United States Constitution Signer, US Senator, US Congressman, South Carolina Governor. Born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina this son of a wealthy lawyer and planter became one of the framers of the United States Constitution through his passionate speeches and problem solving abilities. He served in his state's militia participating in the Siege of Savannah in 1779. The next year he was captured by the British and was a Prisoner of War until the summer of 1781. During and after the war he also served as a member of the Continental Congress as well as in the state legislature. A strong nationalist he worked to increase congressional powers and assure that the US would achieve the rights needed to navigate the Mississippi River. Although he was the second youngest delegate at the Constitutional Convention he did not allow his youth to deter him from letting his ideas regarding the contents of the country's new constitution known. Many of his resolutions were adopted, although his later assertion that his final draft was the basis for the final constitution cannot be proved. Many historians credit him with fighting to make sure that the citizens of the young nation's religious liberties would be protected in the new document. After the convention he returned to South Carolina where he continued a life of public service. He served as governor from 1789 to 1792, from 1796 to 1798 and from 1806 to 1808. He was elected to the US Senate and served from 1798 to 1801 before resigning the seat to become the US Minster to Spain. While there he tried unsuccessfully to gain Florida for the US but did lay the groundwork for the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. He returned to South Carolina where he was elected several times to the state legislature before being sent to Congress by the voters in 1818. As a Congressman he became a strong opponent of the Missouri Compromise. Failing health forced him to give up public service in 1821. Three years later he died in his hometown of Charleston.
Bio by: Bigwoo