missed a number of sessions and left early because of illness, but he made worthwhile contributions, including service on the Committee on Postponed Matters. Although he resented the forcefulness of Madison and the other nationalists, he helped engineer the Great Compromise and wrote public letters supporting constitutional ratification. Because of his premature departure from the convention, he did not actually sign the Constitution but authorized his friend and fellow-delegate George Read to do so for him.

So we have a definite blueblood, Tory lawyer that signed the Constitution by proxy!

George Read (1733-1798)—He served for four years as a United States Senator (1789-1793), and became the first chief justice of Delaware in 1793.

More: Read's mother was the daughter of a Welsh planter, and his Dublin-born father a landholder of means. Soon after George's birth in 1733 near the village of North East in Cecil County, MD, his family moved to New Castle, DE, where the youth, who was one of six sons, grew up. He attended school at Chester, PA, and Rev. Francis Alison's academy at New London, PA, and about the age of 15 he began reading with a Philadelphia lawyer.

In 1753 Read was admitted to the bar and began to practice. The next year, he journeyed back to New Castle, hung out his shingle, and before long enlisted a clientele that extended into Maryland. During this period he resided in New Castle but maintained Stonum a country retreat near the city.

Like his friend John Dickinson, he was willing to protect colonial rights but was wary of extremism. He voted against independence on July 2, 1776, the only signer of the Declaration to do so, apparently either bowing to the strong Tory sentiment in Delaware, or believing reconciliation with Britain was still possible.

Meantime, in 1784, Read had served on a commission that adjusted New York-Massachusetts land claims. In 1786 he attended the Annapolis Convention. The next year, he participated in the Constitutional Convention, where he missed few if any sessions and championed the rights of the small states. Otherwise, he adopted a Hamiltonian stance, favoring a strong executive.

In the U.S. Senate (1789-93), Read's attendance was again erratic, but when present he allied with the Federalists. He resigned to accept the post of chief justice of Delaware. He held it until his death at New Castle 5 years later, just 3 days after he celebrated his 65th birthday…

So the count is blueblood number five and lawyer six…and flip-flopper number two! None of the ‘distinguished gentlemen’ from Delaware come close to my definition of the word ‘patriot’.


Abraham Baldwin (1754-1807)—He served in the House of Representatives (1789-1799), and was appointed for two terms to the United States Senate (1799-1807). He died before completing his second term.

More: (just when you think one of them didn’t go into law…) Baldwin was born at Guilford, Conn., in 1754, the second son of a blacksmith who fathered 12 children by 2 wives. Besides Abraham, several of the family attained distinction. His sister Ruth married the poet and diplomat Joel Barlow, and his half-brother Henry attained the position of justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Their ambitious father went heavily into debt to educate his children.

After attending a local village school, Abraham matriculated at Yale, in nearby New Haven. He graduated 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 his alma mater of a professorship of divinity. Instead of resuming his ministerial or educational duties after the war, he turned to the study of law and in 1783 gained admittance to the bar at Fairfield, CT.

Within a year, Baldwin moved to Georgia, won legislative approval to practice his profession, and obtained a grant of land in Wilkes County.

Baldwin attended the Constitutional Convention, from which he was absent for a few weeks. Although usually inconspicuous, he sat on the Committee on Postponed Matters and helped resolve the large-small state representation crisis. At first, he favored representation in the Senate based upon property holdings, but possibly because of his close relationship with the Connecticut delegation he later came to fear alienation of the small states and changed his mind to representation by state.

After the convention, Baldwin returned to the Continental Congress (1787-89). He was then elected to the U.S. Congress, where he served for 18 years (House of Representatives, 1789-99; Senate, 1799-1807). During these years, he became a bitter opponent of Hamiltonian policies and, unlike most other native New Englanders, an ally of Madison and Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans. In the Senate, he presided for a while as president pro tem.

Okay, another lawyer but it turns out most of them were.

William Few (1748-1828) <b>—Born into a poor farming family he worked hard all his life.

When he was in his 20's his family joined a populist uprising (for which his brother was hung). When he was in his 30's he served in the American revolution.

He was respected far and wide in Georgia though the plantation owners were never at easy with his objection to slavery. It was for this reason that he was selected to signed the constitution

After a life time of public service he was appointed as a United States Senator from Georgia (1789), and was defeated for his seat in 1795. He moved to New York in 1799 and was elected to the state legislature in 1801. From 1804-1814 he was the director of the Manhattan Bank and the president of City Bank.

More: Few was born in 1748. His father's family had emigrated from England to Pennsylvania in the 1680s, but the father had subsequently moved to Maryland, where he married and settled on a farm near Baltimore. William was born there. He encountered much hardship and received minimal schooling. When he was 10 years of age, his father, seeking better opportunity, moved his family to North Carolina.

In 1771 Few, his father, and a brother associated themselves with the "Regulators," a group of frontiersmen who opposed the royal governor. As a result, the brother was hanged, the Few family farm was destroyed, and the father was forced to move once again, this time to Georgia. William remained behind, helping to settle his father's affairs, until 1776 when he joined his family near Wrightsboro, Ga. <b>About this time, he won admittance to the bar, based on earlier informal study, and set up practice in Augusta.

Four years later, Few was appointed as one of six state delegates to the Constitutional Convention, two of whom never attended and two others of whom did not stay for the duration. Few himself missed large segments of the proceedings, being absent during all of July and part of August because of congressional service, and never made a speech. Nonetheless, he contributed nationalist votes at critical times. Furthermore, as a delegate to the last sessions of the Continental Congress, he helped steer the Constitution past its first obstacle, approval by Congress. And he attended the state ratifying convention.

Few became one of his state's first U.S. senators (1789-93). When his term ended, he headed back home and served again in the assembly. In 1796 he received an appointment as a federal judge for the Georgia circuit. For reasons unknown, he resigned his judgeship in 1799 at the age of 52 and moved to New York City.

Few's career continued to blossom. He served 4 years in the legislature (1802-5) and then as inspector of prisons (1802-10), alderman (1813-14), and U.S. commissioner of loans (1804). From 1804 to 1814 he held a directorship at the Manhattan Bank and later the presidency of City Bank. A devout Methodist, he also donated generously to philanthropic causes.


Daniel Carroll (1730-1796)—He served one term in the United States House of Representatives (1789-1791), and was appointed by President George Washington to oversee the construction of the federal capital on the Potomac River. Washington, D.C., is situated on one of his farms.

ONE OF HIS FARMS! The whole fuckin’ US Capitol is situated on ONE OF his farms…

More: Daniel Carroll was member of a prominent Maryland family of Irish descent. A collateral branch was led by Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Daniel's older brother was John Carroll, the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States.

Daniel was born in 1730 at Upper Marlboro, MD. Befitting the son of a wealthy Roman Catholic family, he studied for 6 years (1742-48) under the Jesuits at St. Omer's in Flanders. Then, after a tour of Europe, he sailed home and soon married Eleanor Carroll, apparently a first cousin of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Not much is known about the next two decades of his life except that he backed the War for Independence reluctantly and remained out of the public eye. No doubt he lived the life of a gentleman planter.

In 1781 Carroll entered the political arena. Elected to the Continental Congress that year, he carried to Philadelphia the news that Maryland was at last ready to accede to the Articles of Confederation, to which he soon penned his name. During the decade, he also began a tour in the Maryland senate that was to span his lifetime and helped George Washington promote the Patowmack Company, a scheme to canalize the Potomac River so as to provide a transportation link between the East and the trans-Appalachian West.

