John Dickinson

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Founding Fathers
John Dickinson.jpg
John Dickinson
State Pennsylvania
Religion Quaker
Founding Documents Articles of Confederation, United States Constitution


John Dickinson (1732-1808) was a Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774-1776 and from Delaware in 1779. Dickinson is known as the "Penman of the Revolution" for his powerful and eloquent writings urging resistance to unjust British tax policies. This is particularly clear in his writing of "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania," which was written between 1767 and 1768. Also the "Declaration of the Causes of Taking Up Arms" he wrote as a member of the Continental Congress in 1776. Dickinson was one of the signers of the Articles of Confederation, and was also a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787; although he did not personally sign the Constitution, he authorized George Read to do so for him.[1] His illustrious career was also marked by service as President of Delaware in 1781, and President of Pennsylvania from 1782-1785.[2]

Early Life

John Dickinson was born in Maryland, on the November 2nd, 1732. He was the eldest son by a second marriage of Samuel Dickinson, Esq., who, some years after his birth, removed to his estate near Dover, in Delaware, and filled the office of first judge of the court of common pleas. His mother, Mary Cadwalader, was a descendant from one of the earliest settlers of Pennsylvania.

After having studied law under John Moland, Esq., of Philadelphia, he went to England, where he remained for three years at the Temple in London. On his return he established himself in the practice of the law in Philadelphia, where his abilities and acquirements procured for him eminent success.[3]

Constitutional Convention

At the Convention, Dickinson represented the state of Delaware. Other members of the Delaware delegation to the Convention were Gunning Bedford, Jr., Jacob Broom, Richard Bassett, and George Read.

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