Home Kids

Kids

18th Amendment

18th Amendment

The 18th amendment is the only amendment to be repealed from the constitution. This unpopular amendment banned the sale and drinking of alcohol in the United States. This amendment took effect in 1919 and was a huge failure.

Not only did regular people find other ways to drink alcohol, but criminals also made a lot of money selling alcohol to those people. The 21st amendment repeals the 18th amendment in 1933, and today we call the period that the 18th Amendment was law Prohibition.

The 18th amendment was not always unpopular. In fact, some states had already banned alcohol before the 18th amendment. Before the 18th amendment became law, religious activists, famously women but also some men, blame alcohol for violence and other problems that were affecting American families.

They would take axes and other weapons and attack saloons or other places that stored alcohol, destroying all of it. The motivation for the 18th amendment was inspired by these activists and their desire to make a better society by outlawing alcohol. We now know that the 18th amendment failed and in fact, made things worse.

Let’s explain the text of the 18th amendment.

Section 1

After one year from the ratification of this article…

(the 18th amendment would go into effect one year after the states ok’d it)

…the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited…

(selling, making, or bring liquor into the country or United States territory, will be made illegal)

Section 2

The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

(Congress can pass any laws it needs to make sure that this law is enforced and alcohol is not consumed illegally)

Section 3

This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

(this amendment needs to be ratified by ¾ of the states within seven years of it will become invalid)

What were the effects of the 18th amendment?

Mississippi was the first state to accept the amendment, in 1918 and New Jersey was the last, in 1922, at number 46. By then the majority had already been reached. After the 18th amendment, Congress passed the Volstead Act, which set the date for the prohibition on January 17, 1920.

This act also defined strict limits on beverages containing alcohol, ensuring that the content would be no more than .5%. The Volstead Act contained the provisions to enforce the 18th amendment on Americans. This Act did allow for some alcohol to be kept as “medicine” and for “research,” and this was often exploited.

The 18th amendment gave rise to the gangsters of the 1920s that made a huge profit selling illegal alcohol. Such was this disaster that the government would finally agree to get rid of Prohibition and the 18th amendment ten years later.

Brandenburg v. Ohio

Brandenburg v. Ohio

Brandenburg V. Ohio: The Background

Clarence Brandenburg was a leading member of the Ku Klux Klan (a very mean-spirited group of radicals). His group was located in the woods of Cincinnati. When Brandenburg’s Klan formed a rally, the man contacted a local news station in Cincinnati and invited the organization to cover the Klan’s rally.

The news station arrived at the rally and began filming the events. This filming resulted in the broadcast of a very hateful demonstration, filled with hate-speech and racist actions. This filming was broadcasted live to residents of the Ohio city. In reaction to the hateful speech, a number of residents called the news station and complained about the broadcast.

Clarence Brandenburg was arrested for forming and participating in the rally and for asking a news station to film the hateful meeting. Brandenburg broke the state’s law which prohibited the publication of any hateful or violent showing. Mr. Brandenburg appealed the charges against him by claiming his action were not criminal in nature.

The aspect of criminal intent was the main factor in this case. Did Brandenburg intend to commit a crime? Was he in violation of his free speech rights? Is it illegal to broadcast hateful and racist speech to American homes via the television?

Brandenburg v. Ohio: The Trial

The Brandenburg v. Ohio trial took place on February 27th of 1967. Clarence Brandenburg was accused of broadcasting a hateful showing. Brandenburg appealed these charges by claiming he was protected under his 1st Amendment Rights. He claimed his rights as an American citizen were violated when he was arrested and that he was unjustly punished for non-violent and non-criminal expressions.

Brandenburg V. Ohio: The Verdict

The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Clarence Brandenburg stating Ohio laws that prohibited the delivery of expression and speech directly violated the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution. Within this ruling, the United States Supreme Court was sure to distinguish between violent acts and hateful speech that implied violence.

Although the Ku Klux Klan’s rally was hateful, the sentiments expressed were not deemed by the United States Supreme Court to be of an immediate danger to those around the rally.

The 1st Amendment was the reason why Brandenburg v. Ohio favored Brandenburg. The 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution ensures that every citizen of the U.S. is granted the freedom to express themselves so long as it does not pose a threat on anyone else. The speech or expression also cannot be delivered with a threat of violence.

