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George Clinton (vice president)

George Clinton (vice president)

Overview

George Clinton was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 soldier
Soldier
A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary...

 and politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

, considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

. He was the first Governor of New York
Governor of New York
The Governor of the State of New York is the chief executive of the State of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces. The officeholder is afforded the courtesy title of His/Her...

, and then the fourth Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 (1805–1812), serving under Presidents Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 and James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

. He and John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

 are the only persons to serve as Vice-President under different U.S. Presidents.

His political interests were inspired by his father, Charles Clinton
Charles Clinton
Charles Clinton was a French and Indian War Colonel, the father of American Revolutionary War general James Clinton and Vice President of the United States George Clinton, and the grandfather New York Governor DeWitt Clinton....

, who was an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 immigrant to Little Britain, New York
Little Britain, New York
Little Britain, New York is an area in Orange County, first settled in 1729 by Peter Mulliner, a devout Anglican, who named his farm Little Britain. The name spread to the surrounding region, which at that time was part of Ulster County, New York...

 and a member of the New York colonial assembly.
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George Clinton was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 soldier
Soldier
A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary...

 and politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

, considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

. He was the first Governor of New York
Governor of New York
The Governor of the State of New York is the chief executive of the State of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces. The officeholder is afforded the courtesy title of His/Her...

, and then the fourth Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 (1805–1812), serving under Presidents Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 and James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

. He and John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

 are the only persons to serve as Vice-President under different U.S. Presidents.

Early life and participation in the Revolution


His political interests were inspired by his father, Charles Clinton
Charles Clinton
Charles Clinton was a French and Indian War Colonel, the father of American Revolutionary War general James Clinton and Vice President of the United States George Clinton, and the grandfather New York Governor DeWitt Clinton....

, who was an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 immigrant to Little Britain, New York
Little Britain, New York
Little Britain, New York is an area in Orange County, first settled in 1729 by Peter Mulliner, a devout Anglican, who named his farm Little Britain. The name spread to the surrounding region, which at that time was part of Ulster County, New York...

 and a member of the New York colonial assembly. George Clinton was the brother of General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 James Clinton
James Clinton
James Clinton was an American Revolutionary War soldier who obtained the rank of major general.He was born in Ulster County in the colony of New York, in a location now part of Orange County, New York...

 and the uncle of New York's future governor, DeWitt Clinton
DeWitt Clinton
DeWitt Clinton was an early American politician and naturalist who served as United States Senator and the sixth Governor of New York. In this last capacity he was largely responsible for the construction of the Erie Canal...

.

At 18, he enlisted in the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 to fight in the French and Indian War
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

, eventually rising to the rank of lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

. He subsequently studied law, became clerk of the court of common pleas and served in the colonial assembly.

He was known for his hatred of Tories
Loyalist (American Revolution)
Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War. At the time they were often called Tories, Royalists, or King's Men. They were opposed by the Patriots, those who supported the revolution...

 and used seizure and sale of Tory estates to help keep taxes down. A supporter and friend of George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, he supplied food to the troops at Valley Forge
Valley Forge
Valley Forge in Pennsylvania was the site of the military camp of the American Continental Army over the winter of 1777–1778 in the American Revolutionary War.-History:...

, rode with Washington to the first Inauguration and gave an impressive dinner to celebrate it.

Political career


In 1759 he was appointed County Clerk for Ulster County, New York
Ulster County, New York
Ulster County is a county located in the state of New York, USA. It sits in the state's Mid-Hudson Region of the Hudson Valley. As of the 2010 census, the population was 182,493. Recent population estimates completed by the United States Census Bureau for the 12-month period ending July 1 are at...

, a position he held for the next fifty-two years. He was a member of the New York Provincial Assembly for Ulster County from 1768 to 1776. He became the first elected Governor of New York
Governor of New York
The Governor of the State of New York is the chief executive of the State of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces. The officeholder is afforded the courtesy title of His/Her...

 in 1777, and was re-elected five times, serving until 1795.

In 1783, at Dobbs Ferry, Clinton and Washington negotiated with General Sir Guy Carleton for the evacuation of the British troops from their remaining posts in the United States.

