Revolutionary War Continental Army Officer, Presidential Cabinet Secretary. The son of Philadelphia publisher William Bradford, he earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. In 1776, he entered the Pennsylvania Militia as a private. He later joined the Continental Army in which he became a Colonel. He served as Pennsylvania's Attorney General from 1780 to 1791, and sat on the Commonwealth's Supreme Court from 1791 to 1794. Bradford supported Benjamin Rush and the Pennsylvania Prison Society in limiting the death penalty. As a result of Bradford's essay, "An Inquiry How Far the Punishment of Death is Necessary in Pennsylvania," the Pennsylvania legislature in 1794 abolished capital punishment for all crimes except premeditated murder. President George Washington appointed him as second Attorney General of the United States; he served from 1794 to 1795.
Bio by: rjschatz