William Paterson

William Paterson

Founding Father: William Paterson

William Paterson was born in County Antrim, Ireland, on December 14, 1745. When he was almost 2 years old, his family moved from Ireland to America. While his father traveled around the country, selling tin products, William Paterson’s family lived in New London, other areas of Connecticut, and Trenton, New Jersey.

In 1750, William Paterson settled in Princeton, NJ. There, William Paterson became a manufacturer of tin goods and a merchant. William Paterson’s wealth allowed him to go to local private schools and then the College of New Jersey. He received his Bachelor of Arts in 1763 and a Master of Arts 3 years later.

Afterward, Paterson studied law under Richard Stockton, who signed the Declaration of Independence, in the city of Princeton. Soon after, William Paterson began practicing law at New Bromley, in Hunterdon County. Afterward, William Paterson moved to South Branch, which was in Somerset County, and then relocated near New Brunswick at Raritan estate in 1779.

When the Revolutionary War broke out, William Paterson joined the New Jersey patriots’ vanguard. He also served in the provincial congress between 1775 and 1776, the constitutional convention in 1776, the legislative council from 1776 to 1777, and the council of safety in 1777. During the last year, William Paterson also held a militia commission.

Between 1776 and 1783, William Paterson was attorney general of New Jersey, a job that took up so much time that he could not accept his election in 1780 to the Continental Congress. Meantime, the previous year, William Paterson had married Cornelia Bell, and he had three children with her before her death in 1783. Two years later, William Paterson got remarried to Euphemia White.

From 1783, when William Paterson moved to New Brunswick, New Jersey, until 1787, he devoted a lot of his time and energy in law and did not enter the public spotlight. Afterward, he was chosen to be the representative of New Jersey at the Constitutional Convention.

He only acted as New Jersey’s representative until late July of that year. Until then, William Paterson took careful notes of all the proceedings. More importantly, William Paterson was very prominent because of his support and co-authorship of the New Jersey Plan, sometimes called the Paterson Plan, which stated the small states’ rights against the large. William Paterson only returned to the Constitutional Convention to sign the Constitution. After supporting the ratification of the Constitution in New Jersey, William Paterson started his career in the new American government.

In 1789, William Paterson was elected to the United States Senate between 1789 and 1790, where he played an important role in writing the Judiciary Act of 1789. William Paterson’s next position after being a judge was the governor of his New Jersey from 1790 to 1793. Here, he started writing what later became the volume called the Laws of the State of New Jersey in 1800. He also started to revise the practices and rules of the common law courts and chancery.

Between 1793 and 1806, William Paterson served the United States Supreme Court as an Associate Justice. At that time, federal judges had to ride the circuit or travel around. Here William Paterson traveled with the full court to preside over many major trials.

In September 1806, 60-year-old Paterson began traveling to Ballston Spa, New York for a cure to his sickness, but he died before he could get there at his daughter’s home in Albany, New York. William Paterson was buried in the nearby Van Rensselaer family vault, but his body was later moved to the Albany Rural Cemetery, in Menands, New York.

Fun Facts about William Paterson

• Both William Paterson University and the town of Paterson, New Jersey are both named after William Paterson.
• He is currently buried in the same cemetery as President Chester A. Arthur.

19th Amendment

19th Amendment

The 19th amendment is a very important amendment to the constitution as it gave women the right to vote in 1920. You may remember that the 15th amendment made it illegal for the federal or state government to deny any US citizen the right to vote.

For some reason, this did not apply to women. The 19th amendment changed this by making it illegal for any citizen, regardless of gender, to be denied the right to vote.

The movement to allow women the right to vote through the 19th amendment was the Suffrage movement. You may have heard of women such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who were key figures in the Suffrage movement. The Suffrage movement has been going on since the Civil War, but the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments did not cover the rights of women to vote.

These women were the original authors of the 19th amendment although it took forty-one years before the government would even consider ratifying the 19th amendment. Many lawmakers feared that women would vote in large groups, which would affect the outcome of elections.

The 19th amendment unified suffrage laws across the United States. Before the 19h amendment, there were many states where women had full suffrage, including New York and most Western states.

