Gouverneur Morris

Gouverneur Morris

Morrisania, Bronx County, New York, USA
Death 6 Nov 1816 (aged 64)
Morrisania, Bronx County, New York, USA
Burial Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 4718 · View Source
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United States Constitution Signer, US Senator. Although he was born into a wealthy and aristocratic family, he often went against their loyalist views to become one of the colonies most outspoken nationalists. He was born in what is now known as The Bronx section of New York City on his father's large estate. At the age of twelve he enrolled into what is now Columbia University, graduating in 1768. Three years later he received his Master's degree and after serving as an intern with a distinguished New York attorney he was admitted to the bar. In 1775 he was appointed to represent the family estate as a member of New York's Provincial Congress. During this time he became a staunch supporter for American independence putting him at odds with his loyalist mother and his half brother who was a senior officer in the British Army. With the start of the Revolution, Morris could have avoided military service. His right arm was badly hurt in a childhood accident and his leg was amputated after a carriage accident. These disabilities as well as the fact he was a legislator could have exempted him from military service. However, he felt strongly that serving was a moral obligation so became a part of a New York City militia group that was the forerunner of today's National Guard. His largest impact to the cause of American independence came through the political realm. As a member of the New York Provisional Congress he led the way in writing most of the state's constitution, made sure the war effort was adequately financed and kept tabs on loyalists' activities in the area. In 1778 he agreed to serve as a delegate in the Continental Congress. In January of that year he visited Valley Forge. Shocked by the deplorable conditions of the soldiers he returned to Congress and became an advocate for the Continental Army. His efforts led to many reforms and increased support for the soldiers but his nationalist views were too strong for his constituents, so he was not returned to his seat in 1779. He settled in Philadelphia and started a law practice. While there he worked with Robert Morris (no relation) to stabilize the Congress' finances. During this period he introduced the concept of decimal coinage (He invented the word "cent") which became the basis for the new nation's monetary system. After the war he remained in Philadelphia and in 1787 was named to represent Pennsylvania at the Constitutional Convention. At the convention, he delivered over one hundred and seventy speeches regarding the contents of the nation's new constitution. He authored large sections of the text and is recognized as the writer of the document's Preamble. After the convention he went to Europe where he spent a decade working on business ventures while serving, on two occasions, as a diplomatic agent for George Washington in London and replacing Thomas Jefferson as ambassador to France. He returned to the United States in 1798 settling on the family estate in New York. In 1800 he was appointed to the US Senate to fill an unexpired term. He served until 1803 but did not win re-election. He returned to New York where under his leadership the creation of the Erie Canal helped spur the western expansion of a new nation. His service was recognized in 1943 when a US Liberty Ship, the SS Gouverneur Morris was named in his honor.

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 14 Mar 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 4718
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gouverneur Morris (31 Jan 1752–6 Nov 1816), Find a Grave Memorial no. 4718, citing Saint Ann's Episcopal Church Graveyard, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .