John Adams (1735-1829) Adams was the second president of the United States. He was a lawyer, revolutionary leader, and leading Federalist. As a member of the Continental Congress, Adams served on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. He was minister to the Netherlands and Great Britain. Adams was elected vice president in 1789 and president in 1796.
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) Social reformer involved in both the abolitionist and woman suffrage movements. President of National American Woman Suffrage Association. Wrote and lectured in both the United States and Europe for women's right to vote.
Aristotle (384-322) Aristotle was a student of the philosopher Plato and the teacher of Alexander the Great. Considered one of the great philosophers in the Western intellectual tradition, he wrote treatises on subjects as diverse as government, logic, rhetoric, ethics, poetry, and biology. Aristotle continued an effort begun by Plato to place objects and ideas in categories based on similar properties. After Alexander's death, Aristotle fled Athens.
Roger Bacon (1214-1294) Bacon was an English empirical philosopher who focused on sensation as the primary method of acquiring knowledge. One of first advocates of modern scientific method to study the world, he also urged theologians to study science. He advocated reading the Bible and other texts in original languages.
William Blackstone (1723-1780) William Blackstone (originally pronounced "blextun") was an unsuccessful lawyer who became a lecturer on law at Oxford. He wrote Commentaries on the Laws of England, placing the history of English common law into four categories: rights of persons, rights of things, private wrongs (torts), and public wrongs (crimes). Written to be understood by non-lawyers, this work became an important source of legal information for the American colonists. Blackstone, among others, famously articulated "the Rights of Englishmen" held dear by American colonists. Statutory as well as common law, he argued, guarantees the sanctity of an Englishman's life, liberty, and property. These rights include due process of law, the attorney-client confidentiality, equality before the law, habeas corpus, the right to confront accusers, and forbidding bills of attainder and forced self-incrimination.
Edmond Burke (1729-1797) An Irish author and philosopher who served many years in the British House of Commons, explained the trustee theory in a speech in November 1774.
Aaron Burr (1756-1836) Burr was a prominent public official and political leader. He served in the Continental Army, the New York Assembly, as attorney general (1789-1791), and as senator (1791-1797). He was elected as vice president in 1800. Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804. He fled to South Carolina and attempted to raise an army to invade Texas and establish a republic. He was tried for treason in 1807 but was acquitted.
Pierce Butler (1744-1822) Butler was born in Ireland, the son of a member of the House of Lords. He served in the British Army until 1771, when he resigned after marrying a colonial girl. He served with the South Carolina militia in the Revolutionary War, during which he lost much of his property. Butler spoke often at the Philadelphia Convention, arguing for a strong national government and for the interests of southern slaveholders. Although he later served in the U.S. Senate, he devoted most of his time to his plantation.
John Calvin (1509-1564) Calvin was a French Protestant theologian who also trained as lawyer. He was a devout Catholic before converting to Protestantism sometime between 1528 and 1533. Calvin published Institution Christianae Religionis in 1536 (republished as Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1541) as an introductory textbook of Protestant faith. He attacked the teachings of Roman Catholicism.
James Earl Carter (1924-0) Better known as Jimmy Carter, he was the thirty-ninth president of the United States and a champion of civil and human rights. He has served as a leader on international election observation teams and as a mediator of several international disputes. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
Charles I (1600-1649) King of Britain and Ireland (1625-1649). Charles believed in the divine right of kings and absolute power of the monarch. He clashed with the House of Commons and ruled seven years without Parliament. Charles was forced to assent to the Petition of Right in 1628. His struggle with Parliament led to Civil War and his execution for high treason.
Charles II (1630-1685) King of Britain and Ireland (1660-1685). Son of Charles I, he restored the monarchy in 1660 but continued to have problems with Parliament. He agreed to the Habeas Corpus Act in 1678.
Cicero (106-43) Marcus Tullius Cicero was an orator, a lawyer, a politician, and a philosopher whose life coincided with the decline and fall of the Roman Republic. Elected to each of the major offices in Roman government, including senator and consul, Cicero was exiled in 58 BC. During his eleven-year exile he wrote extensively about politics and philosophy, much of his work focusing on the defense and improvement of the Roman Republic. Cicero's De Officiis, a profound meditation on morality and moral duty, including moral principles as applied to public life, deeply influenced Western civilization since its writing in 44 BC. De Officiis was so influential that when the printing press was invented, it was the second book to be printed after the Bible. Cicero, echoing the views of Stoic philosophy, argued for self-restraint and limits to action for the sake of self-interest. He argued that what is honorable and what is expedient cannot ever rightly be said to conflict. What is honorable must always be chosen, and some actions, even to save the state, are so morally abhorrent that they must be rejected. In the sixteenth century Machiavelli directly contradicted these ideas and argued that to establish, maintain, and expand their power, rulers must be taught "how not to be good."
