City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library
John Dickinson (1732-1808)
John Dickinson (November 13 or 15, 1732 – February 14, 1808), a Founding Father of the United States, was a solicitor and politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware known as the "Penman of the Revolution" for his twelve Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, published individually in 1767 and 1768. As a member of the First Continental Congress, where he was a signee to the Continental Association, Dickinson drafted most of the 1774 Petition to the King, and then as a member of the Second Continental Congress wrote the 1775 Olive Branch Petition, two attempts to negotiate with King George III of Great Britain. When these failed, he reworked Thomas Jefferson's language and wrote the final draft of the 1775 Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms. When Congress then decided to seek independence, Dickinson served on the committee that wrote the Model Treaty, and then wrote the first draft of the 1776–1777 Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.
Dickinson later served as President of the 1786 Annapolis Convention, which called for the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which Dickinson then attended as a delegate from Delaware.
He also wrote "The Liberty Song" in 1768, was a militia officer during the American Revolution, was President of Delaware, President of Pennsylvania, and was among the wealthiest men in the British American colonies. Upon Dickinson's death, President Thomas Jefferson recognized him as being "Among the first of the advocates for the rights of his country when assailed by Great Britain" whose "name will be consecrated in history as one of the great worthies of the revolution."
Together with his wife, Mary Norris Dickinson, he is the namesake of Dickinson College (originally John and Mary's College), as well as of the Dickinson School of Law of Pennsylvania State University and the University of Delaware's Dickinson Complex.