1752 – 1816
Morris, was born on January 31, 1752 in Morrisania, which is now a part of New York City.
He was instructed by private tutors; graduated from King’s College (now Columbia University), New York, in 1768; studied law; was admitted to the colonial bar in 1771 and commenced practice in New York City.
Was a Delegate and a Senator from New York; member, New York provincial congress 1775-1777; lieutenant colonel in the State militia in 1776; member of the committee to prepare a form of government for the State of New York in 1776; member of the first State council of safety in 1777; member, first State assembly 1777-1778; Member of the Continental Congress in 1778 and 1779; signer of the Articles of Confederation in 1778; moved to Philadelphia in 1779; appointed assistant superintendent of finance 1781-1785; Pennsylvania delegate to the convention that framed the Constitution of the United States in 1787; returned to live in New York in 1788; went to Europe on business in 1789; Minister Plenipotentiary to France 1792-1794; returned to the United States in 1798; elected in 1800 as a Federalist to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of James Watson and served from April 3, 1800, to March 3, 1803; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1802; chairman of the Erie Canal Commission 1810-1813; author on legal and political subjects.
He was also an author of large sections of the Constitution of the United States. He is widely credited as the author of the document’s preamble: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union”.
Morris died at age 65 in Morrisania, N.Y. on November 6, 1816 after a short but distressing illness. Interment was in St. Anne’s Episcopal Churchyard, Bronx, N.Y.
NOTE: Death notice for Morris was published in The Troy Post on November 12, 1816.