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.

Definitely a Blueblood, not a lawyer or a patriot and it seems about as useful as nothing…except he was filthy rich and a crony of the first Commander in Chief.

Daniel Jenifer of St. Thomas (1723-1790)—He did not really take an active part in the development of the Constitution. He and the other delegate from Maryland oftentimes voted against each other. He did, however, campaign for the Constitution’s ratification and afterwards retired from public life. More: Jenifer was born in 1723 of Swedish and English descent at Coates Retirement (now Ellerslie) estate, near Port Tobacco in Charles County, Md. Little is known about his childhood or education, but as an adult he came into possession of a large estate near Annapolis, called Stepney, where he lived most of his life. He never married. The web of his far-reaching friendships included such illustrious personages as George Washington.

Despite his association with conservative proprietary politics, Jenifer supported the Revolutionary movement, albeit at first reluctantly. He served as president of the Maryland council of safety (1775-77), then as president of the first state senate (1777-80). He sat in the Continental Congress (1778-82) and held the position of state revenue and financial manager (1782-85).

A conservative nationalist, Jenifer favored a strong and permanent union of the states and a Congress with taxation power. In 1785 he represented Maryland at the Mount Vernon Conference. Although he was one of 29 delegates who attended nearly every session of the Constitutional Convention, he did not speak often but backed Madison and the nationalist element.

What’s up with this guy? Neither Sam Adams nor John Hancock is even invited to the Constitutional convention yet this do nothing, blueblood Bozo is one of the signers?

What’s interesting is the further south we go the more gentrified they get.

James McHenry (1753-1816)—After the Convention McHenry went back to his home state and served in various positions of the state legislature (1789-1796) and was appointed Secretary of War by President George Washington (1796-1800). He proved rather ineffectual in this position, and President John Adams called for his resignation in 1800. He retired from public office, and in 1812 was stricken with paralysis in both legs. He was bedridden for the remainder of his life.

More: McHenry was born at Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland, in 1753. He enjoyed a classical education at Dublin, and emigrated to Philadelphia in 1771. The following year, the rest of his family came to the colonies, and his brother and father established an import business at Baltimore. During that year, James continued schooling at Newark Academy in Delaware and then studied medicine for 2 years under the well-known Dr. Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia.

During the War for Independence, McHenry served as a military surgeon. Late in 1776, while he was on the staff of the 5th Pennsylvania Battalion, the British captured him at Fort Washington, NY. He was paroled early the next year and exchanged in March 1778.

Returning immediately to duty, he was assigned to Valley Forge, PA, and in May became secretary to George Washington. About this time, McHenry apparently quit the practice of medicine to devote himself to politics and administration; he apparently never needed to return to it after the war because of his excellent financial circumstances. McHenry missed many of the proceedings at the Philadelphia convention, in part because of the illness of his brother, and played an insubstantial part in the debates when he was present. He did, however, maintain a private journal that has been useful to posterity. He campaigned strenuously for the Constitution in Maryland and attended the state ratifying convention.

Yet again we find financial clout outweighing legal training as this guy served not only as Secretary of War but he also did a five year stint in the Senate.


Nathaniel Gorham (1738-1796)—When the Constitutional Convention was finished, Gorham retired from public life. He got heavily into land speculation in New York, but his overindulgence eventually got him into deep financial trouble. He suffered from apoplexy and died a poor man in 1796.

More: Gorham began his political career as a public notary but soon won election to the colonial legislature (1771-75). During the Revolution, he unswervingly backed the Whigs. He was a delegate to the provincial congress (1774-75), member of the Massachusetts Board of War (1778-81), delegate to the constitutional convention (1779-80), and representative in both the upper (1780) and lower (1781-87) houses of the legislature, including speaker of the latter in 1781, 1782, and 1785. In the last year, though he apparently lacked formal legal training, he began a judicial career as judge of the Middlesex County court of common plea

During the war, British troops had ravaged much of Gorham's property, though by privateering and speculation he managed to recoup most of his fortune

Privateering, as in piracy…I see. But wait, it gets better!

In 1788 he and Oliver Phelps of Windsor, CT, and possibly others, contracted to purchase from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 6 million acres of unimproved land in western New York. The price was $1 million in devalued Massachusetts scrip. Gorham and Phelps quickly succeeded in clearing Indian title to 2,600,000 acres in the eastern section of the grant and sold much of it to settlers. Problems soon arose, however. Massachusetts scrip rose dramatically in value, enormously swelling the purchase price of the vast tract. By 1790 the two men were unable to meet their payments. The result was a financial crisis that led to Gorham's insolvency--and a fall from the heights of Boston society and political esteem. Gorham died in 1796 at the age of 58 and is buried at the Phipps Street Cemetery in Charlestown, MA.

Rufus King (1755-1827)—He was a member of the ratification convention in Massachusetts but moved to New York and became a United States Senator (1789-1795; 1813-1825). He failed to win the Federalist Party’s nomination for president in 1816, but was appointed Minister to England in 1824.

More: About 1788 King abandoned his law practice, moved from the Bay State to Gotham, and entered the New York political forum. He was elected to the legislature (1789-90), and in the former year was picked as one of the state's first U.S. senators. As political divisions grew in the new government, King expressed ardent sympathies for the Federalists. In Congress, he supported Hamilton's fiscal program and stood among the leading proponents of the unpopular Jay's Treaty (1794).

Meantime, in 1791, King had become one of the directors of the First Bank of the United States. Reelected to the U.S. Senate in 1795, he served only a year before he was appointed as Minister to Great Britain (1796-1803).

Ask not what your country can do for you, eh? And this guy made TWO runs at the White House, getting spanked both times…

New Hampshire

Nicholas Gilman (1755-1814)—He was elected to the United States House of Representatives (1789-1797), and was a United States Senator (1805-1814).

More: Member of a distinguished New Hampshire family and second son in a family of eight, He did not arrive at Philadelphia until July 21, by which time much major business had already occurred. Never much of a debater, he made no speeches and played only a minor part in the deliberations.

Sometimes all it takes is a ‘distinguished’ family…As you can see the bio’s pretty thin which says something in itself.

John Langdon (1741-1819)—He served as a United States Senator for twelve years (1789-1801), and served as governor of New Hampshire from 1805-1812 (with the exception of the year 1809).

More: His father, whose family had emigrated to America before 1660, was a prosperous farmer who sired a large family. Langdon, a vigorous supporter of the Revolution, sat on the New Hampshire committee of correspondence and a nonimportation committee. He also attended various patriot assemblies. In 1774 he participated in the seizure and confiscation of British munitions from the Portsmouth fort.

The next year, Langdon served as speaker of the New Hampshire assembly and also sat in the Continental Congress (1775-76). During the latter year, he accepted a colonelcy in the militia of his state and became its agent for British prizes on behalf of the Continental Congress, a post he held throughout the war. In addition, he built privateers for operations against the British--a lucrative occupation.

Langdon was forced to pay his own expenses and those of Nicholas Gilman to the Constitutional Convention because New Hampshire was unable or unwilling to pay them. The pair did not arrive at Philadelphia until late July, by which time much business had already been consummated. Thereafter, Langdon made a significant mark. He spoke more than 20 times during the debates and was a member of the committee that struck a compromise on the issue of slavery. For the most part, his sympathies lay on the side of strengthening the national government.

