News

Ellsworth, Oliver - History

Ellsworth, Oliver - History


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

iv>

Ellsworth, Oliver (1745-1807) Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court: Ellsworth was born in Windsor, Connecticut, on April 29, 1745. After attending Yale College up to his sophomore year, he transferred to the College of New Jersey, which later became Princeton University. He graduated in 1766, and passed the bar in 1779, after studying law in a law office for four years. From 1773 to 1776, he was a member of the Connecticut General Assembly. As a delegate to the Continental Congress, in which he served from 1777 to 1784, he worked on many committees, In 1785, after serving on the Connecticut Council of Safety and the Governor's Council, he was appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Connecticut. At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, he helped create the "Connecticut Compromise," better known as the "Great Compromise," which resulted in a bicameral legislature to balance the representation of small and large states. When the first federal Congress was assembled, Ellsworth was elected a Senator, and served as chairman of the committee which drafted the Judiciary Act of 1789, establishing the federal court system. After the Senate refused to confirm John Rutledge as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, President George Washington nominated Ellsworth for the position. One day later, on March 4, 1796, the Senate confirmed Ellsworth. In 1800, he resigned from the Supreme Court, dying seven years later, on November 26, 1807.


Oliver Ellsworth

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Oliver Ellsworth, (born April 29, 1745, Windsor, Conn., U.S.—died Nov. 26, 1807, Windsor), American statesman and jurist, chief author of the 1789 act establishing the U.S. federal court system. He was the third chief justice of the United States.

Ellsworth attended Yale and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), graduating from the latter in 1766. After pursuing theological and legal studies, he was admitted to the bar in Hartford, which he represented in the Connecticut General Assembly. He was subsequently state’s attorney for Hartford county (1777), a member of the Continental Congress (1777–83) and of the Governor’s Council of Connecticut (1780–85), and a judge on the state superior court (1785–89).

In 1787 Ellsworth, together with Roger Sherman and William Samuel Johnson, represented Connecticut at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, serving as a member of the important committee on detail. At the convention, he proposed with Sherman the decisive “ Connecticut compromise,” by which the federal legislature was made to consist of two houses, the upper having equal representation from each state, the lower being chosen on the basis of population. This bargain is a keystone of the U.S. federal system. To secure Southern support for the Constitution, Ellsworth supported free international trade in slaves. He also vigorously defended the Constitution at the Connecticut ratifying convention. His “ Letters to a Landholder,” printed in the Connecticut Courant and the American Mercury, had a broad influence during the ratification debates, much as the Federalist papers did in New York.

In 1789 Ellsworth became one of Connecticut’s first U.S. senators and the acknowledged Federalist leader in the U.S. Senate. He reported the first Senate rules and suggested a plan for printing the journals, shaped the conference report on the Bill of Rights, framed the measure of admission for North Carolina, helped devise the government of the territory south of the Ohio River, and drafted the first bill regulating the consular service. He was chairman of the committee to establish the federal court system and the chief author of the Federal Judiciary Act of 1789, the principal basis ever since of the U.S. court structure.

In 1796 Pres. George Washington appointed him chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, after John Rutledge had failed to receive Senate confirmation and William Cushing, the senior associate justice, had declined. Ellsworth’s service on the high court was cut short in 1800 by ill health. In the 1790s Supreme Court justices also served in the circuit courts, and some of Ellsworth’s most important decisions were given on circuit. His most controversial opinion was United States v. Isaac Williams (1799), which applied in the United States the common-law rule that a citizen may not expatriate himself without the consent of his government.

In 1799 he accepted Pres. John Adams’s request to join William Vans Murray and William R. Davie as commissioners to France to negotiate a new treaty. In October 1800 Ellsworth persuaded Napoleon to accept a compromise convention that provided for freedom of commerce between the two nations and in effect concluded the undeclared war between the United States and France.

From France he sent his resignation as chief justice. Until his death in 1807, he lived in Windsor, Conn. Though his career included few acts of genius and little public acclaim, Ellsworth’s political skill, balanced judgment, and clarity of purpose entitle him to recognition as a founder of the highest stature.


The Continental Congress

Relinquishing his seat in the Connecticut General Assembly in 1775, Ellsworth moved to Hartford where his reputation and business grew rapidly. By the late 1770s, he had over one thousand cases on his list, of which he provided successful representation in the large majority. During the days of the American Revolution, Ellsworth held numerous, progressively more important, offices. In 1775 he was appointed to the Connecticut Committee of the Pay Table, a commission of five that was responsible for overseeing state expenditures related to the war with England. Two years later he was appointed state's attorney for Hartford County. In 1779 he began to serve as a member of the Council of Safety, an important body that acted with the governor in the practical control of all military actions. In 1777 he was selected to represent Connecticut as a member of the Continental Congress, a position he held for six years.

A now accomplished and well-respected lawyer, Ellsworth was soon appointed to numerous committees created by the Continental Congress, including the Board of Treasury, which addressed issues regarding international treaties, and the Committee of Appeals, a body that dealt with marine affairs by hearing appeals from the Admiralty courts of various states. The Committee of Appeals was an important step toward the formation of the Supreme Court because it was the first time a federal court was convened. However, its effectiveness and judicial authority were soon tested by the noted case of Gideon Olmstead and the British vessel Active. The case came before the Committee of Appeals only two weeks after Ellsworth's appointment to the committee. The matter involved the acquisition of the British ship. A group of men from Connecticut overpowered the British captain and his crew as they sailed toward New York. As the Connecticut men approached the coastline, the captain of another vessel commandeered the ship and, upon entering the harbor in Philadelphia, claimed the ship and its cargo. The men from Connecticut took the captain, who was from Pennsylvania, to court, insisting that the ship belonged to them. Subsequently a Pennsylvania court ruled in favor of the captain, allotting him three-quarters of the value and giving the Connecticut men one-quarter. Refusing to accept the verdict as fair and just, the Connecticut men turned to the Court of Appeals, which overturned the Pennsylvania court's decision and remitted the prize to the Connecticut men. However, Pennsylvania refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Court of Appeal's decision and would not carry out its instructions. The experience helped shape Ellsworth's understanding of the need for a recognized federal judicial authority.