Other states had limited suffrage, only allowing women to vote in select elections. During this time, there were a number of efforts to get Congress to consider the 19th amendment, mostly successful, until 1919.

Wisconsin was the first state to approve the amendment and the 36th and final approval needed to have the amendment passed was in Tennessee in 1920, by a slim margin. With that ratification complete the 19th amendment became part of the constitution on August 18, 1920.

The Supreme Court would later defend the right of women to vote under the 19th amendment in Maryland, where one concerned citizen sued to stop women from voting. This man, Oscar Leser, believed that the 19th amendment interfered with the state’s electorate. The Supreme Court disagreed.

All states, even states that rejected the 19th amendment at first have ratified the amendment. The last state was Mississippi. This is a symbolic measure since the 19th amendment became was with the 36th state ratifying it. Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states and therefore, cannot ratify the amendment.

What is the text of the 19th Amendment?

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged…

(the US government may not stop a citizen from voting)

by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

(neither the federal or state government can prevent the right to vote based on sex)

Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

(Congress is empowered to pass laws to protect the right of women to vote in the United States)

George Washington

George Washington

George Washington was the very first President of the United States of America. He served two terms as President between April 30, 1789, and March 4, 1797. During his presidency, George Washington had John Adams as his Vice President, who later became the second President of the United States.

Early Life of George Washington

George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia on February 22, 1732. George Washington’s dad died when he was only 11 years old. George did not have that much education, but he taught himself to be a good woodsman, mapmaker, and surveyor (someone who makes the boundaries of areas of land.

George Washington and the French and Indian War

As a young man, George Washington joined the Virginia militia and traveled with six other men 500 miles north in order to deliver an important message to the French at the shores of Lake Erie. The French supposed to stop settling land that had been already claimed by the British. Because the French did this, there was a battle where George Washington and the rest of the men lost to the French. This was the very first battle of the French and Indian War. After many more battles, George Washington became the leader of the militia in Virginia and helped the British win the war.

After the War

In 1758, George Washington was elected as a member of the House of Burgesses, which was Virginia’s governing body. He also married Martha Custis in 1759. She was a very rich widow who already had two children. He did not have any children with her.

Because the French and Indian War was very expensive, the British placed high taxes on the colonies, which made the colonies very upset. This resulted in the Boston Tea Party, where the colonists threw a lot of tea into the Boston Harbor.

George Washington was chosen to be the Commander in Chief of the Colonial Army in 1775. The next year, the colonies declared that they were independent of the British Empire.

General Washington was the leader of the colony troops or Patriot troops. These men were not trained well, did not have good weapons, and were outnumbered. However, because of George Washington’s brilliant plans and the help of the French, the Patriots defeated the British in 1781, making the colonies independent.

George Washington and the Constitution

Afterward, the country was governed under the Articles of Confederation, but it was not good enough as a country. George Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention in 1787 in Philadelphia, where the Constitution was written. It was then ratified the next year and went into effect in 1789.

George Washington as President

George Washington was voted to be the first President by electors in early 1789 as well as in 1792. Both of these votes were unanimous. He did not want to be President for a third term because he felt that it would be giving him too much power. During his presidency, the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution.

The End of George Washington’s Life

George Washington died at his home on December 14, 1799. After his death, the capital of the United States was moved to its current location from Philadelphia and was named Washington, D.C. in his honor.

Facts About George Washington

•George Washington wore false teeth after having all his teeth pulled out. The new ones were made out of hippopotamus ivory.

•He was the only President to receive a unanimous vote from the Electoral College.

•He was 6’2” and weighed 200 pounds.

•George Washington had six white horses. He brushed their teeth every day.

20th Amendment

20th Amendment

The 20th amendment is a simple amendment that sets the dates at which federal (United States) government elected offices end. In also defines who succeeds the president if the president dies. This amendment was ratified on January 23, 1933.

What is the text of the 20th amendment?

Section 1

The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January

(After an election year, the president and vice president end their term on January 20)

and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January

(Congressmen end their term earlier, on January 3)

..of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

(these dates, effective after an election year and towards the end of a term)

Section 2

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

(Congress starts on January 3, unless they pass a law that says otherwise

Section 3

If at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President-elect shall have died, the Vice President-elect shall become President.

