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Gouverneur Morris
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    (January 31, 1752-November 6, 1816)
    Born in Westchester County, New York
    Principal author of the constitution of the state of New York (1777)
    Delegate to the Continental Congress (1778-79)
    Signer of the United States Constitution (1787)
    Minister to France (1792-94)
    US Senator from New York (1800-03)
    Chaired the Erie Canal Commission (1810-13)
    Rather confusingly, he was never a governor.
    His leg was shattered and had to be amputated and replaced with a wooden pegleg (1780): he claimed he had broken the leg in a carriage accident, but he was rumored to have actually jumped from a window to escape a jealous husband.
    His diaries recorded numerous affairs, with both single and married women.
    He believed only property owners should be allowed to vote.
    He opposed admitting new western states on an equal basis with the existing eastern states, calling them a wilderness that could never produce 'enlightened' statesmen.
    He was admitted to Columbia University at age 12.
    He was so appalled by conditions at Valley Forge that he became the spokesman for the Continental Army in Congress, successfully pushing for substantial reforms in its training and financing.
    At the Constitutional Convention, he was the only delegate to advocate completely abolishing slavery.
    He was one of the five men who drafted the final language of the Constitution.
    He declared, 'The proudest empire in Europe is but a bubble compared to what America will be, must be, in the course of two centuries, perhaps of one.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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