Few details exist regarding Ellsworth's service as a congressional representative. He appeared to have been a hardworking, diligent, and respected member, serving on several important committees. Retiring from the Congress in 1783, Ellsworth returned to Hartford and his private legal practice. He continued to serve on the Governor's Council, a position he held from 1780 to 1785. Declining an appointment as Commissioner of the Treasury offered by the Continental Congress in 1784, the following year he accepted his first judicial appointment as a member of the newly formed Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors. Two years later he was appointed to Connecticut's Superior Court.


Abigail Ellsworth

Abigail Wolcott was born February 8, 1755, in East Windsor, Connecticut, the fifth of seven children born to William and Abigail Abbott Wolcott. Oliver Ellsworth, the second son of Captain David and Jemima Leavitt Ellsworth, was born in Windsor April 29, 1745. At 17 Oliver went to Yale to study the ministry, but was expelled for playing pranks. Ellsworth graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1766 and began the study of law.

Returning to his home in Windsor, Connecticut, Oliver studied theology and then law, and was admitted to the bar in 1771. At first his law practice was so poor that he had to support himself by farming and occasionally wood cutting, and on days when the court was sitting he had to walk from his farm in Hartford and back – a round trip of twenty miles – since he was too poor to keep a horse.

Abigail Wolcott married Oliver Ellsworth on December 10, 1772, providing him with the strength and stability to continue his highly productive life. It was said of Abigail: “She exercised such concern and thoughtfulness for her husband’s needs that no anxiety regarding household cares ever disturbed his public life.”

Abigail bore nine children with Oliver Ellsworth:
• Abigail (born 1774) traveled with her father to Philadelphia in 1790.
• Oliver Jr. (born October 1776) died May 1778.
• Oliver III (April 1781) received a Master’s degree at Yale in 1802 died July 4, 1805.
• Martin (April 1783) served as a Major in the War of 1812 died November 2, 1857.
• William (June 1785) died July 24, 1785.
• Frances (August 1786) died March 14, 1868.
• Delia (July 1789) married Thomas Scott Williams died June 24, 1840.
• Twins Henry and William (November 1791). Henry was a lawyer and a businessman died in 1858.
• William (November 1791) married Emily Webster, daughter of Noah Webster professor at Trinity College served in the US House of Representatives and Governor of Connecticut died in 1868.

Elected to state office in 1773, Oliver Ellsworth quickly became one of the most powerful political figures and successful lawyers in Connecticut. He served throughout the Revolutionary War in many state and federal political positions, including delegate to the Continental Congress, member of Connecticut’s Council of Safety, and the Governor’s Council.

In 1775, Oliver sold his farm and moved his small family to Hartford. There his rise was rapid, and before long there were few important cases in Connecticut in which Ellsworth did not represent one side or the other. He was a delegate to the General Assembly of the state that met soon after the Battle of Lexington, and throughout the Revolutionary War was a member of the Continental Congress.

Oliver Ellsworth Homestead

Oliver Ellsworth named his home Elmwood for the thirteen elm trees he planted on the property that represented the original states. Built in 1781 on land that had been in the Ellsworth family since 1664, the original house is a 2-story wood frame building with a peaked cedar shake roof and clapboard exterior walls. Its design was four rooms on the first and second floors with a central hallway running front to back.

In 1788, a two-story addition for a drawing room on the first floor and a bedroom above was added. Elmwood has the distinction of being visited by two sitting Presidents. On October 21, 1789, President George Washington visited, entertaining the Ellsworth children by singing the Darby Ram. On October 3, 1799, President John Adams was a guest.

In 1787, Oliver Ellsworth joined William Samuel Johnson and Roger Sherman as Connecticut’s delegation to the Constitutional Convention. He was one of the five men who drafted the Constitution and one of the three who proposed the Connecticut Compromise that resolved issues allowing the Constitution to be ratified.

When the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787, Ellsworth once again represented Connecticut and took an active part in the proceedings. During debate on the Great Compromise, Ellsworth proposed that the basis of representation in the legislative branch remain by state. He also left his mark through an amendment to change the word national to United States in a resolution. Thereafter, United States was the term used in the convention to designate the government.

His name was not affixed to that document, because pressing domestic considerations compelled his return home as soon as all of the provisions of the constitution had been completed. But his force and energy were successful the following year in securing its ratification in the Connecticut state convention.

While serving a seven year term in the new US Senate, Ellsworth helped to work out the practical details necessary to run a new government. As chairman of the committee for organizing the national judiciary, he drafted the Judiciary Act of 1789. The original bill, in his own handwriting, passed with but slight alterations, and the federal court system it established has continued to the present with few changes. In 1796, George Washington asked Ellsworth to be the third Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.

President John Adams appointed Ellsworth as a commissioner to France to renegotiate a treaty. He led a delegation there between 1799 and 1800 in order to settle differences with Napoleon’s government regarding restrictions on US shipping that might otherwise have led to war between the two nations. Highly respected by Napoleon, Ellsworth was successful.