(The Vice-President is next in line to the presidency)

If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President-elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President-elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President-elect nor a Vice President-elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

(The Vice President may assume temporary Presidential authority if the President is not able to fulfill the duties of the office, even if it is for a few hours)

Section 4

The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

(In rare cases, the Congress may choose the next president if the Electoral College fails to elect a President)

Section 5

Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

James Madison

James Madison
Our Founding Fathers: James Madison

James Madison’s Early Life

James Madison, Jr. was born on March 16, 1751, near Port Conway, Virginia as the oldest child out of 12 siblings. His father was a tobacco planter from Orange County, Virginia. His mother was from Port Conway as well and was the daughter of a tobacco merchant and merchant.

James Madison’s Schooling

Between the ages of 11 to 18, James Madison studied under a private tutor where he learned math, languages, and geography. After preparing for college, James Madison entered the College of New Jersey. After graduating, he joined the American Whig Society, which was his first experience in politics.

James Madison’s Career

In 1774, James Madison was elected to Orange County’s Committee of Safety, and two years later he was on the committee that created the Virginia Constitution. He helped write the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which helped form the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. James Madison was also a member of Virginia’s first legislative assembly. This is where he met Thomas Jefferson, another Founding Father who he became lifelong friends with.

The Constitutional Convention

After three years, James Madison was elected into the Continental Congress. He eventually returned to Virginia politics and later became a delegate for Virginia to the Constitutional Convention. At the Constitutional Convention, James Madison wrote the Virginia Plan.

This plan was the foundation for the United States Constitution that the delegates eventually made into the new government. He also supported the Constitution by acting as a member of the Virginia Ratifying Convention and by writing the Federalist Papers with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton.

Later, James Madison became a House of Representatives from 1789 to 1797. He wrote and introduced the Bill of Rights, which became the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.Also around this time, James Madison joined with James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson to form the Democratic-Republican Party.

Because of this friendship between Madison and Jefferson, he was appointed by Jefferson as Secretary of State in 1801. After Thomas Jefferson retired, James Madison became the President of the United States. James Madison retired from the Presidency in 1817. He spent his time fixing his life and protecting his legacy. He died in 1836 at the age of 85 as the last Founding Father.

Facts About James Madison

•James Madison has the nickname – “Father of the Constitution.”

•His wife Dolley Payne Todd Madison was 17 years younger than him.

•He was the very last president from the Federalist Party.

•He was one of the shortest and lightest presidents. He only weighed 100 lbs and was only 5’4”.

•James Madison was the youngest member at the Constitutional Convention.

•The song “Star-Spangled Banner” was written while James Madison was president.

•James Madison was the very first president who had also been a Congressman.

•James Madison as well as only two other presidents did not have any children.

•James Madison’s last words were “I always talk better lying down.”

John Adams

John Adams

Founding Father: John Adams

John Adams was the first Second President and the first Vice President of the United States. His son, John Quincy Adams, was the sixth President of the United States.

John Adam’s Early Life

Adams was born in October 30, 1735 in Quincy, Massachusetts. He went to Harvard College and graduated in 1755. Afterwards, he studied law with Rufus Putnam, and also taught at Worcester. He became a lawyer in 1758.

John Adams would often write about different events in his world. Some of his early writings talked about different arguments the court, while his later writings were his memoirs, thoughts, and arguments that were based on his early writings.

John Adams’s Political Career

John Adams’ personality was the opposite of the first President, George Washington. Washington was very outgoing and thought of his community. However, John Adams was very was known to be reckless, intense, and very passionate.

John Adams’ career in political started when he became the leader of the Massachusetts Whigs. In 1765, John Adams wrote a series articles that were very controversial about the struggles between the colonists and authority.

In 1768, John Adams moved to Boston and two years later, he helped defend many British soldiers that had been arrested after the Boston Massacre. John Adams helped set them free by defending them very well. Because of this, he was recognized and was elected into the House of Representatives of Massachusetts.

Afterwards, John Adams became a member of the Continental Congress between 1774 and 1778. In June 1775, John Adams supported a nomination of George Washington as commander-in-chief because he wanted to support the union of the American colonies.

