Gouverneur Morris

From WikiCU
Jump to: navigation, search
See also Wikipedia's article about "Gouverneur Morris".

Gouverneur Morris KC 1768 MA 1771 is considered a Founding Father of the United States. He represented Pennsylvania at the Constitutional Convention and authored large sections of the United States Constitution, including its preamble. He also served for a time as ambassador to France. 35 Claremont Avenue was known as Gouverneur Morris Hall and housed students for a period in the 1920s.

Morris entered King's College at age 12. His 1768 commencement address was entitled "Wit and Beauty". He read for the bar and was admitted in 1771, when he was still 19.

Like fellow King's student Alexander Hamilton, one of Morris' most significant contributions to the early US was economic; he proposed a decimal system for the currency, and is credited with inventing the "cent". Apparently a fan of mathematical order, he also chaired the commission that created the Manhattan street grid in 1811.

That was in addition to framing the New York State government and constitution (fighting against John Jay, who had wanted to discriminate against Catholics), and then going on to shape the federal version...after which he was tired, and went on a ten-year vacation to Europe to "rub off...a few of those many barbarisms which characterize the provincial education". When he came back he was apparently educated enough to serve as a U.S. Senator for three years, and rounded off his life with the unassuming title of "canal commissioner of New York," for some reason.[1]

King's College Alumni notes that his mother was of French descent, and "it was perhaps the French blood in his veins that gave him the alert vivacity and sense of humor that distinguished him from most great Revolutionary statesmen who were his contemporaries".[2]