Ellsworth came down with a severe illness resulting from his travel across the Atlantic. As a result, he retired from national public life upon his return to America in early 1801, and he and Abigail lived at their family home in Windsor, CT. He was nevertheless able to serve again on the Connecticut Governor’s Council until his death.

In May 1807, after a reorganization of the Connecticut state judicial system, he was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court, but failing health compelled his resignation within a few months.

Oliver Ellsworth died at Windsor on November 26, 1807, and was buried in the cemetery of the First Church of Windsor. Yale had honored him with an honorary LL.D. in 1790 Princeton did the same in 1797. It has been speculated that Ellsworth’s negotiations with Napoleon might have contributed to his sudden decision three years later to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15 million.

Abigail Wolcott Ellsworth died August 4, 1818, and is buried in Palisado Cemetery, Windsor, Connecticut. Her influence as a mother was so profoundly felt not only by her children, all of whom became active in public service, but also in the lives of their descendants, many of whom carried out Oliver and Abigail’s commitment to excellence in public service in many fields of endeavor.


April 29: The Man Who Saved the Constitution & Designed the U.S. Supreme Court

Oliver Ellsworth, who played a critical role in drafting both the U.S. Constitution and designing the federal court system and U.S. Supreme Court, was born today in 1745 in Windsor. A graduate of the College of New Jersey (modern-day Princeton), Ellsworth served as Connecticut state attorney for Hartford County. In 1777, he was elected to the Continental Congress, where he served throughout the Revolutionary War.

As a Connecticut delegate to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, Ellsworth played an especially active and crucial role. When the convention nearly foundered after being unable to agree on how states should be represented in the proposed federal Congress, he and fellow Connecticut representative Roger Sherman saved the day, and the Constitution itself. They crafted the “Connecticut Compromise” (or “Great Compromise”) that established the bicameral model for the U.S. legislative branch, featuring proportional representation in the House of Representatives and equal representation among all states in the Senate. This protected the interests of both small and big states, and made a working national government possible.

A miniature of Oliver Ellsworth painted by John Trumbull.

After the Constitution was ratified, Ellsworth was elected one of Connecticut’s first U.S. senators, and served from 1789 to 1796. As senator, Ellsworth drafted and engineered passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789. It formed the federal court system – including the U. S. Supreme Court – whose functions Article III of the U.S. Constitution had only vaguely outlined. In 1796, Ellsworth was nominated by President George Washington to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, where he served with distinction for four years until ill health forced him to retire.

Ellsworth returned to his stately home in Windsor, where he died in 1807. His role in crafting the federal court system, coupled with the precedents he set as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, have earned Ellsworth lasting fame as the “Founding Father of the Supreme Court.” One of our nation’s most influential politicians and jurists, born today in Connecticut history.


Contents

Born as Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth [8] in Malta, New York, Ellsworth grew up in Mechanicville, New York, and later moved to New York City. In 1854, he moved to Rockford, Illinois, where he worked for a patent agency. In 1859, he became engaged to Carrie Spafford, the daughter of a local industrialist and city leader. When Carrie's father demanded that he find more suitable employment, he moved to Chicago to study law and work as a law clerk.

In 1860, Ellsworth moved to Springfield, Illinois, to work with Abraham Lincoln. Studying law under Lincoln, he also helped with Lincoln's 1860 campaign for president, and accompanied the new elected president to Washington, D.C. Ellsworth stood 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) tall the six-foot-four Lincoln called him "the greatest little man I ever met". [2]

In 1857, Ellsworth became drillmaster of the "Rockford Greys", the local militia company. He studied military science in his spare time. After some success with the Greys, he helped train militia units in Milwaukee and Madison. When he moved to Chicago, he became Colonel of Chicago's National Guard Cadets.

Ellsworth had studied the Zouave soldiers, French colonial troops in Algeria, and was impressed by their reported fighting quality. He outfitted his men in Zouave-style uniforms, and modeled their drill and training on the Zouaves. Ellsworth's unit became a nationally famous drill team. [9]

Following the fall of Fort Sumter to Confederate Army troops in mid-April 1861, and Lincoln's subsequent call for 75,000 volunteers to defend the nation's capital, Ellsworth raised the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment (the "Fire Zouaves") from New York City's volunteer firefighting companies, and was then commissioned as the regiment's commanding officer. [10]

Ellsworth was killed at the Marshall House on May 24, 1861 (the day after Virginia's secession was ratified by referendum) during the Union Army's take-over of Alexandria. [6] [7] During the month before the event, the inn's proprietor, James W. Jackson, had raised from the inn's roof a large Confederate flag that President Lincoln and his Cabinet had reportedly observed through field glasses from an elevated spot in Washington. [7] Jackson had reportedly stated that the flag would only be taken down "over his dead body". [4] [7]

Before crossing the Potomac River to take Alexandria, soldiers serving under Ellsworth's command observed the flag from their camp through field glasses and volunteered to remove it. [11] Having seen the flag after landing in Alexandria, Ellsworth and seven other soldiers entered the inn through an open door. Once inside, they encountered a man dressed in a shirt and trousers, of whom Ellsworth demanded what sort of a flag it was that hung upon the roof. [6] [11]

The man, who seemed greatly alarmed, declared he knew nothing of it, and that he was only a boarder there. Without questioning him further, Ellsworth sprang up the stairs followed by his soldiers, climbed to the roof on a ladder and cut down the flag with a soldier's knife. The soldiers turned to descend, with Private Francis E. Brownell leading the way and Ellsworth following with the flag. [6] [7] [11]