He influenced Congress with his ideas to separate the American colonies from Great Britain’s rule. He also supported a resolution that said the colonies should be independent states, which resulted in him being a part of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams as President

In 1796, John Adams was elected President since George Washington did not want to run for a third term. During his four year term, he passed some acts that later made everyone look down on the Federalist Party. He became alienated by his own party and his staff would often look to Alexander Hamilton for advice instead. He ran for President again in 1800, but was defeated by Thomas Jefferson. After his loss, he retired from politics.

John Adam’s Later Life

John Adams retired and moved back to his farm in Quincy, Massachusetts. Here he would often write long letters to Thomas Jefferson. John Adams died on July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the signing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence. He died at home and his last words were “Thomas Jefferson survives.” The strange part about this was that Thomas Jefferson had also passed the same day, but only a few hours earlier.

Fun Facts about John Adams

•John Adams had a pet horse named Cleopatra.

•John Adams’ wife, Abigail Smith, was actually his third cousin.

•John Adams liked to farm and hunt.

John Hancock

 John Hancock

Founding Father: John Hancock

John Hancock’s Early Life

John Hancock was born on January 12, 1737, to a very wealthy family in Braintree Massachusetts, which is now called Quincy. John Hancock had a very happy childhood with his mother, father, and two siblings. John Hancock often studied and played with his friend, John Adams, who later went on to become the first Vice-President and the second President of the United States.

John Hancock’s father died when he was 7 years old, and his mother was too poor to keep the family together, so John went to live with his aunt and uncle, Lydia and Thomas Hancock. John Hancock’s aunt and uncle raised him as though he was their own son.

John Hancock’s Education and Early Career

John Hancock went to Boston Latin School, where he graduated in 1750 and went on to Harvard University. While he was at Harvard, John Hancock was known for being a John Hancock very good student who was also popular with his classmates. John Hancock received his degree from Harvard in 1754.

After John Hancock graduated, he worked for his uncle at the Thomas Hancock & Company firm. He found people to do business with that made his uncle’s firm successful even during the French and Indian War. When his uncle died, John Hancock took over the real estate and shipping business. At the age of 27, John Hancock managed this company and became the richest man in Massachusetts.

Although John Hancock became powerful and rich very quickly, he still cared about his friends and his community. He often donated money to schools, churches, and the poor people in Massachusetts. His generosity made him very popular among the people in Boston. Using this attention, John Hancock used his leadership skills and soon became interested in politics.

John Hancock’s Political Career

Hancock caught people’s political attention first in the 1760s when he protested the Stamp Act and the Sugar Act, which were two tax acts passed by the British Parliament to tax the colonies. John Hancock joined the Sons of Liberty where he protested against the British.

John Hancock’s career in politics started in 1766 when he became a member of the Boston Assembly. For the next 30 years, John Hancock worked to climb the political ladder. In 1773, John Hancock eventually became President for the Congress of Massachusetts. Two years later, he became the President of the Continental Congress.

With his power, popularity, and wealth, John Hancock made a very big impact during the American Revolution. John Hancock is most famous for his very large, stylish signature on the Declaration of Independence.

Many important documents came out of the Continental Congress during the American Revolution. As the president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock got to preside over many debates among delegates.

John Hancock proved his drive and courage during the Revolutionary War. John Hancock was against the British and he was promoted to major general in the Massachusetts militia. John Hancock worked to find supplies and money for the colonial soldiers. His leadership skills helped create the United States we know today.

After the Revolutionary War, John Hancock returned to Massachusetts. In 1780, he was elected as the first governor. He was then re-elected 11 times until his death on October 3, 1793.

Fun Facts about John Hancock

•John Hancock’s signature was so big on the Declaration of Independence, that today the slang term for a signature is “your John Hancock.”

•John Hancock was the only person who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4. Everyone else had signed it a few weeks later.

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon was born near Edinburgh, Scotland on February 5, 1723, into a ministerial family. He went to the University of Edinburgh at the age of 13 and got his Master of Arts in 1739 and his degree in divinity 4 years after. John Witherspoon married Elizabeth Montgomery and had ten children with her, but only five of them survived.

President of the College of New Jersey

In 1766, John Witherspoon was offered the job of being President at the College of New Jersey. He and his family moved to America in August 1768. As a college administrator, John Witherspoon was very successful. He helped get more additions to the library but pressuring trustees to buy more while adding the most modern scientific equipment for the school. He also encouraged professors to teach more mathematics and science, and he could also personally teach French to anyone who wanted to learn. As the American colonies got closer and closer to the Revolution, John Witherspoon promoted literary exercise and public speaking on current events to help create civil leaders for the next generation.

