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John Dickinson
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    (November 13, 1732-February 14, 1808)
    Born in Talbot County, Maryland
    Represented Pennsylvania (1774-76) and Delaware (1779-81) in the Continental Congress
    President of the General Assembly of Delaware (1781-83) and Pennsylvania (1782-85)
    Delegate from Delaware to the Constitutional Convention (1787)
    He owned slaves.
    He refused to sign the Declaration of Independence.
    Technically, he did not sign the US Constitution either: he left the Convention early due to illness and had another delegate sign on his behalf.
    He was nicknamed the 'Penman of the Revolution' for his 'Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer' (1766-67) protesting British tax policies.
    Despite having opposed independence, he served in the Revolution as a brigadier general in the militias of both Pennsylvania and Delaware.
    His Fairhill estate in Pennsylvania was burned by the British during the Battle of Germantown (1777) and his Poplar Hall estate in Delaware was looted by Loyalists (1781).
    He was the only founding father to free his slaves during the American Revolution (1777).
    At the Constitutional Convention, he helped engineer the 'Great Compromise' that established a Senate where each state has equal representation and a House with representation proportional to population.
    He and his wife donated their joint library to Dickinson College.

Credit: C. Fishel

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