As Brownell reached the first landing place, Jackson jumped from a dark passage, leveled a double-barreled shotgun at Ellsworth's chest and discharged one barrel directly into Ellsworth's chest, killing him instantly. Jackson then discharged the other barrel at Brownell, but missed his target. Brownell's gun simultaneously shot, hitting Jackson in the middle of his face. Before Jackson dropped, Brownell repeatedly thrust his bayonet through Jackson's body, sending Jackson's corpse down the stairs. [6] [7] [11]

Ellsworth became the first Union officer to die in the Civil War. [12] Brownell, who retained a piece of the flag, was later awarded a Medal of Honor for his actions. [3] [13] [14]

Lincoln was deeply saddened by his friend's death and ordered an honor guard to bring his friend's body to the White House, where he lay in state in the East Room. [2] [15] [16] Ellsworth's body was then taken to the City Hall in New York City, where thousands of Union supporters came to see the first man to fall for the Union cause. [15] Ellsworth was then buried in his hometown of Mechanicville, in the Hudson View Cemetery (see: Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth Monument and Grave). [15] [17]

Thousands of Union supporters rallied around Ellsworth's cause and enlisted. "Remember Ellsworth" became a patriotic slogan. [18] The 44th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment called itself the "Ellsworth Avengers" as well as "The People's Ellsworth Regiment". [19] [20]

Simultaneously, Jackson became a celebrated martyr for the Confederate cause. [4] [7] [21] A plaque that the Sons of Confederate Veterans placed within a blind arch near a corner of a prominent hotel that stood on the former site of the Marshall House commemorated Jackson's role in the affair for many years. However, Marriott International removed the plaque in 2017 shortly after it purchased the hotel (see: Marshall House historical marker).

After the Marshall House incident, soldiers and souvenir hunters carried away pieces of the flag and inn as mementos, especially portions of the inn's stairway, balustrades, and oilcloth floor covering. [7] [19] [22] Relics associated with Ellsworth's death became prized souvenirs.

President Lincoln kept the captured Marshall House flag, with which his son Tad often played and waved. [4] The flag apparently passed to Brownell, and upon his death in 1894, his widow offered to sell small pieces of the flag for $10 and $15 each. She presented one fragment to "an early mentor" of her husband's his descendants apparently sold it more than a century later. [23]

Today, most of the flag is held by the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs, which also has Ellsworth's uniform with an apparent bullet hole. [24] Another fragment is held by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, along with a blood-stained piece of oilcloth and a scrap of red bunting from the Marshall House. [25] Yet another fragment is held by Bates College's Special Collections Library. [26] A fragment bearing most of a star is on display at the Fort Ward Museum and Historic site in Alexandria, along with the kepi that Ellsworth wore when he was killed, patriotic envelopes bearing his image, and the "O" from the Marshall House sign that a soldier had taken as a souvenir. [27]

Artifacts collected during the construction of the Hotel Monaco were preserved by local archeologists. They may be seen in the Torpedo Factory Art Center's third floor exhibit (the Alexandria Archaeology Museum), three blocks away on King Street.

The new county seat of Pierce County, Wisconsin, located in the undeveloped center of the county to settle the controversy between two established cities, was named Ellsworth, Wisconsin, in his honor. He is also the namesake of Ellsworth, Michigan DC's Fort Ellsworth, and possibly Ellsworth, Iowa Ellsworth, Kansas and Mount Ellsworth near Green River, Utah.

He is a character in the 2012 film Saving Lincoln, in which his death is portrayed.


Windsor is the home of numerous historical organizations, historic sites, historic cemeteries, and dozens of colonial-era houses, as well as the Oliver Ellsworth Homestead.

“ConnecticutHistory.org, a program of Connecticut Humanities, describes Windsor as follows:

Windsor, the state’s first English settlement, is located in the northern portion of Hartford County where the Farmington and Connecticut Rivers join. This confluence made the area valuable, as a trade corridor, farmland, and hunting grounds, to the indigenous populations and also to the Europeans who settled there in 1633. Early Windsor served as a port active in West Indies trade. During the 19th century, paper, wool, and cotton mills flourished in its Poquonock section, but it was tobacco farming and brickmaking that dominated its economy from the mid-1600s well into the 1900s. Windsor today is known for diverse corporate and technological enterprises, the Loomis Chaffee School, and its “first town” history.

Historic District

The Homestead is located on Palisado Avenue, just north of the extensive Palisado Avenue Historic District. This District incorporates the Windsor Historical Society, and numerous buildings dating from the Colonial era to the present. For more details, see the link, below for the National Register of Historic Places – Inventory. https://npgallery.nps.gov/pdfhost/docs/NRHP/Text/87000799.pdf

Windsor Historical Society

We encourage visitors to plan a visit to the Windsor Historical Society when they tour the Oliver Ellsworth Homestead. For more information, visit their website at http://windsorhistoricalsociety.org

The Windsor Historical Society, founded in 1921, invites visitors to explore the people, places, and events that have shaped Windsor for over four centuries. The Society’s museum includes changing and permanent exhibition galleries a hands-on history learning center for families a research library and manuscript collection housing Windsor photographs, documents, ephemera, and genealogical materials, a museum shop and two historic houses open to the public — the 1758 Strong-Howard House and the 1767 Dr. Hezekiah Chaffee House. The Society is located at 96 Palisado Avenue (Route 159) and is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Tours of its two historic homes are offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. General admission to the library and historic houses is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students and free to children under 12 and WHS members.

When you plan your visit to the Oliver Ellsworth Homestead, make sure to check out all that Windsor has to offer.

Please check out the other historic sites and organizations in Windsor.

The Connecticut Valley Agricultural Museum

Vintage Radio and Communications Museum

Documents

Barber, John Warner. “Map: Plan of the Ancient Palisado Plot in Windsor,” 1835. Connecticut History Online, Connecticut Historical Society. Link.

