The Resource James Wilson Documents

James Wilson Documents

Label
James Wilson Documents, 1779-1796
Title
James Wilson Documents
Inclusive dates
1779-1796
Creator
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
  • eng
  • eng
Summary
  • Born on September 14, 1742 in Carskerdo, Fife, Scotland. Although James Wilson attended numerous universities while living Scotland, he never attained a degree. It was Wilson's pursuit of studying law that helped pave become a significant figure in American history. Wilson began studying law at the law office of John Dickinson. By 1766, Wilson attained the bar in Philadelphia and soon after opened his own practice in Reading. Wilson was fairly successful as a lawyer and he managed to amass a small fortune during this time. Wilson's greatest achievement in public life was his part in the establishment of the United States Constitution. He regularly advocated the idea that sovereignty resided in the people, that the President and members of both houses of Congress should be popularly elected. This small yet historically significant collection contains a select number of original documents that highlight the political and professional activities of James Wilson. The documents specifically reveal Wilson's achievements as a prominent American lawyer, politician, and businessman which helped solidify his legacy in early American history
  • This small yet historically significant collection contains a select number of original documents that highlight the political and professional activities of James Wilson. The documents specifically reveal Wilson's achievements as a prominent American lawyer, politician, and businessman which helped solidify his legacy in early American history. The most notable documents consist of commissions signed and sealed by George Washington and King Louis XVI of France; appointments as counsellor and solicitor of New Jersey; appointment as honorary member of the Pennsylvania Society of Cincinnati; Certificate of election as member of the American Philosophical Society; and official letters and Oath of Office signed by George Washington and Philadelphia Mayor Samuel Powell. Other documents in the collection that have intrinsic value comprise of one personal letter drafted by Wilson addressed to George Washington; Articles of Agreement with Patrick Henry; a bond composed by Wilson between Manuel Josephson; and an Agreement to enter on the Record of the Supreme Court
Biographical or historical data
Born on September 14, 1742 in Carskerdo, Fife, Scotland. Although James Wilson attended numerous universities while living Scotland, he never attained a degree. When Wilson was no more than 25 years old, he emigrated to America and eventually settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wilson was fortunate enough to have valuable letters of introductions that helped him begin tutoring and teaching at the Academy and College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania). During this time, he petitioned for a degree and was soon awarded an honorary Master of Arts. It was Wilson's pursuit of studying law that helped pave become a significant figure in American history. Wilson began studying law at the law office of John Dickinson. By 1766, Wilson attained the bar in Philadelphia and soon after opened his own practice in Reading. Wilson was fairly successful as a lawyer and he managed to amass a small fortune during this time. On November 5, 1771, Wilson married Rachel Bird, daughter of William Bird and Bridget Hulings. The couple had six children together: Mary, William, Bird, James, Emily and Charles. Sadly, Rachel died in 1786. Wilson eventually remarried Hannah Gray in 1793, daughter of Ellis Gray and Sarah D'Olbear. The couple had a son named Henry, who died at age three. It was Wilson's published pamphlet of 1774 "Considerations on the Nature and Extent of the Legislative Authority of the British Parliament" that stirred revolution fervor. Wilson argued that British Parliament had no authority to pass laws for the American colonies because the colonies had no representation in Parliament. Wilson believed that power was vested in the people. In 1775, Wilson was elected to the Continental Congress where he positioned himself with members that opposed British rule. Not only was Wilson a classical scholar, lawyer, member of Continental Congress, theorist of political economy, Associate Justice of the first U.S. Supreme Court, Trustee and first Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, he was also a Signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution which makes him one of the founding fathers of the United State of America. Wilson's greatest achievement in public life was his part in the establishment of the United States Constitution. He regularly advocated the idea that sovereignty resided in the people, that the President and members of both houses of Congress should be popularly elected.
Cataloging source
PU-L
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1742-1798
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Wilson, James
Language note
12 documents in English, 1 in French
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Wilson , James
  • Law
Label
James Wilson Documents
Instantiates
Arrangement
Chronological
Extent
12.0 items
Governing access note
The archives reserves the right to restrict access to materials of sensitive nature. Please contact the department for further information
Terms governing use
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Label
James Wilson Documents
Arrangement
Chronological
Extent
12.0 items
Governing access note
The archives reserves the right to restrict access to materials of sensitive nature. Please contact the department for further information
Terms governing use
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Library Locations

    • Biddle Law LibraryBorrow it
      3400 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104, US
      39.954941 -75.193362
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