Rev. John Witherspoon, President of Princeton College, signatory to the US Declaration of Independence, baptized

Rev. John Witherspoon, President of Princeton College, signatory to the US Declaration of Independence, baptized

  • February 10, 1723

John Witherspoon (February 5, 1723 – November 15, 1794) was a Scottish-American Presbyterian minister, educator, farmer, slaveholder, and a Founding Father of the United States.

Witherspoon embraced the concepts of Scottish common sense realism, and while president of the College of New Jersey (1768–1794; now Princeton University) became an influential figure in the development of the United States’ national character. Politically active, Witherspoon was a delegate from New Jersey to the Second Continental Congress and a signatory to the July 4, 1776, Declaration of Independence. He was the only active clergyman and the only college president to sign the Declaration.

Later, he signed the Articles of Confederation and supported ratification of the Constitution of the United States.

Rev. John Witherspoon, a prominent figure in American history, was baptized. He was born in Gifford, East Lothian, Scotland, on February 9, 1723. Witherspoon was a Presbyterian minister, educator, and influential political figure during the American Revolutionary War era.

In addition to his role as a minister, Witherspoon became the sixth president of the College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton University, in 1768. He played a significant role in shaping the curriculum and character of the college during his tenure.

John Witherspoon was also a member of the Continental Congress and was one of the signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776. As a representative of New Jersey, he played an important role in the independence movement and contributed to the drafting and adoption of the Declaration.

Witherspoon’s contributions to American education, religion, and politics have earned him a lasting place in American history. His legacy as a signer of the Declaration of Independence and as a leader in the development of higher education in the United States continues to be remembered and honored.

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