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) A Polish astronomer and mathematician, Copernicus advocated the view that Earth rotates on an axis and makes a yearly revolution around a stationary sun. This view marked the beginning of the scientific revolution. The Catholic Church rejected his scientific theories.
William Dawes (1745-1799) Dawes was a tradesman and was active in the Revolutionary movement in Boston. He gave the warning, with Paul Revere, before the battles of Lexington and Concord. Dawes served in the Continental Army.
Rene Descartes (1596-1650) This French mathematician, who invented analytic geometry, was also a scientist and philosopher–he was considered to be the father of modern philosophy. Descartes sought to discover truth through systematic doubt. He believed that if one were "a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life to doubt, as far as possible, all things." Descartes gave us the famous Latin phrase, "cogito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am).
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) Eisenhower was the thirty-fourth president. He served as commander of U.S. Forces in Europe during World War II and was then elevated to Allied commander in chief. Eisenhower was elected president in 1952 and reelected four years later. In 1957, he ordered federal troops into Little Rock to enforce an integration order. He launched the space race and initiated the interstate highway system.
Elizabeth I (1533-1603) The third monarch to follow Henry VIII, she was his daughter and re-established the Protestant church in England after her half-sister Mary had taken the kingdom back to Catholicism. Elizabeth was a long-lived and immensely popular monarch, who sought and took advice to make England one of the most prosperous and powerful countries in the world. Science and culture also flourished during her reign.
Oliver Ellsworth (1745-1807) Ellsworth was a member of a well-to-do Connecticut family. He graduated from the College of New Jersey, taught school, and served as a minister before going into law. He was soon considered one of Connecticut's best lawyers. Ellsworth served in the Continental Congress and was a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention. He played an important role at the convention and was one of the authors of the Great Compromise. Elected to the U.S. Senate, he was responsible for the Judiciary Act of 1789. In 1796 Ellsworth was appointed Chief Justice of the United States. His opinions helped to shape admiralty and treaty law.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Franklin was the oldest delegate to the Philadelphia Convention. With the possible exception of George Washington, Franklin was the best-known man in America. Born into a poor family, Franklin became an inventor, scientist, diplomat, and publisher. His Poor Richard's Almanac was read nationwide. His career in public service was long and varied, and included service as ambassador to England and France and as governor of Pennsylvania. At the Philadelphia Convention, Franklin was a compromiser, using wit to bring delegates together. A staunch advocate of colonial rights, he helped draft the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Paris (1783). He played an important role in creating the Great Compromise. He favored a strong national government and argued that the Framers should trust the judgment of the people. Although he was in poor health in 1787, he missed few sessions, being carried to and from the meeting place in a special chair. Although he did not agree with everything in the Constitution, he believed that no other convention could come up with a better document.
Galilei Galileo (1564-1642) Galileo was a Tuscan mathematician, astronomer, and physicist who championed Copernicus and his view that Earth revolves around the sun. His empirical approach to science broke tradition with Aristotle. Albert Einstein called him the "father of modern science." Galileo spent his later years under house arrest on orders of the Italian Inquisition, a Catholic Church tribunal created to protect the church from heresy.
Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814) Gerry was born to a wealthy merchant family in Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard and was a staunch supporter of Samuel Adams. Gerry was active in protests against British policies and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He often changed his mind about political issues. For example, after Shays' Rebellion, he spoke against giving the common people too much power, but he still argued for yearly elections and against giving the Senate, which was not accountable to the people, too much power. Gerry refused to sign the Constitution and worked against ratification. Throughout his life, he served in a variety of offices including that of vice president.
Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Hamilton was a senior aide-de-camp to General Washington and an artillery captain during the Revolutionary War. He was a delegate from New York to the Philadelphia Convention and one of three authors of The Federalist, written to urge ratification of the U.S. Constitution. He later served as the first secretary of the treasury, put the nation's finances on a firm footing and advocated a strong national government.
Henry VIII (1491-1547) The second monarch of the house of Tudor, Henry severed the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church and established the king as head of the Church of England. Famous for six marriages, Henry made the royal court a center of scholarly and musical innovation.
Patrick Henry (1736-1799) A prominent political leader and supporter of the Revolutionary cause, Henry opposed the Philadelphia Convention and refused to attend. Henry argued against the development of a strong national government. He was suspicious of what might happen at the convention and is reported to have said "I smell a rat." Henry led opposition in Virginia to ratification of the Constitution and later worked to include the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) Thomas Hobbes, a philosopher of materialism, fled to France during English civil war (1642-1651, which pitted Parliament against the Crown), where he wrote Leviathan. This book argued that humans without government live in a "state of nature," which is a "state of war" of against all. Life in such conditions is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Thus in a state of nature all fear violent death, and violent death is what people fear most. To avoid violent death, they agree to set up a state with strict authority and the power to protect life. People agree to leave this state of nature through "social contract" and to give all power to the Leviathan state, which Hobbes characterized as a "mortal god." Hobbes was accused of atheism for the views he expressed in Leviathan, where Hobbes pilloried various theological ideas. The English Parliament asserted that Leviathan helped cause the plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666. The book was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by the Catholic Church because it undermined the theory of divine right of kings.
Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) Jackson was the seventh president of the United States. He was a general and hero of the War of 1812. Jackson served in the House and Senate. He had frontier origins and was seen as representative of the growing democratic spirit in the South and West. Jackson was elected president in 1828 and reelected in 1832.
James I (1566-1625) King of Scots (1567-1625). King of England (1603-1625). James was son of Mary, Queen of Scots. He sought to assert the divine right of kings.
John Jay (1745-1829) Jay was the first chief justice of the United States, serving from 1789 to 1795. He wrote New York's first constitution. Jay served as president of the Continental Congress and as minister to Spain and England. He was a strong supporter of the Constitution and one of the authors of The Federalist. Jay was appointed chief justice by President Washington but resigned in 1795 when he was elected governor of New York.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. He was a scientist, philosopher, diplomat, and architect. He supported the revolutionary cause and served as governor of Virginia. Between June 11 and June 28, 1776, Jefferson wrote the initial draft of the Declaration of Independence, which was amended by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin and submitted to Congress. Jefferson supported the Constitution but was critical of its lack of a bill of rights. He was the first secretary of state in Washington's cabinet and the leader of the Republican Party. Jefferson was elected vice president in 1796 and was chosen president four years later. He was reelected to the presidency in 1804.
King of England John (1167-1216) King of England (1199-1216). John is most well known for having been forced by the barons to sign the Magna Carta in June 1215. His reign was marked by the loss of territory to Philip II of France, which contributed to the dissatisfaction of the barons.
Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) Thirty-sixth president of the United States. Served in both the House and the Senate. Elected in 1955 as Senate Majority Leader. Elected vice president in 1960. Succeeded to presidency in 1963 upon the assassination of President Kennedy. Elected president in 1964.His "Great Society" program included massive grants to cities and metropolitan areas and programs to assist the poor and minorities. More grant programs came into existence during the five years of Johnson's administration than any other time in American history.
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth president of the United States. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1946; six years later, was elected to the Senate. In 1960, Kennedy became the youngest man and first Catholic ever elected president. Assassinated in 1963.
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) A German mathematician and astronomer, Kepler believed that God created the world according to a plan knowable through natural reason. He formulated theories of planetary motion and "laws" built on Copernicus's theories and laid the foundation for Newton's theory of gravity in the next century. Kepler served as imperial mathematician to Emperor Rudolph II and was allowed to practice the Lutheran faith.
Martin Luther King (1929-1968) Religious leader and social reformer. Major leader of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, he was an advocate of nonviolence. Formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and became its president. Won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Assassinated in 1968.
