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Daniel Carroll

Daniel CarrollState: Maryland

Age at Convention: 57

Date of Birth: July 22, 1730

Date of Death: May 7, 1796

Schooling: College of Saint Omer (Netherlands) 1747

Occupation: Public Security Interests, Lending and Investments, Land owner, Merchant, Planter

Prior Political Experience: State Upper House of Maryland 1781-1789, President of Legislature 1783-1789, Executive Council of Maryland 1777-1781, Confederation Congress 1781-1784

Committee Assignments: Third Committee of Representation, Committee of Trade, Committee of Leftovers

Convention Contributions: Arrived July 9, was present through the signing of the Constitution. His attendance provided the crucial vote that allowed Maryland's delegation to overcome the objections of fellow delegates, Luther Martin and John Mercer. William Pierce stated that "Mr. Carroll is a Man of large fortune, and influence in his State. He possesses plain good sense, and is full confidence of his Countrymen. This Gentlemen is about (left blank by Pierce) age." [Editor's Note: Mr. Pierce left the Convention on July 2 and never returned. Mr. Carroll did not arrive until July 9. Accordingly, it is difficult to tell when and how Mr. Pierce's character sketch was written. Note the absence of Mr. Carroll's age.]

New Government Participation: Served as one of Maryland's first U. S. Representatives (1789 - 1792). One of three U.S. Commisioners to plan Washington, D.C. (1791 - 1795).


Biography from the National Archives: Daniel Carroll was member of a prominent Maryland family of Irish descent. A collateral branch was led by Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Daniel's older brother was John Carroll, the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States.

Daniel was born in 1730 at Upper Marlboro, MD. Befitting the son of a wealthy Roman Catholic family, he studied for 6 years (1742-48) under the Jesuits at St. Omer's in Flanders. Then, after a tour of Europe, he sailed home and soon married Eleanor Carroll, apparently a first cousin of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Not much is known about the next two decades of his life except that he backed the War for Independence reluctantly and remained out of the public eye. No doubt he lived the life of a gentleman planter.

In 1781 Carroll entered the political arena. Elected to the Continental Congress that year, he carried to Philadelphia the news that Maryland was at last ready to accede to the Articles of Confederation, to which he soon penned his name. During the decade, he also began a tour in the Maryland senate that was to span his lifetime and helped George Washington promote the Patowmack Company, a scheme to canalize the Potomac River so as to provide a transportation link between the East and the trans-Appalachian West.

Carroll did not arrive at the Constitutional Convention until July 9, but thereafter he attended quite regularly. He spoke about 20 times during the debates and served on the Committee on Postponed Matters. Returning to Maryland after the convention, he campaigned for ratification of the Constitution but was not a delegate to the state convention.

In 1789 Carroll won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he voted for locating the Nation's Capital on the banks of the Potomac and for Hamilton's program for the federal assumption of state debts. In 1791 George Washington named his friend Carroll as one of three commissioners to survey and define the District of Columbia, where Carroll owned much land. Ill health caused him to resign this post 4 years later, and the next year at the age of 65 he died at his home near Rock Creek in Forest Glen, MD. He was buried there in St. John's Catholic Cemetery.