George Clinton


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George ClintonClinton, GEORGE, Vice-President of the United States from 1805 to 1812; Republican; born in Little Britain, Ulster co., New York, July 26, 1739; was carefully educated by his father and a Scotch clergyman, a graduate of the University of Aberdeen. In early youth George made a successful cruise in a privateer in the French and Indian War, and soon afterwards joined a militia company, as lieutenant, under his brother James, in the expedition against Fort Frontenac in 1758. He chose the profession of law, studied it with William Smith, and became distinguished in it in his native county. In 1768 he was elected a member of the Provincial Assembly, wherein he soon became the head of a Whig minority. In 1775 he was elected to the Continental Congress, and voted for the resolution for independence in 1776; but the invasion of New York by the British from the sea called him home, and he did not sign the Declaration of Independence. He was appointed a brigadier-general, and as such performed good service in his State. On the organization of the State of New York, in 1777, he was elected the first governor, and held the office, by successive elections, eighteen years. He was very energetic, both in civil and military affairs, until the end of the war; and was chiefly instrumental in preventing the consummation of the British plan for separating New England from the rest of the Union by the occupation of a line of military posts, through the Hudson and Champlain valleys, from New York to the St. Lawrence. In 1788 Governor Clinton presided over the convention held at Poughkeepsie to consider the new national Constitution. To that instrument he was opposed, because it would be destructive of State supremacy. In 1801 he was again elected governor of New York, and in 1804 was chosen Vice-President of the United States. In 1808 he was a prominent candidate for the Presidency, but was beaten by Madison, and was re-elected Vice-President. By his casting-vote in the Senate of the United States, the renewal of the charter of the Bank of the United States was refused. While in the performance of his official duties at Washington, he died, April 20, 1812. His remains rest beneath a handsome white marble monument in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington.



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