Individual Biographies of the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention

It has often been remarked that in the journey of life, the young rely on energy to counteract the experience of the old. And vice versa. What makes this Constitutional Convention remarkable is that the delegates were both young and experienced. The average age of the delegates was 42 and four of the most influential delegates——Alexander Hamilton, Edmund Randolph, Gouvernor Morris, and James Madison——were in their thirties. Over half of the delegates graduated from College with nine from Princeton and six from British Universities. Even more significant was the continental political experience of the Framers: 8 signed the Declaration of Independence, 25 served in the Continental Congress, 15 helped draft the new State Constitutions between 1776 and 1780, and 40 served in the Confederation Congress between 1783 and 1787.

* indicates delegates who did not sign the Constitution

Connecticut


William Samuel Johnson
Roger Sherman
Oliver Ellsworth (Elsworth)*

Delaware


George Read
Gunning Bedford, Jr.
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jacob Broom

Georgia


William Few
Abraham Baldwin
William Houstoun*
William L. Pierce*

Maryland


James McHenry
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer
Daniel Carroll
Luther Martin*
John F. Mercer*

Massachusetts


Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King
Elbridge Gerry*
Caleb Strong*

New Hampshire


John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman

New Jersey


William Livingston
David Brearly (Brearley)
William Paterson (Patterson)
Jonathan Dayton
William C. Houston*

New York


Alexander Hamilton
John Lansing, Jr.*
Robert Yates*

North Carolina


William Blount
Richard Dobbs Spaight
Hugh Williamson
William R. Davie*
Alexander Martin*

Pennsylvania


Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
Robert Morris
George Clymer

Thomas Fitzsimons (FitzSimons; Fitzsimmons)
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson
Gouverneur Morris

South Carolina


John Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler

Rhode Island


Rhode Island did not send delegates to the
Constitutional Convention.

Virginia


John Blair
James Madison Jr.
George Washington
George Mason*
James McClurg*
Edmund J. Randolph*
George Wythe*

73 delegates were appointed to the Constitutional Convention. 18 declined their appointments: Richard Henry Lee (Virginia), Thomas Nelson (Virginia), Patrick Henry (Virginia), Abraham Clark (New Jersey), John Neilson (New Jersey), Richard Coswell (North Carolina), Willie Jones (North Carolina), George Watson (Georgia), Nathaniel Pendleton (Georgia), Henry Laurens (South Carolina), Francis Dana (Massachusetts), Gabriel Duvall (Maryland), Robert Hansen Harrison (Maryland), Thomas Stone (Maryland), Charles Caroll (Maryland), Thomas Sim Lee (Maryland), John Pickering (New Hampshire), and Benjamin West (New Hampshire).

Contents

Introduction

The year was 1787. The place: the State House in Philadelphia. This is the story of the framing of the federal Constitution.

The Convention

Read the four-act drama and day-by-day summary by Gordon Lloyd, as well as Madison’s Notes on the Convention.

Interactive Map of Historic Philadelphia in the Late 18th Century

Learn about historic Philadelphia and where the founders stayed, ate, and met.

View Interactive

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