Rufus King (1755-1827) King was born in what is now Maine. He was the eldest son of a wealthy farmer-merchant and graduated from Harvard. He studied the law and entered practice in Massachusetts. An excellent speaker and early opponent of slavery, King served in the Massachusetts legislature and the Continental Congress. One of the youngest delegates to the Philadelphia Convention, King was also one of the best speakers, arguing for a stronger national government. His notes on the events at the convention have been of interest to historians. In 1788, King moved to New York, where he became active in state politics and was chosen as a U.S. senator several times. He also served as a director of the First Bank of the United States and as minister to Great Britain. He ran for vice president twice and president once, but lost all three times.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States. In his Gettysburg Address he declared the aim of preserving a "nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
John Locke (1632-1704) John Locke, a physician and philosopher, worked with famous scientists, including Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke. In contrast to Hobbes, Locke used state of nature and social contract theory to justify limited government and the preservation of individual rights, particularly life, liberty, and property. Locke is sometimes called "America's philosopher" because his Second Treatise of Government (1690) was widely read by the colonists and important ideas found in it (as well as in works of English republican writers) are found in the Declaration of Independence, especially his theories of natural rights and his defense of violent revolution after "a long train of abuses" of power by rulers. Two verbatim phrases of Locke's are found in the Declaration.
Martin Luther (1483-1546) A German monk and theologian considered to be founder of Protestantism, Luther argued that the Bible, not the pope, was the source of all religious authority and that individuals can attain salvation through faith alone, unmediated by the church. Luther translated the Bible into vernacular German, making it accessible to laypeople. He also wrote hymns that developed the tradition of congregational singing and set the pattern for Protestant clerical marriage.
Niccolo di Machiavelli (1469-1527) Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian political philosopher and diplomat. A central figure in the political Renaissance, he wrote The Prince and discourses on Livy. He is most famous for The Prince, which describes how political leaders can get, keep, and expand political power. Machiavelli believed that political ends justify whatever means—including cruelty—are required to achieve them. He famously observed that it is safer for a prince to be feared than loved.
James Madison (1751-1836) The "Father of the Constitution" was born to a wealthy Virginia family. He was taught at home and in private schools, then graduated from the College of New Jersey. While deciding whether to become a lawyer or minister, Madison became involved in the revolutionary cause, thereby entering state and local politics. His poor health kept him from serving in the military. In 1780, Madison was chosen to serve in the Continental Congress, where he played a major role. He was one of the most influential voices calling for a constitutional convention. He came to the Philadelphia Convention with a plan for the new government, took extensive notes on the proceedings, spoke more than 150 times, and worked tirelessly on various committees. As one of the authors of The Federalist, Madison was also a key figure in the battle for ratification. Following the convention, Madison served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, helping to frame the Bill of Rights and organize the executive department. Under Jefferson, Madison served as secretary of state. He then succeeded Jefferson as president. In retirement, Madison continued to speak out on public issues.
John Marshall (1755-1835) Chief justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835. Supported ratification of the Constitution and led Federalist Party in Virginia. Member of the House of Representatives. Served 34 years as chief justice, interpreting the Constitution in a manner that reflected his belief in a strong and effective national government.
Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed in 1967 by President Johnson. Great-grandson of slaves, he became involved in the civil rights movement. As counsel for the NAACP, he successfully pleaded the case of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. First African American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Luther Martin (1748-1826) Luther Martin was born in New Jersey around 1748. After graduating from the College of New Jersey, he moved to Maryland where he began practicing law. He served as state attorney general and in the Continental Congress. At the Philadelphia Convention, he opposed increasing the power of the federal government. Martin believed in the rights of the states and of the people and wanted each state to have an equal vote in Congress. He also wanted a bill of rights. Although he owned six slaves, Martin opposed slavery, speaking out against it. Because he lost the battles on the issues he thought were important, Martin left the convention and did not sign the Constitution. He fought against ratification in Maryland. After 27 years in office, Martin resigned as Maryland attorney general in 1805. He served in several other positions, but returned as attorney general in 1818.
George Mason (1725-1792) Mason was the author, in 1776, of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He was a delegate from Virginia to the Philadelphia Convention but refused to sign the proposed Constitution because it contained no bill of rights. He argued against ratification for same reason.
George Mason (1725-1792) George Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Later, as a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention (see Lessons 9-12) Mason led the movement against ratification of the U.S. Constitution because it lacked a bill of rights (see Lesson 13). Mason did not want government in America to become like government in England, and he believed declarations of rights as limits on government were one way to prevent this.
Montesquieu (1689-1755) (Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu) Montesquieu was a French lawyer, nobleman, author, and political philosopher. He is recognized as one of greatest thinkers of the Enlightenment. Montesquieu first gained fame for a satire, The Persian Letters, in 1721, which pointed out the absurdities of modern European, especially French, life. He also published Considerations of the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and of their Decline (anonymously) in 1734. His masterpiece, The Spirit of the Laws (1748), greatly influenced political thought in Europe and America and was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by Catholic Church because of its "liberal" views.