Hmmn…and one of the ‘sacrifices’ laid on the alter of nationalism was the abolition of slavery…

New Jersey

David Brearly (1745-1790)—He lived only three years after the end of the Constitutional Convention. He was a main supporter of the Constitution at the New Jersey ratifying convention, and President Washington rewarded him with an appointment as a federal district judge. Brearly was active in the Masonic Order in New Jersey and the Society of the Cincinnati (an organization of former Revolutionary War officers).

More: Signer Brearly was born in 1745 at Spring Grove near Trenton, was reared in the area, and attended but did not graduate from the nearby College of New Jersey (later Princeton). He chose law as a career and originally practiced at Allentown, NJ.

Degree? We don’t need no stinkin’ degree! Yet—

Brearly avidly backed the Revolutionary cause. The British arrested him for high treason, but a group of patriots freed him. In 1776 he took part in the convention that drew up the state constitution. During the War for Independence, he rose from a captain to a colonel in the militia. In 1779 Brearly was elected as chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, a position he held until 1789.

He was awarded an honorary degree from what was to become Princeton in1781…two years AFTER becoming chief justice, go figure!

Jonathan Dayton (1760-1824)—He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1791 to 1799, and was chosen Speaker of the House for four years. He became a United States Senator (1799-1805), and was a close acquaintance of Aaron Burr. Dayton was indicted in 1807 for treason along with Burr in a plot to combine Mexico and the Western Territories of the United States. His (Dayton’s) case was never brought to trial.

Tried for treason…political sour grapes? More: His father was a storekeeper who was also active in local and state politics. The youth obtained a good education, graduating from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) in 1776. He immediately entered the Continental Army and saw extensive action. Achieving the rank of captain by the age of 19 and serving under his father, Gen. Elias Dayton…what kind of ‘storekeeper’ was this guy that it won him a commission as a General, a liquor store?

After the war, Dayton returned home, studied law, and established a practice. During the 1780s he divided his time between land speculation, legal practice, and politics. He sat in the assembly in 1786-87. In the latter year, he was chosen as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention after the leaders of his political faction, his father and his patron, Abraham Clark, declined to attend. Dayton did not arrive at Philadelphia until June 21 but thereafter faithfully took part in the proceedings. He spoke with moderate frequency during the debates and, though objecting to some provisions of the Constitution, signed it.

Here it is again…guys that fought in the revolution that weren’t interested in attending it’s undoing…oops, the construction of the bureaucracy that eventually consumed the states power.

In 1806 illness prevented Dayton from accompanying Aaron Burr's abortive expedition to the Southwest, where the latter apparently intended to conquer Spanish lands and create an empire. Subsequently indicted for treason, Dayton was not prosecuted but could not salvage his national political career. He remained popular in New Jersey, however, continuing to hold local offices and sitting in the assembly (1814-15).

In 1824 the 63-year-old Dayton played host to Lafayette during his triumphal tour of the United States, and his death at Elizabeth later that year may have been hastened by the exertion and excitement. He was laid to rest at St. John's Episcopal Church in his hometown. Because he owned 250,000 acres of Ohio land between the Big and Little Miami Rivers, the city of Dayton, was named after him--his major monument.

Here’s the proof; it’s not what you know but whom…next.

William Livingston (1723-1790)—He helped in the ratification fight for the Constitution and served as the governor of New Jersey until his death in 1790.

More: Livingston was born in 1723 at Albany, NY. His maternal grandmother reared him until he was 14, and he then spent a year with a missionary among the Mohawk Indians. He attended Yale and graduated in 1741.

Rejecting his family's hope that he would enter the fur trade at Albany or mercantile pursuits in New York City, young Livingston chose to pursue a career in law at the latter place. Before he completed his legal studies, in 1745 he married Susanna French, daughter of a well-to-do New Jersey landowner. She was to bear 13 children.

There, in 1772-73, he built the estate, Liberty Hall, continued to write verse, and planned to live the life of a gentleman farmer.

The Revolutionary upsurge, however, brought Livingston out of retirement. He soon became a member of the Essex County, NJ, committee of correspondence; in 1774 a representative in the First Continental Congress; and in 1775-76 a delegate to the Second Continental Congress. In June 1776 he left Congress to command the New Jersey militia as a brigadier general and held this post until he was elected later in the year as the first governor of the state.

Livingston held the position throughout and beyond the war--in fact, for 14 consecutive years until his death in 1790. During his administration, the government was organized, the war won, and New Jersey launched on her path as a sovereign state.

In 1787 Livingston was selected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, though his gubernatorial duties prevented him from attending every session. He did not arrive until June 5 and missed several weeks in July, but he performed vital committee work, particularly as chairman of the one that reached a compromise on the issue of slavery. He also supported the New Jersey Plan. In addition, he spurred New Jersey's rapid ratification of the Constitution (1787). The next year, Yale awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Another backwoods lawyer that proceeded to marry money, get elected to congress, receives (or purchased, a common practice at the time) a general’s commission (for what looks like a few months) then the governorship so he sits out the fighting on the sidelines…patriot or opportunist?

William Paterson (Patterson) (1745-1806)—He was appointed to the United States Senate (1789-1790), and was also appointed by President George Washington as a justice of the United States Supreme Court (1793) until his death.

More: William Paterson (Patterson) was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1745. When he was almost 2 years of age, his family emigrated to America, disembarking at New Castle, DE. While the father traveled about the country, apparently selling tinware. The family lived in New London, other places in Connecticut, and in Trenton, NJ. In 1750 he settled in Princeton, NJ. There, he became a merchant and manufacturer of tin goods. His prosperity enabled William to attend local private schools and the College of New Jersey (later Princeton). He took a B.A. in 1763 and an M.A. 3 years later.

So, ya think his da made a few bucks in the tin trade?

When the War for Independence broke out, Paterson joined the vanguard of the New Jersey patriots. He served in the provincial congress (1775-76), the constitutional convention (1776), legislative council (1776-77), and council of safety (1777). During the last year, he also held a militia commission. From 1776 to 1783 he was attorney general of New Jersey, a task that occupied so much of his time that it prevented him from accepting election to the Continental Congress in 1780.

So, a veteran of the revolution by proxy from the looks of things, he was obviously too busy shuffling paper to see much action. There’s more…

Then he was chosen to represent New Jersey at the Constitutional Convention, which he attended only until late July. Until then, he took notes of the proceedings. More importantly, he figured prominently because of his advocacy and coauthorship of the New Jersey, or Paterson, Plan, which asserted the rights of the small states against the large. He apparently returned to the convention only to sign the final document. After supporting its ratification in New Jersey, he began a career in the new government.

In 1789 Paterson was elected to the U.S. Senate (1789-90), where he played a pivotal role in drafting the Judiciary Act of 1789. His next position was governor of his state (1790-93). During this time, he began work on the volume later published as Laws of the State of New Jersey (1800) and began to revise the rules and practices of the chancery and common law courts.

During the years 1793-1806, Paterson served as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Riding the grueling circuit to which federal judges were subjected in those days and sitting with the full Court, he presided over a number of major trials.

In September 1806, his health failing, the 60-year-old Paterson embarked on a journey to Ballston Spa, NY, for a cure but died en route at Albany in the home of his daughter, who had married Stephen Van Rensselaer. Paterson was at first laid to rest in the nearby Van Rensselaer manor house family vault, but later his body was apparently moved to the Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, NY.

Once again it seems as though an appointment to the federal bench acts as ‘the kiss of death.’ Isn’t it funny how money is attracted to money…and the ‘revolution’ is less than twenty years past.