In 1787–1788, Clinton publicly opposed adoption of the new United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

. Herbert Storing
Herbert Storing
Herbert J. Storing was a professor of Constitutional History and Law, the Federalist Papers, and, most notably, the Anti-Federalists. Prior to his death at the age of 49 he had completed most of his annotated seven volume collection of Anti-Federalist writings, The Complete Anti-Federalist, which...

 identifies Clinton as "Cato", the pseudonym
Pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

ous author of the Anti-Federalist essays which appeared in New York newspapers during the ratification debates. However, the authorship of the essays is disputed. Clinton withdrew his objections after the Bill of Rights
United States Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and...

 was added.

In 1792, he was chosen by the nascent Jeffersonian "Republican" party as their candidate for Vice President
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

. While the Republicans joined in the general acclamation of Washington for a second term as President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, they objected to the allegedly "monarchical" attitude of Vice President John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

. Clinton was nominated rather than Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 because the Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 electors could not vote for Washington and for a second Virginian. Clinton received 50 electoral votes to 77 for Adams. His candidacy was damaged by his anti-Federalist record, and by his narrow and disputed re-election
New York gubernatorial election, 1792
The 1792 New York gubernatorial election was held in April 1792 to elect the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of New York.-Results:John Jay received more votes than George Clinton, but on technicalities the votes of Otsego, Tioga and Clinton counties were disqualified and not canvassed, giving...

 as governor in 1792. (He won by only 108 votes, and the substantial anti-Clinton vote of Otsego County
Otsego County, New York
Otsego County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. The 2010 population was 62,259. The county seat is Cooperstown. The name Otsego is from a Mohawk word meaning "place of the rock."-History:...

 was excluded on a technicality.)

He did not run for re-election as governor in 1795. He held no political office until he was elected to the New York State Assembly
New York State Assembly
The New York State Assembly is the lower house of the New York State Legislature. The Assembly is composed of 150 members representing an equal number of districts, with each district having an average population of 128,652...

 in 1800 and 1801. In 1801 he was again elected governor, serving until 1804. With 21 years of service, he was the longest-serving governor of a U.S. state.

He was picked to be President Jefferson's running mate in the 1804 Presidential election, replacing Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr, Jr. was an important political figure in the early history of the United States of America. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr became a successful lawyer and politician...

. He served as the fourth Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

, first under Jefferson, from 1805 to 1809, and then under President James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 from 1809 until his death of a heart attack in 1812. He was the first Vice President to die in office.

Clinton was the first of two Vice Presidents to serve in the position under two different Presidents. (John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

 was the other.) He is of no known relation to the 42nd President, Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, who was born William Jefferson Blythe III but took the surname of his stepfather.

Clinton was an unwilling candidate for President in the 1808 election, receiving six electoral votes from a wing of the Democratic-Republican Party that disapproved of James Madison. He came in third after Madison and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Cotesworth “C. C.” Pinckney , was an early American statesman of South Carolina, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He was twice nominated by the Federalist Party as their presidential candidate, but he did not win either election.-Early life and...

 of the Federalist Party
Federalist Party (United States)
The Federalist Party was the first American political party, from the early 1790s to 1816, the era of the First Party System, with remnants lasting into the 1820s. The Federalists controlled the federal government until 1801...

.

His original burial was in Washington. He was reinterred in Kingston, New York
Kingston, New York
Kingston is a city in and the county seat of Ulster County, New York, USA. It is north of New York City and south of Albany. It became New York's first capital in 1777, and was burned by the British Oct. 16, 1777, after the Battles of Saratoga...

 in 1908.

Marriage and children


On February 7, 1770, Clinton married Sarah Cornelia Tappen. They had five daughters and one son:
  1. Catharine Clinton (November 5, 1770 – January 10, 1811). Married first John Taylor and secondly Pierre Van Cortlandt, Jr.
    Pierre Van Cortlandt, Jr.
    Pierre Van Cortlandt, Jr. was a United States Representative from New York. A member of New York's Van Cortlandt family, he was the son of Pierre Van Cortlandt, an early New York political figure, and brother of Philip Van Cortlandt, who was also a U.S. Representative from New York...