Pease, Seth. “Map: Map of Windsor, Shewing the Parishes, the Roads, and Houses – True Copy of the Original Map Made by Seth Pease of Suffield, 1798.” Windsor, CT, 1906. Connecticut Historical Society. Link.


Oliver Ellsworth

Ближайшие родственники

About Oliver Ellsworth, U.S. Senator, 3rd Chief Justice of the United States

Oliver ELLSWORTH 1745-1807

A Patriot of the American Revolution for CONNECTICUT. DAR Ancestor # A037979

Parents: David Ellsworth 1709-1782 and Jerusha Leavitt 1721-1790

From a slow start Ellsworth built up a prosperous law practice. In 1777, he became Connecticut's state attorney for Hartford County. That same year, he was chosen as one of Connecticut's representatives in the Continental Congress. He served on various committees until 1783, including the Marine Committee, the Board of Treasury, and the Committee of Appeals. Ellsworth was also active in his state's efforts during the Revolution, having served as a member of the Committee of the Pay Table that supervised Connecticut's war expenditures. In 1777 he joined the Committee of Appeals, which can be described as a forerunner of the Federal Supreme Court. While serving on it, he participated in the Olmstead case that first brought state and federal authority into conflict. In 1779, he assumed greater duties as a member of the council of safety, which, with the governor, controlled all military measures for the state. His first judicial service was on the Supreme Court of Errors when it was established in 1784, but he soon shifted to the Connecticut Superior Court and spent four years on its bench.

Oliver Ellsworth (April 29, 1745 – November 26, 1807) was an American lawyer and politician, a revolutionary against British rule, a drafter of the United States Constitution, and the third Chief Justice of the United States. On June 20, 1787, while at the Federal Convention, Ellsworth moved to strike the word National from the May 30, 1787 motion made by Edmund Randolph of Virginia, that called for the government to be called a "National Government of United States". Ellsworth moved that the government continue to be called the "United States Government".

Ellsworth was born in Windsor, Connecticut, to Capt. David and Jemima (nພ Leavitt) Ellsworth. He entered Yale in 1762, but transferred to the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) at the end of his second year. (Today, he would not have been able to do this, since Princeton no longer allows transfer applications). He continued to study theology and received his A.B. degree, Phi Beta Kappa after 2 years. Soon afterward, however, Ellsworth turned to the law. After four years of study, he was admitted to the bar in 1771 and later became a successful lawyer and politician .

In 1772, Ellsworth married Abigail Wolcott, the daughter of Abigail Abbot and William Wolcott, nephew of Connecticut colonial governor Roger Wolcott, and granddaughter of Abiah Hawley and William Wolcott of East Windsor, Connecticut. They had nine children including the twins William Wolcott Ellsworth, who married Noah Webster's daughter, served in Congress and became the governor of Connecticut and Henry Leavitt Ellsworth, who became the first Commissioner of the United States Patent Office, the mayor of Hartford, president of Aetna Life Insurance and a large benefactor of Yale College.

Service during the Revolutionary War

From a slow start Ellsworth built up a prosperous law practice. In 1777, he became Connecticut's state attorney for Hartford County. That same year, he was chosen as one of Connecticut's representatives in the Continental Congress. He served on various committees until 1783, including the Marine Committee, the Board of Treasury, and the Committee of Appeals. Ellsworth was also active in his state's efforts during the Revolution, having served as a member of the Committee of the Pay Table that supervised Connecticut's war expenditures. In 1777 he joined the Committee of Appeals, which can be described as a forerunner of the Federal Supreme Court. While serving on it, he participated in the Olmstead case that first brought state and federal authority into conflict. In 1779, he assumed greater duties as a member of the council of safety, which, with the governor, controlled all military measures for the state. His first judicial service was on the Supreme Court of Errors when it was established in 1784, but he soon shifted to the Connecticut Superior Court and spent four years on its bench.

Work on the United States Constitution

On May 28, 1787, Ellsworth joined the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia as a delegate from Connecticut along with Roger Sherman and William Samuel Johnson. More than half of the 55 delegates were lawyers, eight of whom, including both Ellsworth and Sherman, had previous experience as judges conversant with legal discourse. Ellsworth in particular played an important role in having participated in the exclusion of judicial review from the Constitution at the Convention and later in having put it into force in the 1789 Judiciary Act.

Ellsworth took an active part in the proceedings beginning on June 20, when he proposed the use of the name the United States to identify the nation under the authority of the Constitution. The words "United States" had already been used in the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation as well as Thomas Paine's The American Crisis. It was Ellsworth's proposal to retain the earlier wording to sustain the emphasis on a federation rather than a single national entity. Three weeks earlier, on May 30, 1787, Edmund Randolph of Virginia had moved to create a "national government" consisting of a supreme legislative, an executive and a judiciary. Ellsworth accepted Randolph's notion of a threefold division, but moved to strike the phrase "national government." From this day forward the "United States" was the official title used in the Convention to designate the government, and this usage has remained in effect ever since. The complete name, "the United States of America," had already been featured by Paine, and its inclusion in the Constitution was the work of Gouverneur Morris when he made the final editorial changes in the Constitution.

Ellsworth played a major role in the passage of the Connecticut Plan. During debate on the Great Compromise, often described as the Connecticut Compromise, he joined his fellow Connecticut delegate Roger Sherman in proposing the bicameral arrangement in which members of the Senate would be elected by state legislatures as indicated in Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution. Ellsworth's version of the compromise was adopted by the Convention, but it was later revised by Amendment XVII substituting a popular vote similar to that used for the House of Representatives.