New York

Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804)—After the Convention, Hamilton worked with John Jay and James Madison on a series of articles known as the “Federalist Papers” as propaganda for the Constitution. He served as the first United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1789 to 1795. He retired to his law practice and was later appointed to the position of Major General from 1798 to 1800 during an impending war with France. When Hamilton helped defeat Aaron Burr’s quest for the governorship of New York, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel. He was killed by Burr on July 12, 1804.

There is far too much on this slippery character to include here so I’ll limit it to this: Hamilton then goes on to detail a financial plan for the country. Had his future political rivals read this letter, none of Hamilton's fiscal policies would have taken them by surprise. He suggests revenue sources--securing a foreign loan, a money tax on business, and a tax in kind on farmers. He expounds upon turning the public debt to the nation's advantage; creating an economy based on paper money; and dwells at length on the founding of a national bank which would be established by the investments of "monied men of influence" who would "relish the project and make it a business."

Looks like he friggin’ succeeded…much to our detriment.

Knowing full well how his plan would be received by the bulk of Americans, Hamilton opines: "There are epochs in human affairs, when novelty even is useful."

Fought the revolution with one hand and sold it with the other and somehow managed to be the SOLE delegate from New York…

North Carolina

William Blount (1749-1800)—Although he signed the Constitution, that action was taken just to prove that he was “present.” He supported its ratification because it would help Western expansion, and he used various elected positions to gain land for his own economic advancement. Blount served as state senator (1788-1790), governor of the territory south of the Ohio River (1790), president of the Tennessee constitutional convention (1796), and as a United States Senator from Tennessee (1796-1797). Blount was involved in a conspiracy for inciting the Creek and Cherokee Indians to collaborate with the British Fleet in attacking Spanish Florida and Louisiana. Based upon these charges Blount was impeached by the House of Representatives and expelled by the Senate in 1797. He returned to Tennessee and served in the state senate.

More: Appointed as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention at the age of 38, Blount was absent for more than a month because he chose to attend the Continental Congress on behalf of his state. He said almost nothing in the debates and signed the Constitution reluctantly--only, he said, to make it "the unanimous act of the States in Convention." Nonetheless, he favored his state's ratification of the completed document.

Okay…yet another who signed what is hailed as one of the greatest documents ever written without much enthusiasm…what’s up with that?

Richard D. Spaight (1758-1802)—He was elected to three terms as governor of North Carolina beginning in 1792, and was a major force in moving the capital from New Bern to Raleigh. He was elected a member of the United States House of Representatives (1798-1801) and was killed in a duel by his successor in Congress (John Stanly) in 1802.

More: Spaight was born at New Bern, NC of distinquished English-Irish parentage in 1758. When he was orphaned at 8 years of age, his guardians sent him to Ireland, where he obtained an excellent education. He apparently graduated from Scotland's Glasgow University before he returned to North Carolina in 1778.

At that time, the War for Independence was in full swing, and Spaight's superior attainments soon gained him a commission. He became an aide to the state militia commander and in 1780 took part in the Battle of Camden, SC. The year before, he had been elected to the lower house of the legislature.

The ‘common thread’ shows up yet again…this ‘distinguished gentleman’ was also born to wealth. All were born to families that had the wherewithal to provide them with the time and money for an education…something we take for granted these days…although the pendulum maybe swinging back in the other direction from the look of things.

Hugh Williamson (1735-1819)—He was elected to two terms in the United States House of Representatives (1789-1793), and then retired from public life. He spent many of his remaining years at the New York Hospital, dedicating much of his time to the study of medicine. One of his chief interests was writing on the climate of North America.

More: The versatile Williamson was born of Scotch-Irish descent at West Nottingham, PA., in 1735. He was the eldest son in a large family, whose head was a clothier. Hoping he would become a Presbyterian minister, his parents oriented his education toward that calling. After attending preparatory schools at New London Cross Roads, DE, and Newark, DE, he entered the first class of the College of Philadelphia (later part of the University of Pennsylvania) and took his degree in 1757.

In 1786 he was chosen to represent his state at the Annapolis Convention but arrived too late to take part. The next year, he again served in Congress (1787-89) and was chosen as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Attending faithfully and demonstrating keen debating skill, he served on five committees, notably on the Committee on Postponed Matters, and played a significant part in the proceedings, particularly the major compromise on representation.

The committee on postponed matters…makes you wonder what that was all about. There are only 39 signatories of the fifty-five elected to attend…a pretty small bunch to be making a lot of big decisions that, even then, affected millions of people.


George Clymer (1739-1813)—He was elected to the United States House of Representatives (1789-1791) and became involved in civic and cultural activities in and around Philadelphia. He served as the president of the Bank of Philadelphia.

More: Clymer was orphaned in 1740, only a year after his birth in Philadelphia. A wealthy uncle reared and informally educated him and advanced him from clerk to full-fledged partner in his mercantile firm, which on his death he bequeathed to his ward. Later Clymer merged operations with the Merediths, a prominent business family, and cemented the relationship by marrying his senior partner's daughter, Elizabeth, in 1765.

Inevitably, in light of his economic background, he channeled his energies into financial matters. In 1775-76 he acted as one of the first two Continental treasurers, even personally underwriting the war by exchanging all his own specie for Continental currency.

In the Continental Congress (1776-77 and 1780-82) the quiet and unassuming Clymer rarely spoke in debate but made his mark in committee efforts, especially those pertaining to commerce, finance, and military affairs. During the War for Independence, he also served on a series of commissions that conducted important field investigations. In December 1776, when Congress fled from Philadelphia to Baltimore, he and George Walton and Robert Morris remained behind to carry on congressional business. Within a year, after their victory at the Battle of Brandywine, Pa. (September 11, 1777), British troops advancing on Philadelphia detoured for the purpose of vandalizing Clymer's home in Chester County about 25 miles outside the city. His wife and children hid nearby in the woods.

After a brief retirement following his last term in the Continental Congress, Clymer was reelected for the years 1784-88 to the Pennsylvania legislature, where he had also served part time in 1780-82 while still in Congress. As a state legislator, he advocated a bicameral legislature and reform of the penal code and opposed capital punishment. At the Constitutional Convention, where he rarely missed a meeting, he spoke seldom but effectively and played a modest role in shaping the final document.

Another blueblood lawyer… I don’t know about you but I haven’t seen any working stiffs here yet, nor, as it turns out, will you so don’t hold your breath.

Thomas Fitzsimons (1741-1811)—Fitzsimons served as a member of the United States House of Representatives (1789-1795) and strongly supported the financial plan of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. When he left Congress, he spent the remainder of his life in private business, and served as president of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Fitzsimons was concerned with religious affairs, public education, and served as trustee of the University of Pennsylvania.

More: Fitzsimons (FitzSimons; Fitzsimmons) was born in Ireland in 1741. Coming to America about 1760, he pursued a mercantile career in Philadelphia. The next year, he married Catherine Meade, the daughter of a prominent local merchant, Robert Meade, and not long afterward went into business with one of his brothers-in-law. The firm of George Meade and Company soon became one of the leading commercial houses in the city and specialized in the West India trade.

When the Revolution erupted, Fitzsimons enthusiastically endorsed the Whig position. During the war, he commanded a company of militia (1776-77). He also sat on the Philadelphia committee of correspondence, council of safety, and navy board. His firm provided supplies and "fire" ships to the military forces and, toward the end of the war, donated £: 5,000 to the Continental Army.

Wherever there’s war the military industrial complex isn’t far behind.