    -son of New York Lt. Governor Pierre Van Cortlandt
    Pierre Van Cortlandt
    Pierre Van Cortlandt was the first Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York.He was born in New York, the son of Philip Van Cortlandt and Catherine DePeyster...

    .
  2. Cornelia Tappen Clinton (June 29, 1774 – March 28, 1810). Married Edmond-Charles Genet
    Edmond-Charles Genêt
    Edmond-Charles Genêt , also known as Citizen Genêt, was a French ambassador to the United States during the French Revolution.-Early life:Genêt was born in Versailles in 1763...

    .
  3. George Washington Clinton (October 18, 1778 – March 27, 1813). Married Anna Floyd, daughter of William Floyd
    William Floyd
    William Floyd was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a U.S. Representative from New York.-Biography:...

    . (A brother-in-law was Congressman Benjamin Tallmadge
    Benjamin Tallmadge
    Benjamin Tallmadge was a member of the United States House of Representatives. His birth date is alternately listed as February 25, 1754....

    )
  4. Elizabeth Clinton (July 10, 1780 – April 8, 1825). Married Matthias B. Tallmadge.
  5. Martha Washington Clinton (October 12, 1783 – February 20, 1795).
  6. Maria Clinton (October 6, 1785 – April 17, 1829). Married Dr. Stephen D. Beekman—a grandson of Pierre Van Cortlandt
    Pierre Van Cortlandt
    Pierre Van Cortlandt was the first Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York.He was born in New York, the son of Philip Van Cortlandt and Catherine DePeyster...

     and Joanna Livingston.

Legacy


Clinton County, New York
Clinton County, New York
Clinton County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 82,128. Its name is in honor of the first Governor of New York as a state, George Clinton. Its county seat is Plattsburgh.-History:...

, Clinton County, Missouri
Clinton County, Missouri
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,979 people, 7,152 households, and 5,299 families residing in the county. The population density was 45 people per square mile . There were 7,877 housing units at an average density of 19 per square mile...

http://www.rootsweb.com/~moclinto/histsoc/, Clinton County, Ohio
Clinton County, Ohio
Clinton County is a county located in the state of Ohio, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 42,040. The 2008 Census Population Estimate places the figure at 43,200. It is named for former U.S. Vice-President George Clinton...

 and the village of Clinton, N.Y.
Clinton, Oneida County, New York
Clinton is a village in Oneida County, New York, United States. The population was 1,952 at the 2000 census. It was named for George Clinton, a royal governor of the colony of New York....

, site of Hamilton College, are named after him. Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 has erected a gilded equestrian sculpture
Equestrian sculpture
An equestrian statue is a statue of a rider mounted on a horse, from the Latin "eques", meaning "knight", deriving from "equus", meaning "horse". A statue of a riderless horse is strictly an "equine statue"...

 of him on Connecticut Avenue. In 1873, the state of New York donated a bronze statue of Clinton to the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection
National Statuary Hall Collection
The National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol comprises statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history...

.

In 1787 Clinton was depicted on an unauthorized copper coin minted privately in New York with "EXCELSIOR" on reverse. http://www.2020site.org/coins/georgeclinton.html

Clinton was also depicted in John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence
Trumbull's Declaration of Independence
John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence is a 12-by-18-foot oil-on-canvas painting in the United States Capitol Rotunda that depicts the presentation of the draft of the Declaration of Independence to Congress...

 even though he neither signed it nor was present when it was signed. In 1976 the painting appeared on the reverse of the two dollar bill
United States two-dollar bill
The United States two-dollar bill is a current denomination of US currency. President Thomas Jefferson is featured on the obverse of the note...

 and printed again in series 1995 and 2003.

In 2000 the State of New York
Government of New York
As in all 50 states, the head of the executive branch of the government of New York is a Governor. The legislative branch is called the Legislature and consists of a Senate and an Assembly. Unlike most states, New York electoral law permits electoral fusion; thus New York ballots tend to show a...

 ceremonially renamed the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge
Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge
The Kingston–Rhinecliff Bridge is a continuous under-deck truss bridge that carries NY 199 across the Hudson River in New York State north of the City of Kingston and the hamlet of Rhinecliff. It was opened to traffic on February 2, 1957 as a two-lane bridge, although it was not actually...

 in honor of George Clinton.

External links