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Gouverneur Morris

Gouverneur Morris was an American statesman, a Founding Father of the United States, and a native of New York City who represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation. Morris was also an author of large sections of the Constitution of the United States and one of its signers.


  • His first name came from his mother, whose maiden name was Sarah Gouverneur from a Huguenot family that had first moved to Holland then to New Amsterdam. According to Abigail Adams, it was pronounced "governeer."

  • Education

    • Morris enrolled in 1764, at age 12, at King's College, now Columbia College of Columbia University in New York City. He graduated in 1768 and received a Master's degree in 1771.


    • On May 8, 1775, Morris was elected to represent his family estate in southern Westchester County, in the New York Provincial Congress. As a member of the congress, he, along with most of his fellow delegates, concentrated on turning the colony into an independent state

      Morris was appointed as a delegate to the Continental Congress, and took his seat in Congress on 28 January 1778. He was immediately selected to a committee in charge of coordinating reforms of the military with George Washington.

      He went to France as agent of Robert Morris in 1789, assisted in opening tobacco trade on better terms for America, and selling of American lands.

      On July 4, 1803 he was elected an honorary member of the New York Society of the Cincinnati.

      After leaving the U.S. Senate, he served as Chairman of the Erie Canal Commission from 1810 to 1813.

      He was a member of the 1st N.Y. Council of Safety.

    Major achievements

    • He is widely credited as the author of the document's preamble, and has been called the "Penman of the Constitution." In an era when most Americans thought of themselves as citizens of their respective states, Morris advanced the idea of being a citizen of a single union of states.


    • Articles of Confederation
    • instruction to Benjamin Franklin (1st United States minister to France)


    Morris held conservative position between radicals (who wished “reign of terror” against Loyalists) and staunch Loyalists (who wished to remain united with Eng.).

    not reelected to Continental Congress because of refusal to support Gov. George Clinton and N.Y.’s claims to Vt.

    He favored strong centralized government controlled by rich and well-born, a president elected for life, and a senate appreciated for life by president.;

    noted for his cynical contempt for democracy;


    Gouverneur Morris
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    Born January 31, 1752
    Died November 6, 1816
    (aged 64)
    • 1768
      Kings College (now Columbia)
    • 1771
      New York bar
      New York
    • 1775 - 1777
      member, New York Provincial Congress from Westchester County
    • July, 1775
      member, Constitutional Conveyance from New York
    • 1777 - 1778
      Member, Continental Congress from New York
    • February, 1780 - April, 1780
      contbiuted essays on finance (signed “An American”) to Pennsylvania Packet
    • 1781 - 1785
      United States assistant supporting finance under Robert Morris
    • 1792 - 1794
      United States minister to France by President George Washington, the only foreign minister to remain in Paris during Reign of Terror
    • April 3, 1800 - 1803
      Member, United States Senate (Federalist) from New York
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