Thomas More (1478-1534) More was an English barrister and politician who was imprisoned for advocating a decrease in proposed appropriations for King Henry VII. He later helped King Henry VIII repudiate Martin Luther. As speaker of House of Commons he also helped establish the parliamentary privilege of free speech. Convicted of treason in 1534 for failing to recognize King Henry VIII as head of Church of England, More was imprisoned again and then beheaded. He was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1886 and declared a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1935. More coined the word utopia for his controversial novel of that title, published in 1516.
Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816) Morris was born in New York to a wealthy family with a history of public service. Early in life, he lost a leg in a carriage accident. He graduated from King's College in New York City and studied law. Many of his family and friends were loyalists, but Morris sided with the patriots. He served in the militia as well as in the New York legislature and the Continental Congress. When he was defeated for Congress in 1779, Morris moved to Philadelphia to practice law. At the Philadelphia Convention, Morris gave more speeches than anyone else. He favored a strong national government ruled by the upper classes. He served on many committees and was the primary author of the actual document. After the convention, Morris spent ten years in Europe. He served briefly in the Senate, but then retired.
Isaac Newton (1643-1727) An English mathematician and physicist, Newton was one of greatest thinkers of his or any generation. He was influenced by Descartes, laid the foundation for differential and integral calculus, and is considered the founder of modern physical science. His most notable contributions were in optics and universal gravitation, although he did not invent this idea. Newton opposed attempts by King James II to make universities Catholic institutions.
James Otis (1725-1783) James Otis was born in West Barnstable, Massachusetts, in 1725. He was the brother of Mercy Otis Warren. He had once been an advocate general in the vice admiralty courts charged with prosecuting smugglers, but resigned his post to represent Boston merchants in the effort to prevent general writs from being reissued. Otis argued that general writs violated the colonists? natural rights and that any act of Parliament contrary to those rights was void. Otis lost the case and the writs were reissued. John Adams, then a young lawyer, later said that Otis's argument was the first act of colonial resistance to British policies. Otis became an instant celebrity and was elected to the Massachusetts legislature (called the general court). He played a prominent role in revolutionary politics until 1769, when a British customs official beat him on the head with a cane in retaliation for a newspaper article Otis had written. Otis's head injuries left him mentally unstable and ended his political career.
Thomas Paine (1737-1809) Author and political theorist. Born in England, he came to America in November, 1774. In early 1776, he published the pamphlet Common Sense which stirred many Americans to the revolutionary cause. During the war, his pamphlet, The Crisis, helped support the Revolution and encouraged the soldiers in the Continental Army.
William Paterson (1745-1806) Born in Ireland, Paterson was brought to the colonies when he was two years old. The family moved often-from Delaware to Connecticut to New Jersey, where they finally settled. Paterson graduated from the College of New Jersey and studied law. He supported the patriots in the Revolutionary War. Paterson served as attorney general of New Jersey from 1776-1783. At the Philadelphia Convention, he argued strongly for the rights of the small states, putting forth the New Jersey Plan in opposition to Madison's Virginia Plan. Although he left the convention in July, he returned to sign the Constitution. Later, Paterson served as a U.S. senator, governor of New Jersey, and a Supreme Court justice.
Charles Pinckney (1757-1824) Charles Pinckney was born in South Carolina, the son of a rich lawyer and planter. He trained as a lawyer. He served in the militia during the Revolution, was captured by the British, and remained a prisoner until 1781. He served in the Continental Congress and the South Carolina legislature. At the Philadelphia Convention, Pinckney spoke often. He was a good speaker who contributed to the compromises that made the Constitution possible. After the convention, he held a variety of political offices, including governor and U.S. senator. Although he began his career as a Federalist, he switched to the Republican party and worked to give the vote to all white males. The last public office he held was a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Paul Revere (1735-1818) Silversmith and revolutionary patriot. Leader of the Boston Sons of Liberty. Principal express rider for the Boston Committee of Safety, spreading news of revolutionary activities, including his famous ride of April 18, 1775, warning of the forthcoming attack of British troops.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) Thirty-second president of the United States, the only person to be elected to the office four times. He served during the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II.