In 1782-83 Fitzsimons entered politics as a delegate to the Continental Congress. In the latter year, he became a member of the Pennsylvania council of censors and served as a legislator (1786-89). His attendance at the Constitutional Convention was regular, but he did not make any outstanding contributions to the proceedings. He was, however, a strong nationalist.

But Fitzsimons's prominence stemmed from his business leadership. In 1781 he had been one of the founders of the Bank of North America. He also helped organize and held a directorship in the Insurance Company of North America and several times acted as president of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. His financial affairs, like those somewhat earlier of his associate and fellow-signer Robert Morris, took a disastrous turn in 1805. He later regained some of his affluence, but his reputation suffered.

No outstanding contributions beyond being a strong nationalist. Scores of patriots snubbed this history making moment only to have guys like this attend AND SIGN the Constitution in their stead.

Did our patriot forefathers who risked their lives fighting tyranny yet boycotted the Constitutional convention know something we don’t?

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)—At the same time that Franklin was attending the Constitutional Convention, he was also the president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery (1787). Harvard, Yale, St. Andrews, William and Mary, and Oxford all granted him honorary degrees. He died in 1790 at the age of eighty-four.

‘nuff said.

Jared Ingersoll (1749-1822)—He served as Attorney General of Pennsylvania from 1790 to 1799, and also as city solicitor of Philadelphia from 1789 to 1801. He ran as the vice presidential candidate under George Clinton in the election of 1812 against James Madison and Elbridge Gerry and lost. He then served as the presiding judge of the district court of Philadelphia from 1821 to 1822.

More: The son of Jared Ingersoll, Sr., a British colonial official and later prominent Loyalist, Ingersoll was born at New Haven, CT, in 1749. He received an excellent education and graduated from Yale in 1766. He then oversaw the financial affairs of his father, who had relocated from New Haven to Philadelphia. Later, the youth joined him, took up the study of law, and won admittance to the Pennsylvania bar.

Geez, there’s that money thing again!

In the midst of the Revolutionary fervor, which neither father nor son shared, in 1773, on the advice of the elder Ingersoll, Jared, Jr., sailed to London and studied law at the Middle Temple. Completing his work in 1776, he made a 2-year tour of the Continent, during which time for some reason he shed his Loyalist sympathies.

For some reason…well, ‘almost half’ of the delegates were veterans even if it seems few of them saw action. This guy rode out the war in England than ‘somehow’ managed to get elected to the Continental Congress…

Although Ingersoll missed no sessions at the Constitutional Convention, had long favored revision of the Articles of Confederation, and as a lawyer was used to debate, he seldom spoke during the proceedings.

Yet another ‘regular attendee’ that for the most part sat there twiddling his thumbs…

Thomas Mifflin (1744-1800)—He was elected the first governor of Pennsylvania in 1790 and held that position until 1799. He also served as a major general and commander-in-chief of the Philadelphia militia.

More: A member of the fourth generation of a Pennsylvania Quaker family who had emigrated from England, Mifflin was born at Philadelphia in 1744, the son of a rich merchant and local politician. He studied at a Quaker school and then at the College of Philadelphia (later part of the University of Pennsylvania), from which he won a diploma at the age of 16 and whose interests he advanced for the rest of his life.

In the Pennsylvania legislature (1772-76), Mifflin championed the colonial position against the crown. In 1774 he attended the Continental Congress (1774-76). Meanwhile, he had helped to raise troops and in May 1775 won appointment as a major in the Continental Army, which caused him to be expelled from his Quaker faith. In the summer of 1775 he first became an aide-de-camp to Washington and then Quartermaster General of the Continental Army. Late in 1775 he became a colonel and in May 1776 a brigadier general. Preferring action to administration, after a time he began to perform his quartermaster duties perfunctorily. Nevertheless, he participated directly in the war effort. He took part in the Battles of Long Island, NY, Trenton, NJ, and Princeton, NJ. Furthermore, through his persuasive oratory, he apparently convinced many men not to leave the military service.

Mifflin returned immediately to politics. He sat in the state assembly (1778-79) and again in the Continental Congress (1782-84), from December 1783 to the following June as its president. In 1787 he was chosen to take part in the Constitutional Convention. He attended regularly, but made no speeches and did not play a substantial role.

Although wealthy most of his life, Mifflin was a lavish spender. Pressure from his creditors forced him to leave Philadelphia in 1799, and he died at Lancaster the next year, aged 56. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania paid his burial expenses at the local Trinity Lutheran Church.

Didn’t live like a working stiff but he eventually died like one. Is it beginning to look like these guys were hand picked both for the commercial backgrounds as well as their strong support for nationalism?

Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816)—He was appointed by President George Washington as the United States Commissioner to England (1790-1791) and the United States Minister to France (1792-1794). He became a United States Senator (1800-1803), and was the chairman of the Erie Canal Commission (1810-1813). His last elected position was that of president of the New York Historical Society (1816).

More: Of French and English descent, Morris was born at Morrisania estate, in Westchester (present Bronx) County, NY, in 1752. His family was wealthy and enjoyed a long record of public service. His elder half-brother, Lewis, signed the Declaration of Independence.

Gouverneur was educated by private tutors and at a Huguenot school in New Rochelle. In early life, he lost a leg in a carriage accident. He attended King's College (later Columbia College and University) in New York City, graduating in 1768 at the age of 16. Three years later, after reading law in the city, he gained admission to the bar.

When the Revolution loomed on the horizon, Morris became interested in political affairs. Because of his conservatism, however, he at first feared the movement, which he believed would bring mob rule. Furthermore, some of his family and many of his friends were Loyalists. But, beginning in 1775, for some reason he sided with the Whigs. That same year, representing Westchester County, he took a seat in New York's Revolutionary provincial congress (1775-77). In 1776, when he also served in the militia, along with John Jay and Robert R. Livingston he drafted the first constitution of the state. Subsequently he joined its council of safety (1777).

Switched teams for unspecified reasons and once again it seems he, like a few others, ‘served’ during the revolution more so in a support function than that of front line combat.

In 1781 he resumed his public career when he became the principal assistant to Robert Morris, Superintendent of Finance for the United States, to whom he was unrelated. Gouverneur held this position for 4 years.

In yet another ‘common thread’ many of the attendees of our Constitutional convention also played some role in national finances…coincidence?

Morris emerged as one of the leading figures at the Constitutional Convention. His speeches, more frequent than those by anyone else, numbered 173. Although sometimes presented in a light vein, they were usually substantive. A strong advocate of nationalism <b>and aristocratic rule, he served on many committees, including those on postponed matters and style, and stood in the thick of the decision making process. Above all, it was apparently he who actually drafted the Constitution.

Okay, I’ve seen enough! Strong advocate for ‘aristocratic rule’…didn’t we just fight a revolution? Who the fuck is this turd and how did HE get to write OUR fuckin’ Constitution?

No wonder so many patriots boycotted the event…

Dig This! in 1792 Washington appointed him as Minister to France, to replace Thomas Jefferson. Morris was recalled 2 years later but did not come home. Instead, he traveled extensively in Europe for more than 4 years, during which time he handled his complicated business affairs and contemplated the complex political situation.

Morris returned to the United States in 1799. The next year, he was elected to finish an unexpired term in the U.S. Senate. An ardent Federalist, he was defeated in his bid for reelection in 1802 and left office the following year.

Leaves the country for ten years, comes back and he’s appointed to fill a vacant Senate seat! It seems Washington hasn’t changed that much after all, has it?

