James Wilson

Leading Founding Father during the American Revolution and the adoption of the Constitution, and served on the Supreme Court

Founding Father James Wilson signed the Declaration of Independence, was a leading framer of the Constitution, and served as a Supreme Court Justice.

Born in Scotland on September 14, 1742, Wilson was educated at several Scottish universities.  He emigrated to America in 1765.  He began his career as a Latin tutor, studied law under John Dickinson, and served as a long-standing member of the Continental Congress.

According to fellow Founding Father Benjamin Rush, during the American Revolution Wilson “spoke often in Congress, and his eloquence was of the most commanding kind. . . . His mind, while he spoke, was one blaze of light. Not a word ever fell from his lips out of time, or out of place, nor could a word be taken from or added to his speeches without injuring them.”  After some hesitation, he voted to approve the Declaration of Independence, helping ensure its unanimous passage.

Wilson represented Pennsylvania at the Constitutional Convention.  Widely acknowledged as perhaps the second most influential delegate at the Convention, Wilson was an exceptional political theorist and would spearhead the ratification of the Constitution in Pennsylvania.

George Washington tapped Wilson as an Associate Justice for the United States Supreme Court, where he served for nine years.

He died on August 21, 1798.

For more about our Founding Fathers and their importance to our liberties today, buy a copy of America’s Survival Guide.

Picture:  The official portrait of Supreme Court Justice James Wilson.



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