Richard Bassett

Richard Bassett

Hack Point, Cecil County, Maryland, USA
Death 15 Sep 1815 (aged 70)
Chesapeake City, Cecil County, Maryland, USA
Burial Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware, USA
Memorial ID 4720 · View Source
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US Senator, Governor of Delaware, Signer of the US Constitution. Under his leadership he persuaded the Delaware legislature to ratify the new US Constitution giving it the distinction of being the first state to do so. Although born in nearby Maryland, he spent most of his life in public service in Delaware. He was abandoned by his father as a child but his mother's relatives helped support, educate and mold the bright boy into a responsible citizen. In 1770 he moved to Dover, Delaware, where he opened a law practice and became a successful planter. His success led to his involvement in politics. In 1774 he was elected to represent his county in the relief effort started to aid those burdened by the "Coercive Acts" of Britain. Two years later, he was selected as a delegate to his state's constitutional convention. These tasks soon led the popular young lawyer to be elected to both houses of the Delaware legislature. During the Revolutionary War, he gained a reputation for his superior organizational skills because of his handling of the recruitment, training and mobilization of Delaware's militia. After the war he was sent to Philadelphia as a Delaware delegate to the convention designed to develop a new national constitution. He recognized that the new document needed to protect the rights of small states like his, but he also saw that a strong central government was necessary if the new nation was to survive. He supported the "Great Compromise" at the convention calling for a dual legislature, with one house being filled by two representatives from each state and the other made up of representation determined by the population of each state. Perhaps his biggest contribution was convincing his home state to be the first to ratify the new constitution clearing the way for other small states, which had concerns about being overpowered by the larger states, to follow suit. His work was rewarded when Delawareans elected him to the US Senate. He served in that position from 1789 to 1793. He was the first Senator to vote for moving the nation's capital to the area that was to become known as Washington D.C. From 1793 to 1799 he was chief justice of Delaware's court of common pleas. In 1799 he was elected governor of his adopted state serving in that position until 1801. In 1815 he died in the Maryland county where he was born and was originally buried there. However, in 1865 the statesman's remains were returned to his beloved Delaware and buried in Wilmington.

Bio by: Bigwoo

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 14 Mar 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 4720
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Richard Bassett (2 Apr 1745–15 Sep 1815), Find a Grave Memorial no. 4720, citing Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery, Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .