Summer Lecture on Summer of 1787

This past July I had the pleasure to attend and present at the American Battlefield Trust Teacher Institute. One of the keynote speakers was David O. Steward, the author of Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution. During his talk, there were a few points that stuck out to me and I share them with you.summer of 1787 stewart

  • 72 elected, 55 attended, and 35 delegates were probably there all summer.
  • Out of the 55 that attended, 39 affixed their signatures to the document

In reference to George Washington, Stewart candidly remarked he had “more influence by keeping his mouth shut” almost as if by his calm, quiet demeanor, he was displaying that “I trust in you and I’ll try and make it work” with whatever the delegates designed in that hot and stuffy room in Philadelphia.  Continue reading “Summer Lecture on Summer of 1787”

Six Signers Signing

Part Three of Six

His name might not be too familiar, but he has the distinction of signing three of the most important documents of the American Revolutionary period; the petition to King George III of 1774, the Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution. His name?

George Read.read

 

Born in the colony of Maryland on September 18, 1733 in the county of Cecil, the young Read was shortly thereafter on the move. His family, while George was an infant, resettled in New Castle, Delaware. When of school age, he attended Reverend Francis Allison’s Academy in New London, Pennsylvania, and one of his classmates was Thomas McKean, a future Signer of the Declaration of Independence as well. George moved on to study law in Philadelphia under the tutelage of John Moland. In 1753, George was admitted to the bar and the next year had settled back in New Castle, Delaware to practice. Continue reading “Six Signers Signing”

Six Signing Signers

Part Two of Six
(for part one, click here)

The financier. Those two words explain the importance of Robert Morris, the Liverpool, England born Pennsylvanian transplant. As George Washington engineered the pivotal campaign that culminated in the actions at Trenton on Christmas Day 1776 and Princeton in early January, Robert Morris was the man who made it happen.

Born on January 20, 1734, Morris was a 13-year old lad when he sailed for the British North American colonies. He was headed to Oxford, Maryland where his father had emigrated prior to. While living on his father’s tobacco-growing plantation, Morris was afforded the opportunity to have a tutor and showed his mental prowess, advancing rapidly in his studies.

Outgrowing his tutor, Morris was sent to a family friend in Philadelphia where it was arranged the young man would become an apprentice in the shipping and banking of future Philadelphia mayor Charles Willing. When Willing died in 1754, Morris was made partner. He was only 24 years old at the time.

After the establishment of Willing, Morris, and Company on May 1, 1757, Morris was set about establishing himself firmly in the upper society of Philadelphia, the largest city in the 13 British colonies. Yet, it was not until he was 35 years old in 1759 when he wed Mary White, who hailed from a prominent Maryland family. In time, the family grew to include five sons and two daughters. That same year, Morris and his partner Thomas Willing organized the first non-importation agreement in which the slave trade was ended for good in the Philadelphia region.

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Robert Morris (courtesy of our friends at The Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, http://www.dsdi1776.com)

Even before his marriage, Morris was active in politics. In 1765 he had served on a committee comprised of local merchants. Formed in protest to the Stamp Act, Morris was chosen to mediate a mass town meeting of protesters. Even though he personally felt the new acts were unconstitutional, Morris was remained steadfastly loyal to Great Britain. Continue reading “Six Signing Signers”