William Livingston

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Founding Fathers
William Livingston.jpg
William Livingston
State New Jersey
Religion Presbyterian
Founding Documents United States Constitution

William Livingston (November 30, 1723 – October 9, 1824) was a minister, the first Governor of New Jersey, and a member of the Continental Congress. He attended the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and signed the United States Constitution.[1]

Early life

William Livingston was born in Albany, New York on November 30, 1723. When he was 14 years old, he was a part of a missionary to minister to the Mohawk Indians.[2] He attended Yale College, graduating in 1741; following graduation, he was admitted to the bar and embarked upon a successful legal career. In 1752, he established the Independent Reflector, a weekly newspaper; through his editorials in this paper, he commented on a wide range of political topics. In 1772, he moved to Elizabethtown, New Jersey.

Military Service

During the Revolutionary War, Livingston served as a brigadier general in the New Jersey state militia. In 1776 he resigned from the military in order to serve as Governor of New Jersey—a position he held until his death.[3]

Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention

Livingston served in the First Continental Congress in 1774, and in the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1776. He also attended the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, signing the United States Constitution on behalf of New Jersey. Other members of the New Jersey delegation to the Convention were Jonathan Dayton, William Houston, William Paterson, and David Brearley. Following the convention, he was instrumental in getting the Constitution ratified.

William Livingston's home, Liberty Hall

Noteworthy Facts


Livingston died in Elizabeth, New Jersey on July 25, 1790. He was interred in the family vault in Trinity Churchyard in New York City." In 1846, his remains were removed to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.


He was an early poet, having published the "Philosophic Solitude, or the Choice of a Rural Life" in 1747. He also helped to found the New York Society Library.

The town of Livingston, New Jersey, is named after him.[4]


External links