Political Activities of John Witherspoon

The American Revolution forced John Witherspoon to put less focus on academics. Students were forced to evacuate and Nassau Hall, one of the building halls, was damaged by colonial and British troops. John Witherspoon was also drafted into many political duties. HE was involved in New Jersey committees of correspondence, and he also signed the Declaration of Independence and served on over a hundred congressional committees. Two important ones included the Committee on Secret Correspondence and the Board of War. Witherspoon took a very active role in the debates regarding the Articles of Confederation. He also helped Set up the executive branch and created instructions for the American peace commissioners.
Although Witherspoon was often away from the college, leaving Samuel Stanhope Smith, his son-in-law, in charge, the institution was never very far from his thoughts.

While John Witherspoon was in Congress, he complained about how the value currency was dropping, which was hurting many institutions. He then received a large grant from Congress to help pay for damages to Nassau Hall. He also fought for military deferments for teachers and students, which would allow them to stay in school. When John Witherspoon returned in 1782 to full-time teaching, the college was in much better condition, although it was never fully fixed during Witherspoon’s lifetime.

The rest of Witherspoon’s years were spent helping rebuild the college. Witherspoon lost an eye on a fundraising trip to Great Britain in 1784, and by 1792 he was completely blind. When his wife died, 68-year-old John Witherspoon married a young widow of 24, who he had two daughters. On November 15, 1794, died at his farm near Princeton.

Fun Facts about John Witherspoon

•Benjamin Rush would affection call John Witherspoon “our old Scotch Sachem,”

•John Witherspoon was a former president of the College of New Jersey, which later became Princeton University.

•He was in prison briefly after a battle in Scotland.

•John Witherspoon is an ancestor of the actress Reese Witherspoon.

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon was born near Edinburgh, Scotland on February 5, 1723, into a ministerial family. He went to the University of Edinburgh at the age of 13 and got his Master of Arts in 1739 and his degree in divinity 4 years after. John Witherspoon married Elizabeth Montgomery and had ten children with her, but only five of them survived.

President of the College of New Jersey

In 1766, John Witherspoon was offered the job of being President at the College of New Jersey. He and his family moved to America in August 1768. As a college administrator, John Witherspoon was very successful. He helped get more additions to the library but pressuring trustees to buy more while adding the most modern scientific equipment for the school. He also encouraged professors to teach more mathematics and science, and he could also personally teach French to anyone who wanted to learn. As the American colonies got closer and closer to the Revolution, John Witherspoon promoted literary exercise and public speaking on current events to help create civil leaders for the next generation.

Political Activities of John Witherspoon

The American Revolution forced John Witherspoon to put less focus on academics. Students were forced to evacuate and Nassau Hall, one of the building halls, was damaged by colonial and British troops. John Witherspoon was also drafted into many political duties. HE was involved in New Jersey committees of correspondence, and he also signed the Declaration of Independence and served on over a hundred congressional committees. Two important ones included the Committee on Secret Correspondence and the Board of War. Witherspoon took a very active role in the debates regarding the Articles of Confederation. He also helped Set up the executive branch and created instructions for the American peace commissioners.
Although Witherspoon was often away from the college, leaving Samuel Stanhope Smith, his son-in-law, in charge, the institution was never very far from his thoughts.

While John Witherspoon was in Congress, he complained about how the value currency was dropping, which was hurting many institutions. He then received a large grant from Congress to help pay for damages to Nassau Hall. He also fought for military deferments for teachers and students, which would allow them to stay in school. When John Witherspoon returned in 1782 to full-time teaching, the college was in much better condition, although it was never fully fixed during Witherspoon’s lifetime.

The rest of Witherspoon’s years were spent helping rebuild the college. Witherspoon lost an eye on a fundraising trip to Great Britain in 1784, and by 1792 he was completely blind. When his wife died, 68-year-old John Witherspoon married a young widow of 24, who he had two daughters. On November 15, 1794, died at his farm near Princeton.

ASK FREE QUESTIONS & GET HELP

X