William Paterson

William Paterson

(1745-1806)


Born in Ireland, William Paterson was brought to the American colonies when he was two years old.

The family moved often--from Delaware to Connecticut to New Jersey, where they finally settled.

Paterson graduated from the College of New Jersey and studied law.

He supported the patriots in the Revolutionary War.

Paterson served as attorney general of New Jersey from 1776 to 1783.

At the Philadelphia Convention, he argued strongly for the rights of the small states, putting forth the New Jersey plan in opposition to Madison’s Virginia Plan.

Although he left the convention in July, he returned to sign the Constitution.

Later, Paterson served as a U.S. senator, governor of New Jersey, and a Supreme Court justice.



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