John Dickinson

Born: November 13 or 15, 1732 (November 2 or 4, respectively, in the “”old style”” Julian calendar used at time) at Talbot County, Province of Maryland, British America
Died: February 14, 1808 (aged 75) at Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
Spouse: Mary (Polly) Norris (m. 1770 – 1803)
Children: He had five children

Offices held:
5th President of Pennsylvania (1781 – 1785)
President of Delaware (1782 – 1783)
Continental Congressman from Delaware (1779 – 1781)
Continental Congressman from Pennsylvania (1774 – 1776)
Political Party: Democratic-Republican

Facts about John Dickinson

Dickinson was one of Pennsylvania’s delegates to the First Continental Congress in 1774 and the Second Continental Congress in 1775 and 1776. He was a proud devotee of the British Constitution and felt the dispute was with Parliament only. Dickinson believed that Congress should complete the Articles of Confederation and secure a foreign alliance before issuing a declaration.

Dickinson refused to sign the Declaration and since a proposal had been brought forth and carried that stated, “”for our mutual security and protection,”” no man could remain in Congress without signing, Dickinson voluntarily left and joined the Pennsylvania militia. Dickinson resigned his commission in December 1776 and went to stay at Poplar Hall in Kent County.

Dickinson was the only founding father to free his slaves in the period between 1776 and 1786. Dickinson prepared the first draft of the Articles of Confederation in 1776, after others had ratified the Declaration of Independence over his objection that it would lead to violence, and to follow through on his view that the colonies would need a governing document to survive war against them.

On January 18, 1779, Dickinson was appointed to be a delegate for Delaware to the Continental Congress. He was elected President of Pennsylvania on November 7, 1782, garnering 41 votes to James Potter’s 32.

In 1784, Dickinson and Mary Norris Dickinson bequeathed much of their combined library to John and Mary’s College, named in their honor by its founder Benjamin Rush and later renamed Dickinson College. He prepared initial drafts of the First Amendment. Following the Convention he promoted the resulting Constitution in a series of nine essays, written under the pen name Fabius.

In 1801, Dickinson published two volumes of his collected works on politics. Dickinson College and Dickinson School of Law (now of the Pennsylvania State University), separate institutions each operating a campus located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on land inherited and managed by his wife Mary Norris, were named for them.

And along with his Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, Dickinson also authored The Liberty Song. Dickinson Street in Madison, Wisconsin is named in his honor, as is John Dickinson High School in Milltown, Delaware, and Dickinson Hall at the University of Delaware.

John Dickinson Childhood

Dickinson was educated at home, by his parents and by recent immigrants employed for that purpose. Among them was the Presbyterian minister Francis Alison, who later established New London Academy in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Most important was his tutor, William Killen, who became a lifelong friend and who later became Delawares first Chief Justice and Chancellor. Dickinson was precocious and energetic, and in spite of his love of Poplar Hall and his family, was drawn to Philadelphia.

At 18 he began studying the law under John Moland in Philadelphia. There he made friends with fellow students George Read and Samuel Wharton, among others. By 1753, John went to London for three years of study at the Middle Temple. He spent those years studying the works of Edward Coke and Francis Bacon at the Inns of Court, following in the footsteps of his lifelong friend, Pennsylvania Attorney General Benjamin Chew, and in 1757 was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar beginning his career as barrister and solicitor.

Where is John Dickinson buried?

He was buried in the Friends Burial Ground.

How did John Dickinson die?

Dickinson died at Wilmington, Delaware in 1808

John DICKINSON Biography

DICKINSON, John, (brother of Philemon Dickinson), a Delegate from Pennsylvania and from Delaware; born on his fathers estate, Crosiadore, near Trappe, Talbot County, Md., November 8, 1732; moved with his parents in 1740 to Dover, Del., where he studied under a private teacher; studied law in Philadelphia and at the Middle Temple in London; was admitted to the bar in 1757 and commenced practice in Philadelphia; member of the Assembly of Lower Counties, as the State of Delaware was then called, in 1760;

Member of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1762 and 1764; delegate to the Stamp Act Congress in 1765; Member from Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress 1774-1776 and from Delaware in 1779; brigadier general of Pennsylvania Militia; President of the State of Delaware in 1781; returned to Philadelphia and served as President of Pennsylvania 1782-1785; returned to Delaware; was a member of the Federal convention of 1787 which framed the Constitution and was one of the signers from Delaware; died in Wilmington, New Castle County, Del., on February 14, 1808; interment in Wilmington Friends Meetinghouse Burial Ground.


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