Robert Morris (1734-1806)—Morris was chosen as the first United States Senator from Pennsylvania and served in that position from 1789 to 1795. President George Washington asked him to become the first Secretary of the Treasury but he declined the position and recommended Alexander Hamilton instead. After governmental service, Morris was deeply involved in land speculation in the District of Columbia and in Ohio. He was the “Richest Man in America” but met financial ruin and spent three years in debtor’s prison. Morris died penniless in 1806.

More: Morris was born at or near Liverpool, England, in 1734. When he reached 13 years of age, he emigrated to Maryland to join his father, a tobacco exporter at Oxford, Md. After brief schooling at Philadelphia, the youth obtained employment with Thomas and Charles Willing's well-known shipping-banking firm. In 1754 he became a partner and for almost four decades was one of the company's directors as well as an influential Philadelphia citizen. Wedding Mary White at the age of 35, he fathered five sons and two daughters.

In 1775 the Continental Congress contracted with his firm to import arms and ammunition, and he was elected to the Pennsylvania council of safety (1775-76), the committee of correspondence, the provincial assembly (1775-76), the legislature (1776-78), and the Continental Congress (1775-78). In the last body, on July 1, 1776, he voted against independence, which he personally considered premature, but the next day he purposely absented himself to facilitate an affirmative ballot by his delegation.

Morris, a key congressman, specialized in financial affairs and military procurement. Although he and his firm profited handsomely, had it not been for his assiduous labors the Continental Army would probably have been forced to demobilize. He worked closely with General Washington, wheedled money and supplies from the states, borrowed money in the face of overwhelming difficulties, and on occasion even obtained personal loans to further the war cause.

So we have true patriots as a no show but the war profiteers are right there in the thick of things. It’s amazing what you can pull off if the Government owes you money…

Morris embarked on the most dramatic phase of his career by accepting the office of Superintendent of Finance (1781-84) under the Articles of Confederation. Congress, recognizing the perilous state of the nation's finances and its impotence to provide remedies, granted him dictatorial powers and acquiesced to his condition that he be allowed to continue his private commercial enterprises. He slashed all governmental and military expenditures, personally purchased army and navy supplies, tightened accounting procedures, prodded the states to fulfill quotas of money and supplies, and when necessary strained his personal credit by issuing notes over his own signature or borrowing from friends.

This guy died broke but you can’t help but wonder if it wasn’t from rolling the dice one too many times…the question is was this guy a patriot or a psycho? Read on:

During the later years of his public life, Morris speculated wildly, often on overextended credit, in lands in the West and at the site of Washington, DC. To compound his difficulties, in 1794 he began constructing on Philadelphia's Chestnut Street a mansion designed by Maj. Pierre Charles L'Enfant. Not long thereafter, Morris attempted to escape creditors by retreating to The Hills, the country estate along the Schuylkill River on the edge of Philadelphia that he had acquired in 1770.

Arrested at the behest of creditors in 1798 and forced to abandon completion of the mansion, thereafter known in its unfinished state as "Morris' Folly," Morris was thrown into the Philadelphia debtor's prison, where he was nevertheless well treated. By the time he was released in 1801, under a federal bankruptcy law, however, his property and fortune had vanished, his health had deteriorated, and his spirit had been broken. He lingered on in poverty and obscurity, living in a simple Philadelphia home on an annuity obtained for his wife by fellow-signer Gouverneur Morris.

James Wilson (1742-1798)—Wilson returned to Pennsylvania after the Constitutional Convention and played a major role in its successful ratification. He served on the United States Supreme Court (1789-1798) and as a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania. He was deeply involved in questionable land deals and soon got himself in severe financial difficulty. While visiting a fellow Supreme Court justice, James Iredell in Edenton, North Carolina, Wilson had a nervous breakdown. He died a pauper in 1798.

More: James Wilson was born in Scotland on September the 14th, 1742. Here, he attended the Universities of St.Andrews, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. He never finished his studies, as he sailed for the New World in 1765. Aided by some letters of introduction, he became a tutor with the College of Philadelphia. He received an honorary M.A. shortly thereafter. In November 1767, he was admitted to the bar, and thus pursuing his recent-born interest in the law. He set up his own practice in Reading in the year 1768. He was quite successful, as he handled nearly half of the cases charged in the country court.

Yet another proud recipient of an ‘honorary’ degree…seems Universities of that era gave them out like popcorn…especially in law.

During the next years he was an occasional member of the Continental Congress, and was present at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which assembled with the purpose of drafting The Constitution of the United States of America. Here he was a very influential figure, whose ideas where heavily incorporated in one of the most important documents in history. Thus the Constitution bears his signature.

In 1789, he became a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, and in the same year was appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court. In this role, he did not shine as brightly as he used to do, as he did not voice any new or ground-breaking judicial ideas.

No ‘new ideas’ except sitting on the Supreme fuckin’ Court and getting tied up in land swindles! This is a Founding Father?

Well, I guess the example had to be set someplace, look at where we are today.

South Carolina

Pierce Butler (1744-1822)—He was appointed one of the state’s first two senators (1789) and served until he resigned in 1796. He was appointed a seat in the United States Senate in 1803 but resigned (again) before the end of his appointment in 1804.

More: One of the most aristocratic delegates at the convention, Butler was born in 1744 in County Carlow, Ireland. His father was Sir Richard Butler, member of Parliament and a baronet.

Like so many younger sons of the British aristocracy who could not inherit their fathers' estates because of primogeniture, Butler pursued a military career. He became a major in His Majesty's 29th Regiment and during the colonial unrest was posted to Boston in 1768 to quell disturbances there. In 1771 he married Mary Middleton, daughter of a wealthy South Carolinian, and before long resigned his commission to take up a planter's life in the Charleston area. The couple was to have at least one daughter.

When the Revolution broke out, Butler took up the Whig cause. He was elected to the assembly in 1778, and the next year he served as adjutant general in the South Carolina militia. While in the legislature through most of the 1780s, he took over leadership of the democratic upcountry faction in the state and refused to support his own planter group. The War for Independence cost him much of his property, and his finances were so precarious for a time that he was forced to travel to Amsterdam to seek a personal loan.

The next year, Butler won election to both the Continental Congress (1787-88) and the Constitutional Convention. In the latter assembly, he was an outspoken nationalist who attended practically every session and was a key spokesman for the Madison-Wilson caucus. Butler also supported the interests of southern slaveholders. He served on the Committee on Postponed Matters.

There it is again…who DIDN’T serve on the committee on ‘postponed matters?’

On his return to South Carolina Butler defended the Constitution but did not participate in the ratifying convention. Service in the U.S. Senate (1789-96) followed. Although nominally a Federalist, he often crossed party lines. He supported Hamilton's fiscal program but opposed Jay's Treaty and Federalist judiciary and tariff measures.

Out of the Senate and back in South Carolina from 1797 to 1802, Butler was considered for but did not attain the governorship. He sat briefly in the Senate again in 1803-4 to fill out an unexpired term, and he once again demonstrated party independence. But, for the most part, his later career was spent as a wealthy planter.

Charles Pinckney (1757-1824)—He was elected governor of South Carolina (1789-1792; 1796-1798; 1806- 1808), and also served as a United States Senator (1798-1801). He resigned his senate seat to become minister to Spain from 1801-1809, served in the South Carolina state legislature (1810-1814), and then became a member of the House of Representatives from 1819-1821 where he adamantly opposed the Missouri Compromise.