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) The twenty-sixth president of the United States, Roosevelt was an immensely popular leader who wrote on American ideals, ranching, hunting, and zoology. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his part in ending the Russo-Japanese War by orchestrating meetings that led to the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905.
Daniel Shays (1747-1825) Revolutionary soldier and postwar rebel. One of several leaders of the revolt in western Massachusetts against the state government. In 1786, he led armed farmers in a raid on the Springfield arsenal. Fled to Vermont when his band was defeated and later settled in New York.
Roger Sherman (1721-1793) Born in 1721 in Massachusetts, Sherman spent most of his boyhood helping his father with farming and shoe-making chores. However, he read in whatever spare time he could find. In 1743, he moved to Connecticut, purchasing a store and winning a variety of local political offices. Although Sherman had not formally studied the law, he became a lawyer. His career was distinguished, including service in the state legislature, and work as a judge. Although he gave up the practice of law in 1761, he continued his political career, serving in the Continental Congress. Sherman was one of the members of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He attended nearly every session of the Philadelphia Convention and was an important contributor to the Great Compromise. He also worked hard to get Connecticut to ratify the Constitution. Sherman later served as a member of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Adam Smith (1723-1790) A Scottish economist who popularized the theory that rational economic self-interest in a free market leads to overall economic well-being. Smith's early works focused on ethics and charity, which Smith argued were part of self-interest. In An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations Smith wrote, "Man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only." Smith also argued that the American colonies were too expensive for the British Empire to keep.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) Naturalist, philosopher, author. Lived for two years at Walden Pond to demonstrate the simple, self-reliant life. In 1849, he published his essay "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience." Was imprisoned for one day in 1846 for refusing to pay a tax supporting the Mexican War which he opposed.
Harry Truman (1884-1972) Thirty-third president of the United States. Elected to the Senate from Missouri in 1934. Chosen as Franklin Roosevelt's running mate in 1944, he succeeded to the presidency upon Roosevelt's death in April 1945, and was reelected in 1948. He was responsible for integrating the Armed Forces.
Earl Warren (1891-1974) Chief justice of the United States from 1953 to 1969. Appointed by President Eisenhower. Was attorney general and governor of California. In 1954, he announced the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education.
Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814) An author and Anti-Federalist, she knew most of the Revolutionary leaders personally and spent much of her life at the center of events. Her vantage point, combined with her literary talents, made her a well-known historian and poet. She wrote several plays and a three-volume history of the Revolution.
George Washington (1732-1799) George Washington was born in Virginia in 1732. He grew up there on several plantations along the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers. He was not particularly well educated, but did learn surveying. In 1753, he began his service to the country, which was to continue throughout his life, despite his desire to live a more private existence. Washington's efforts as commander of the Continental Army are well known. After the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, Washington returned to his home, Mount Vernon. Although he did not initially want to attend the Philadelphia Convention, his friends convinced him that his presence was necessary. He was elected president of the convention but spoke little. His presence and approval, however, were important. Nearly everyone assumed that Washington would be the first president of the United States, which, of course, he was, serving from 1789-1797.
William The Conqueror (1027-1087) First Norman king in England. Introduced the feudal order to the old Anglo-Saxon system of government.
James Wilson (1741-1798) Wilson was born and educated in Scotland. He arrived in America in 1765, where he taught and studied law. He set up a legal practice in Pennsylvania. He was active in the revolutionary effort, voting for independence and signing the Declaration. After the war, he defended loyalists and their sympathizers. His shift to conservatism angered many people in Pennsylvania, but by the 1780s, Wilson was again elected to the Continental Congress. He was an influential delegate to the Philadelphia Convention, where he spoke even more often than Madison. Wilson led the ratification effort in Pennsylvania. In 1789, he was appointed to the Supreme Court.
Robert Yates (1738-1801) Yates was born and educated in New York. He became a lawyer and set up practice in Albany. He spent the greatest amount of time as a justice of the New York Supreme Court, serving eight years as chief justice. Yates left the Philadelphia Convention because he believed it had exceeded its authority. A strong Anti-Federalist, he worked against ratification, writing several essays attacking the document. Yates kept notes of the convention which have been useful to historians.
John Peter Zenger (1697-1746) Printer and editor. Served as editor of an anti-government newspaper and, in 1733, was arrested for seditious libel. His defense was handled by Andrew Hamilton who urged jury to consider the truth of Zenger's statements. The jury did so, Zenger was acquitted, and his name became linked with freedom of the press.