To gain the passage of the Connecticut Plan its proponents needed support of three southern states, Georgia and the two Carolinas, complementing the small state coalition of the North. It came as no surprise that Ellsworth favored the Three-Fifths Compromise on the enumeration of slaves and opposed the abolition of the foreign slave trade. Stressing that he had no slaves, Ellsworth spoke twice before the Convention, on August 21 and 22, in favor of slavery being abolished.

Along with James Wilson, John Rutledge, Edmund Randolph, and Nathaniel Gorham, Ellsworth served on the Committee of Detail which prepared the first draft of the Constitution based on resolutions already passed by the Convention. All Convention deliberations were interrupted from July 26 to August 6, 1787, while the Committee of Detail completed its task. The two preliminary drafts that survive as well as the text of the Constitution submitted to the Convention were in the handwriting of Wilson or Randolph. However, Ellsworth's role is made clear by his 53 contributions to the Convention as a whole from August 6 to 23, when he left for business reasons. As James Madison tabulated in his Records, only Madison and Gouverneur Morris spoke more than Ellsworth during those sixteen days.

Though Ellsworth left the Convention near the end of August and didn't sign the final document, he wrote the Letters of a Landholder to promote its ratification. He also played a dominant role in Connecticut's 1788 ratification convention, when he emphasized that judicial review guaranteed federal sovereignty. It seems more than a coincidence that both he and Wilson served as members of the Committee of Detail without mentioning judicial review in the initial draft of the Constitution, but then stressed its central importance at their ratifying conventions just a year preceding its inclusion by Ellsworth in the Judiciary Act of 1789.

Achievements as a legislator

Along with William Samuel Johnson, Ellsworth served as one of Connecticut's first two United States senators in the new federal government, and his service extended from 1789 to 1796. During this period he played a dominant role in Senate proceedings equivalent to that of a Senate Majority Leaders in later decades. According to John Adams, he was "the firmest pillar of [Washington's] whole administration in the Senate."[Brown, 231] Aaron Burr complained that if Ellsworth had misspelled the name of the Deity with two d's, "it would have taken the Senate three weeks to expunge the superfluous letter." Senator William Maclay, a Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, offered a more hostile assessment: "He will absolutely say anything, nor can I believe he has a particle of principle in his composition," and "I can in truth pronounce him one of the most uncandid men I ever knew possessing such abilities." [Brown, 224-25] What seems to have bothered McClay the most was Ellsworth's emphasis on private negotiations and tacit agreement rather than public debate. Significantly, there was no official record of Senate proceedings for the first five years of its existence, nor was there any provision to accommodate spectators. The arrangement was essentially the same as for the 1787 Convention, in contrast to the open sessions of the House of Representatives.

Ellsworth's first project was the Judiciary Act, described as Senate Bill No. 1, which effectively supplemented Article III in the Constitution by establishing a hierarchical arrangement among state and federal courts. Years later Madison stated, "It may be taken for certain that the bill organizing the judicial department originated in his [Ellsworth's] draft, and that it was not materially changed in its passage into law."[Brown, 185] Ellsworth himself probably wrote Section 25, the most important component of the Judiciary Act. This gave the Federal Supreme Court the power to veto state supreme court decisions supportive of state laws in conflict with the U.S. Constitution. All state and local laws accepted by state supreme courts could be appealed to the federal Supreme Court, which was given the authority, if it chose, to deny them for being unconstitutional. State and local laws rejected by state supreme courts could not be appealed in this manner only the laws accepted by these courts could be appealed. This seemingly modest specification provided the federal government with its only effective authority over state government at the time. In effect, judicial review supplanted Congressional Review, which Madison had unsuccessfully proposed four times at the Convention to guarantee federal sovereignty. Granting the federal government this much authority was apparently rejected because its potential misuse could later be used to reject the Constitution at State Ratifying Conventions. Upon the completion of these conventions the previous year, Ellsworth was in the position to render the sovereignty of the federal government defensible, but through judicial review instead of congressional review.

Once the Judiciary Act was adopted by the Senate, Ellsworth sponsored the Senate's acceptance of the Bill of Rights promoted by Madison in the House of Representatives. Significantly, Madison sponsored the Judiciary Act in the House at the same time. Combined, Judiciary Act and Bill of Rights gave the Constitution the "teeth" that had been missing in the Articles of Confederation. Judicial Review guaranteed the federal government's sovereignty, whereas the Bill of Rights guaranteed the protection of states and citizens from the misuse of this sovereignty by the federal government. The Judiciary Act and Bill of Rights thus counterbalanced each other, each guaranteeing respite from the excesses of the other. However, with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1865, seventy-five years later, the Bill of Rights could be brought to bear at all levels of government as interpreted by the judiciary with final appeal to the Supreme Court. Needless to say, this had not been the original intention of either Madison or Ellsworth.

Ellsworth was the principal exponent in the Senate of Hamilton's economic program, having served on at least four committees dealing with budgetary issues. These issues included the passage of Hamilton's plan for funding the national debt, the incorporation of the First Bank of the United States, and the bargain whereby state debts were assumed in return for locating the capital to the south (today the District of Columbia). Ellsworth's other achievements included framing the measure that admitted North Carolina to the Union, devising the non-intercourse act that forced Rhode Island to join the union, and drawing up the bill to regulate the consular service. He also played a major role in convincing President Washington to send John Jay to England to negotiate the 1794 Jay Treaty that prevented warfare with England, settled debts between the two nations, and gave American settlers better access to the midwest.

The Ellsworth Court and later life

On March 3, 1796, Ellsworth was nominated by President George Washington to be Chief Justice of the United States, the seat having been vacated by John Jay (and Washington's previous nominee, John Rutledge, having been rejected by the Senate the previous December). The following day, Ellsworth was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate, and received his commission.