More: Charles Pinckney, the second cousin of fellow-signer Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, was born at Charleston, SC, in 1757. His father, Col. Charles Pinckney, was a rich lawyer and planter, who on his death in 1782 was to bequeath Snee Farm, a country estate outside the city, to his son Charles. The latter apparently received all his education in the city of his birth, and he started to practice law there in 1779.

Okay, get born rich and become a lawyer…of course you know what they call a hundred lawyers at the bottom of the ocean don’t you? A good start!

About that time, well after the War for Independence had begun, young Pinckney enlisted in the militia, though his father demonstrated ambivalence about the Revolution. He became a lieutenant, and served at the siege of Savannah (September-October 1779). When Charleston fell to the British the next year, the youth was captured and remained a prisoner until June 1781.

Okay, joins up, promptly gets captured and spends the duration in a British brig…hope he was a better lawyer than a soldier.

Pinckney's role in the Constitutional Convention is controversial. Although one of the youngest delegates, he later claimed to have been the most influential one and contended he had submitted a draft that was the basis of the final Constitution. Most historians have rejected this assertion. They do, however, recognize that he ranked among the leaders. He attended full time, spoke often and effectively, and contributed immensely to the final draft and to the resolution of problems that arose during the debates.

During this period, he became associated with the Federalist Party, in which he and his cousin Charles Cotesworth Pinckney were leaders. But, with the passage of time, the former's views began to change. In 1795 he attacked the Federalist backed Jay's Treaty and increasingly began to cast his lot with Carolina back-country Democratic-Republicans against his own eastern aristocracy. In 1796 he became governor once again, and in 1798 his Democratic-Republican supporters helped him win a seat in the U.S. Senate. There, he bitterly opposed his former party, and in the presidential election of 1800 served as Thomas Jefferson's campaign manager in South Carolina.

The victorious Jefferson appointed Pinckney as Minister to Spain (1801-5), in which capacity he struggled valiantly but unsuccessfully to win cession of the Floridas to the United States and facilitated Spanish acquiescence in the transfer of Louisiana from France to the United States in 1803. Upon completion of his diplomatic mission, his ideas moving ever closer to democracy, Pinckney headed back to Charleston and to leadership of the state Democratic-Republican Party. He sat in the legislature in 1805-6 and then was again elected as governor (1806-8). In this position, he favored legislative reapportionment, giving better representation to back-country districts, and advocated universal white manhood suffrage.

On to his ‘cousin’:

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746-1825)—He served as the United States Minister to France during the administration of George Washington and was part of the mission to France during the so-called “XYZ Affair.” It was Pinckney who said at the time, “Millions for defense, sir, but not one cent for tribute!,” and upon his return to the United States he began to prepare for a war with France with former President Washington and Alexander Hamilton. However, the situation was resolved before it could come to that. He ran unsuccessfully for the vice presidency as the Federalist candidate along with John Adams in 1800. Pinckney also lost his bid for the presidency against Thomas Jefferson in 1804 and James Madison in 1808.

More: The eldest son of a politically prominent planter and a remarkable mother who introduced and promoted indigo culture in South Carolina, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was born in 1746 at Charleston. Only 7 years later, he accompanied his father, who had been appointed colonial agent for South Carolina, to England. As a result, the youth enjoyed a European education.

Pinckney next pursued legal training at London's Middle Temple and was accepted for admission into the English bar in 1769. He then spent part of a year touring Europe and studying chemistry, military science, and botany under leading authorities.

When hostilities broke out, Pinckney, who had been a royal militia officer since 1769, pursued a full-time military calling. When South Carolina organized its forces in 1775, he joined the First South Carolina Regiment as a captain. He soon rose to the rank of colonel and fought in the South in defense of Charleston and in the North at the Battles of Brandywine, PA, and Germantown, PA. He commanded a regiment in the campaign against the British in the Floridas in 1778 and at the siege of Savannah. When Charleston fell in 1780, he was taken prisoner and held until 1782. The following year, he was discharged as a brevet brigadier general.

Looks like this Savannah thing didn’t go well for either Pinckney.

Pinckney was one of the leaders at the Constitutional Convention. Present at all the sessions, he strongly advocated a powerful national government. His proposal that senators should serve without pay was not adopted, but he exerted influence in such matters as the power of the Senate to ratify treaties and the compromise that was reached concerning abolition of the international slave trade.

Seems both Pinckney’s took ‘leadership roles’ in the support of slavery. What are we seeing here, the birth of a nation or the re-establishment of the native aristocracy?

Under the new government, Pinckney became a devoted Federalist. Between 1789 and 1795 he declined presidential offers to command the U.S. Army and to serve on the Supreme Court and as Secretary of War and Secretary of State. In 1796, however, he accepted the post of Minister to France…What’s up with that and I mean both the offers and his refusal…only to accept another post that didn’t go well as we damn near ended up at war with France! This while his cousin kept getting re-elected governor!

During the later period of his life, Pinckney enjoyed his Belmont estate and Charleston high society. He was twice married; first to Sarah Middleton in 1773 and after her death to Mary Stead in 1786. Survived by three daughters, he died in Charleston in 1825 at the age of 79.

John Rutledge (1739-1800)—Rutledge was appointed an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1789-1791). He was then appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1795, but was not confirmed because of his negative feelings toward the Jay Treaty.

More, and this is getting redundant! John Rutledge, elder brother of Edward Rutledge, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born into a large family at or near Charleston, SC, in 1739. He received his early education from his father, an Irish immigrant and physician, and from an Anglican minister and a tutor. After studying law at London's Middle Temple in 1760, he was admitted to English practice. But, almost at once, he sailed back to Charleston to begin a fruitful legal career and to amass a fortune in plantations and slaves. Three years later, he married Elizabeth Grimke, who eventually bore him 10 children, and moved into a townhouse, where he resided most of the remainder of his life.

In 1761 Rutledge became politically active. That year, on behalf of Christ Church Parish, he was elected to the provincial assembly and held his seat until the War for Independence. For 10 months in 1764 he temporarily held the post of provincial attorney general. When the troubles with Great Britain intensified about the time of the Stamp Act in 1765, Rutledge, who hoped to ensure continued self-government for the colonies, sought to avoid severance from the British and maintained a restrained stance. He did, however, chair a committee of the Stamp Act Congress that drew up a petition to the House of Lords.

In 1774 Rutledge was sent to the First Continental Congress, where he pursued a moderate course. After spending the next year in the Second Continental Congress, he returned to South Carolina and helped reorganize its government. In 1776 he served on the committee of safety and took part in the writing of the state constitution. That year, he also became president of the lower house of the legislature, a post he held until 1778. During this period, the new government met many stern tests.

In 1778 the conservative Rutledge, disapproving of democratic revisions in the state constitution, resigned his position. The next year, however, he was elected as governor. It was a difficult time. The British were invading South Carolina, and the military situation was desperate. Early in 1780, by which time the legislature had adjourned, Charleston was besieged. In May it fell, the American army was captured, and the British confiscated Rutledge's property. He ultimately escaped to North Carolina and set about attempting to rally forces to recover South Carolina. In 1781, aided by Gen. Nathanael Greene and a new Continental Army force, he reestablished the government. In January 1782 he resigned the governorship and took a seat in the lower house of the legislature. He never recouped the financial losses he suffered during the war.

One of the most influential delegates at the Constitutional Convention, where he maintained a moderate nationalist stance and chaired the Committee of Detail, he attended all the sessions, spoke often and effectively, and served on five committees. Like his fellow South Carolina delegates, he vigorously advocated southern interests.

