Robert Morris

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Founding Fathers
Robertmorris.jpg
Robert Morris
State Pennsylvania
Religion Christian- Episcopalian [1]
Founding Documents Declaration of Independence



Robert Morris (b. January 20, 1734; d. May 9, 1806) is a founding father of America, he would start The Bank of North America, almost singlehandedly financed the American Revolution. [2] Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress that signed the Declaration of Independence. Also, appointed "Financial Agent", the defacto first Secretary of the Treasury and was a United States Senator.

Contents

Early Life

Robert Morris was born in Liverpool, England. At age 13, he sailed to America to join his father Robert Morris, Sr. in the exportation of tobacco from Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. [3] Robert was sent to Philadelphia for school and to work for the wealthy merchant Charles Willing. He made steady progress and grew to assume much responsibility. Charles would die leaving his son the business and his son partnered with Morris. By the start of the American Revolution, the company Willing and Morris became one of the largest and most prosperous among the commercial merchants in Philadelphia. In 1769, Robert married the rich and accomplished twenty-year old Mary White.

American Revolution

Morris was elected to the Second Continental Congress in 1775. July 1, 1776 he would vote against the Declaration of Independence hoping for a peaceable solution saying, "it was an improper time." Soon thereafter, Morris would sign the Declaration saying, "I am not one of those politicians that run testy when my own plans are not adopted. I think it is the duty of a good citizen to follow when he cannot lead." His support would be crucial for young America.

When hostilities began, he was a member of the committee of ways and means. Morris personal supplied General Nathanael Green with munitions. In 1780, he would raise $1.4 million dollars to assist General Washington that would result in the capture of Yorktown. In 1781, he was unanimously elected superintendent of finance that oversaw the war effort. When necessary, he would use his personal credit by issuing notes over his own signature or borrowing from friends. In 1781, the United States was $2.5 million in debt. Morris organized The Bank of North America. It would be the first financial institution chartered by the United States. Ultimately, he established the credit of the United States with the nations of Europe.

Politics

After the war, Robert Morris would sign the Constitution for Pennsylvania. From 1789 to 1795 he served as a member of the first U. S. Senate from Pennsylvania. President George Washington officially appointed Morris Secretary of the Treasury. Morris declined and recommended Alexander Hamilton.

Death

Morris lost his vast fortune on land speculation and would live in poverty the remainder of his life. He had sought refuge from his creditors but was eventually arrested and imprisoned. After his release, Mrs. Morris secured a home and the next five years he lived in retirement. On May 8, 1806 Robert Morris died at the age of seventy-two.

References

  1. http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html
  2. Robert Morris, USHistory.org
  3. Robert Morris, Virtuology.com
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