Ellsworth served until his resignation due to poor health on September 30, 1800, and his brief contribution was deservedly overshadowed by the accomplishments of his successor, John Marshall, who succeeded him in 1801. However, four cases the Ellsworth Court decided were of lasting importance in American jurisprudence. Hylton v. United States (1796) implicitly addressed the Supreme Court's power of judicial review in upholding a federal carriage tax (although it would not be until John Marshall succeeded Ellsworth that the court addressed this issue head on) Hollingsworth v. Virginia (1798) affirmed that the President had no official role in amending the Constitution of the United States, and that a Presidential signature was therefore unnecessary for ratification of an amendment Calder v. Bull (1798) held that the Constitution's Ex post facto clause applied only to criminal, not civil, cases and New York v. Connecticut was the first exercise by the court of its original jurisdiction in cases between two states.

Ellsworth's chief legacy as Chief Justice, however, is his discouragement of the previous practice of seriatim opinion writing, in which each Justice wrote a separate opinion in the case and delivered that opinion from the bench. Ellsworth instead encouraged the consensus of the Court to be represented in a single written opinion, a practice which continues to the present day.

Outside the Supreme Court

Ellsworth was a candidate in the 1796 United States presidential election, receiving eleven votes in the electoral college, sharing with John Adams the distinction of gaining most votes in both New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

As United States Envoy Extraordinary to the Court of France, Ellsworth led a delegation there between 1799 and 1800 in order to settle differences with Napoleon's government regarding restrictions on U.S. shipping that might otherwise have led to military conflict between the two nations. The agreement accepted by Ellsworth provoked indignation among Americans for being too generous to Napoleon. Moreover, Ellsworth came down with a severe illness resulting from his travel across the Atlantic (causing him to tender his resignation from the Supreme Court while still in Europe in 1800), and the Federalist party had fallen into disarray and was easily defeated by Republicans led by Jefferson. As a result, Ellsworth retired from national public life upon his return to America in early 1801. He was nevertheless able to serve again on the Connecticut Governor's Council until he died in Windsor in 1807.

Although many erroneously believe that he is buried on the grounds of the Ellsworth Homestead in Windsor, Connecticut, his remains are in the cemetery behind the First Congregational Church of Windsor overlooking the Farmington River.

It is entirely a matter of speculation, but Ellsworth's conciliatory negotiations with Napoleon might have contributed to Napoleon's sudden choice three years later to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15 million.

In retrospect, Ellsworth's role in helping to establish the United States as a viable sovereign nation was important but could be easily overlooked. A good part of the reason for this was that he did not distinguish himself as an orator but worked as much as possible behind the scenes. He was said to have been dominant in his eloquence at the January, 1788, Connecticut Ratifying Convention, but later as the de facto Senate majority leader he seems to have kept his arguments relatively short and to the point. His written prose could on occasion be tortuous, as best illustrated by the operative sentence in Section 25 of the Judiciary Act (the first of only two sentences). Over three hundred words long, this sentence is almost impossible to decipher as an explanation how state courts were answerable to federal authority. But perhaps this opacity was intentional, since the expansion of federal power specified by Section 25 was mostly overlooked in debate both in the Senate and House of Representatives despite having been the most important and potentially controversial portion of the Judiciary Act.

That Ellsworth promoted the federal government as a unified confederacy without the limitations imposed by the Articles of Confederation enhanced his popularity during the first several decades of America's history, especially in the South preceding the Civil War. In 1847, thirteen years before the Civil War, John Calhoun praised Ellsworth as the first of three Founding Fathers (including Sherman and Paterson) who gave the United States "the best government instead of the worst and most intolerable on the earth." However, rapid industrialization and the centralization of our national government since the Civil War have led to the almost complete neglect of Ellsworth's pivotal contribution at the inception of our government. Few today know much of anything about him. The one full-length biography by William Garrott Brown, published in 1905 and reprinted in 1970, is excellent but difficult to obtain.

Ellsworth's twin sons followed their father into public service. William Wolcott Ellsworth married a daughter of lexicographer Noah Webster and became Governor of the State of Connecticut, a United States Congressman and a justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. His twin brother, Henry Leavitt Ellsworth, served as mayor of Hartford, then was appointed the first commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office. He later became president of Aetna Life Insurance Company. Henry Leavitt Ellsworth was instrumental in the creation of the U.S. Agriculture Department, and he was appointed by President Andrew Jackson to oversee the so-called Trail of Tears, the transfer of Cherokee Indians from Georgia to the Oklahoma Territory that cost approximately 4,000 lives. Ellsworth was a friend and backer of inventors Samuel Colt and Samuel F.B. Morse, and his daughter Annie Ellsworth proposed the first message transmitted by Morse over the telegraph, "What hath God wrought?" Henry Leavitt Ellsworth was a major benefactor to Yale College, his alma mater.

Even if Ellsworth was viewed as "a valuable acquisition to the Court," and "a great loss to the Senate," he resigned after just 4 years due to his "constant, and at times excruciating pains," sufferings made worse by his Europe travels, as special envoy to France.


Oliver Ellsworth

Prior Political Experience: Continental Congress, 1777-1780 State Upper House in Connecticut, 1780-1785 Confederation Congress, 1781-1783 Connecticut Superior Court, 1785-1807.

Other Political Activities: United States Senate, 1789-1796 Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1796-1798 Commissioner to France, 1799-1800.