In and out he goes until this:

Four years later, Washington again appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court, this time as Chief Justice to replace John Jay. But Rutledge's outspoken opposition to Jay'sTreaty (1794), and the intermittent mental illness he had suffered from since the death of his wife in 1792, caused the Federalist-dominated Senate to reject his appointment and end his public career. Meantime, however, he had presided over one term of the Court.

The guy has a history of mental illness and still gets nominated to the Federal bench? Well, if mental illness isn’t enough to keep you out of the White House, why should it keep you off the bench?

Rhode Island

Rhode Island did not send any delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

For which I’m sure we’re both grateful, this is one long diary. Now for the final three.


John Blair (1732-1800)—His accomplishments were overshadowed by contributions of James Madison, but his support for the Constitution was rewarded by President George Washington with an appointment to the United States Supreme Court in 1789. He served in that position until his retirement due to ill health in 1796.

More (of the same) Scion of a prominent Virginia family, Blair was born at Williamsburg in 1732. He was the son of John Blair, a colonial official and nephew of James Blair, founder and first president of the College of William and Mary. Signer Blair graduated from that institution and studied law at London's Middle Temple. Thereafter, he practiced at Williamsburg. In the years 1766-70 he sat in the Virginia House of Burgesses as the representative of William and Mary. From 1770 to 1775 he held the position of clerk of the colony's council.

Blair attended the Constitutional Convention religiously but never spoke or served on a committee. He usually sided with the position of the Virginia delegation. And, in the commonwealth ratifying convention, Blair helped win backing for the new framework of government.

In 1789 Washington named Blair as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, where he helped decide many important cases. Resigning that post in 1796, he spent his remaining years in Williamsburg.

Yet another nodding head at the back of the room keeping a seat warm while real patriots were frozen out.

James Madison (1751-1836)—When the work of the Constitutional Convention was completed, Madison went on to play a major part in its ratification process by joining John Jay and Alexander Hamilton in writing the “Federalist Papers.” He became a member of the House of Representatives (1789-1797), was United States Secretary of State (1801-1809), and President of the United States (1809-1817). He outlived all of the other Founding Fathers.

More (of the usual): The oldest of 10 children and a scion of the planter aristocracy, Madison was born in 1751 at Port Conway, King George County, VA, while his mother was visiting her parents. In a few weeks she journeyed back with her newborn son to Montpelier estate, in Orange County, which became his lifelong home. He received his early education from his mother, from tutors, and at a private school. An excellent scholar though frail and sickly in his youth, in 1771 he graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton), where he demonstrated special interest in government and the law. But, considering the ministry for a career, he stayed on for a year of postgraduate study in theology

Madison was clearly the preeminent figure at the convention. Some of the delegates favored an authoritarian central government; others, retention of state sovereignty; and most occupied positions in the middle of the two extremes. Madison, who was rarely absent and whose Virginia Plan was in large part the basis of the Constitution, tirelessly advocated a strong government, though many of his proposals were rejected. Despite his poor speaking capabilities, he took the floor more than 150 times, third only after Gouverneur Morris and James Wilson. Madison was also a member of numerous committees, the most important of which were those on postponed matters and style. His journal of the convention is the best single record of the event. He also played a key part in guiding the Constitution through the Continental Congress.

The rest leads to his eventual presidency and death in 1836…this leaves:

George Washington (1732-1799)—Washington served for eight years as the first President of the United States under the new Constitution. His first four years were dominated by domestic issues and the second four years by foreign policy issues. During the administration of President John Adams there was a threat of war with France, and again, Washington came back to serve his country in the capacity of Commander-in-Chief. With the threat of war over he went back to live his last days at his beloved Mt. Vernon. He died there on December 14, 1799. At a memorial “Light Horse Harry” Lee said that George Washington was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

More (of the same I’m afraid): The eldest of six children from his father's second marriage, George Washington was born into the landed gentry in 1732 at Wakefield Plantation, VA. Until reaching 16 years of age, he lived there and at other plantations along the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, including the one that later became known as Mount Vernon. His education was rudimentary, probably being obtained from tutors but possibly also from private schools, and he learned surveying. After he lost his father when he was 11 years old, his half-brother Lawrence, who had served in the Royal Navy, acted as his mentor. As a result, the youth acquired an interest in pursuing a naval career, but his mother discouraged him from doing so.

At the age of 16, in 1748, Washington joined a surveying party sent out to the Shenandoah Valley by Lord Fairfax, a land baron. For the next few years, Washington conducted surveys in Virginia and present West Virginia and gained a lifetime interest in the West. In 1751-52 he also accompanied Lawrence on a visit he made to Barbados, West Indies, for health reasons just before his death.

Okay, primary distinction here is he wasn’t a lawyer.

In 1775, after the bloodshed at Lexington and Concord, Congress appointed him as commander in chief of the Continental Army. Overcoming severe obstacles, especially in supply, he eventually fashioned a well-trained and disciplined fighting force. The strategy Washington evolved consisted of continual harassment of British forces while avoiding general actions. Although his troops yielded much ground and lost a number of battles, they persevered even during the dark winters at Valley Forge, PA, and Morristown, NJ. Finally, with the aid of the French fleet and army, he won a climactic victory at the Battle of Yorktown, VA, in 1781.

During the next 2 years, while still commanding the agitated Continental Army, which was underpaid and poorly supplied, Washington denounced proposals that the military take over the government, including one that planned to appoint him as king, but supported army petitions to the Continental Congress for proper compensation. Once the Treaty of Paris (1783) was signed, he resigned his commission and returned once again to Mount Vernon. His wartime financial sacrifices and long absence, as well as generous loans to friends, had severely impaired his extensive fortune, which consisted mainly of his plantations, slaves, and landholdings in the West. At this point, however, he was to have little time to repair his finances, for his retirement was brief.

Dissatisfied with national progress under the Articles of Confederation, Washington advocated a stronger central government. He hosted the Mount Vernon Conference (1785) at his estate after its initial meetings in Alexandria, though he apparently did not directly participate in the discussions. Despite his sympathy with the goals of the Annapolis Convention (1786), he did not attend. But, the following year, encouraged by many of his friends, he presided over the Constitutional Convention, whose success was immeasurably influenced by his presence and dignity. Following ratification of the new instrument of government in 1788, the electoral college unanimously chose him as the first President.

Although many people encouraged Washington to seek a third term, he was weary of politics and refused to do so. In his "Farewell Address" (1796), he urged his countrymen to forswear party spirit and sectional differences and to avoid entanglement in the wars and domestic policies of other nations.

Unquestionably the greatest individual to ever hold the office of President. Even then it was clear that parties had the power to divide the nation and from the very start the nation was being divided, so it could be conquered…by the next generation of aristocracy.

That, good citizen, is the background information on our revered ‘founding fathers’, people who followed in the footsteps of men like John Jay, famous for establishing this nation’s legal system and for his firm belief of “Let those who own the country, rule the country!”

The Constitution is deeply flawed and needs to be thrown out.

All additional biographical information was obtained from the <a href => From Revolution to Reconstruction </a> website.

Retrieved from "http://localhost../../../f/o/u/Bios%7EFounding_Fathers_598e.html"

This page was last modified 00:21, 28 September 2008 by roger. Based on work by dKosopedia user(s) Monkeyface, Allamakee Democrat and Gegner. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

[Main Page]
Daily Kos
DailyKos FAQ

View source
Discuss this page
Page history
What links here
Related changes

Special pages
Bug reports