Biography from the National Archives: Oliver Ellsworth was born on April 29, 1745, in Windsor, CT, to Capt. David and Jemima Ellsworth. He entered Yale in 1762 but transferred to the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) at the end of his second year. He continued to study theology and received his A.B. degree after 2 years. Soon afterward, however, Ellsworth turned to the law. After 4 years of study, he was admitted to the bar in 1771. The next year Ellsworth married Abigail Wolcott.

From a slow start Ellsworth built up a prosperous law practice. His reputation as an able and industrious jurist grew, and in 1777 Ellsworth became Connecticut's state attorney for Hartford County. That same year he was chosen as one of Connecticut's representatives in the Continental Congress. He served on various committees during six annual terms until 1783. Ellsworth was also active in his state's efforts during the Revolution. As a member of the Committee of the Pay Table, Oliver Ellsworth was one of the five men who supervised Connecticut's war expenditures. In 1779 he assumed greater duties as a member of the council of safety, which, with the governor, controlled all military measures for the state.

When the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787 Ellsworth once again represented Connecticut and took an active part in the proceedings. During debate on the Great Compromise, Ellsworth proposed that the basis of representation in the legislative branch remain by state, as under the Articles of Confederation. He also left his mark through an amendment to change the word "national" to "United States" in a resolution. Thereafter, "United States" was the title used in the convention to designate the government.

Ellsworth also served on the Committee of Five that prepared the first draft of the Constitution. Ellsworth favored the three-fifths compromise on the enumeration of slaves but opposed the abolition of the foreign slave trade. Though he left the convention near the end of August and did not sign the final document, he urged its adoption upon his return to Connecticut and wrote the Letters of a Landholder to promote its ratification.

Ellsworth served as one of Connecticut's first two senators in the new federal government between 1789 and 1796. In the Senate he chaired the committee that framed the bill organizing the federal judiciary and helped to work out the practical details necessary to run a new government. Ellsworth's other achievements in Congress included framing the measure that admitted North Carolina to the Union, devising the non-intercourse act that forced Rhode Island to join, drawing up the bill to regulate the consular service, and serving on the committee that considered Alexander Hamilton's plan for funding the national debt and for incorporating the Bank of the United States.

In the spring of 1796 he was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and also served as commissioner to France in 1799 and 1800. Upon his return to America in early 1801, Ellsworth retired from public life and lived in Windsor, CT. He died there on November 26, 1807, and was buried in the cemetery of the First Church of Windsor.


Roger Sherman, Connecticut

In 1723, when Sherman was 2 years of age, his family relocated from his Newton, MA, birthplace to Dorchester (present Stoughton). As a boy, he was spurred by a desire to learn and read widely in his spare time to supplement his minimal education at a common school. But he spent most of his waking hours helping his father with farming chores and learning the cobbler's trade from him. In 1743, 2 years after his father's death, Sherman joined an elder brother who had settled in New Milford, CT.

Purchasing a store, becoming a county surveyor, and winning a variety of town offices, Sherman prospered and assumed leadership in the community. In 1749 he married Elizabeth Hartwell, by whom he had seven children. Without benefit of a formal legal education, he was admitted to the bar in 1754 and embarked upon a distinguished judicial and political career. In the period 1755-61, except for a brief interval, he served as a representative in the colonial legislature and held the offices of justice of the peace and county judge. Somehow he also eked out time to publish an essay on monetary theory and a series of almanacs incorporating his own astronomical observations and verse.

In 1761, Sherman abandoned his law practice, and moved to New Haven, CT. There, he managed two stores, one that catered to Yale students, and another in nearby Wallingford. He also became a friend and benefactor of Yale College, and served for many years as its treasurer. In 1763, or 3 years after the death of his first wife, he wed Rebecca Prescott, who bore eight children.

Meanwhile, Sherman's political career had blossomed. He rose from justice of the peace and county judge to an associate judge of the Connecticut Superior Court and to representative in both houses of the colonial assembly. Although opposed to extremism, he promptly joined the fight against Britain. He supported nonimportation measures and headed the New Haven committee of correspondence.

Sherman was a longtime and influential member of the Continental Congress (1774-81 and 1783-84). He won membership on the committees that drafted the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, as well as those concerned with Indian affairs, national finances, and military matters. To solve economic problems, at both national and state levels, he advocated high taxes rather than excessive borrowing or the issuance of paper currency.

While in Congress, Sherman remained active in state and local politics, continuing to hold the office of judge of the Connecticut Superior Court, as well as membership on the council of safety (1777-79). In 1783 he helped codify Connecticut's statutory laws. The next year, he was elected mayor of New Haven (1784-86).

Although on the edge of insolvency, mainly because of wartime losses, Sherman could not resist the lure of national service. In 1787 he represented his state at the Constitutional Convention, and attended practically every session. Not only did he sit on the Committee on Postponed Matters, but he also probably helped draft the New Jersey Plan and was a prime mover behind the Connecticut, or Great, Compromise, which broke the deadlock between the large and small states over representation. He was, in addition, instrumental in Connecticut's ratification of the Constitution.

Sherman concluded his career by serving in the U.S. House of Representatives (1789-91) and Senate (1791-93), where he espoused the Federalist cause. He died at New Haven in 1793 at the age of 72 and is buried in the Grove Street Cemetery.

Image: Courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution


Watch the video: . History: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver HBO (July 2022).


Comments:

  1. Kazralmaran

    Unfortunately, I can help nothing, but it is assured, that you will find the correct decision. Do not despair.

  2. Abbotson

    It only reserve

  3. Mitaur

    This communication is))) incomparable

  4. Ghassan

    why doesn't it pump

  5. Fenrijora

    You are wrong. I'm sure. I am able to prove it.

  6. Dusty

    Fundamentally Wrong Information

  7. Earl

    Bravo, a brilliant idea



Write a message