Portrait of John Dickinson.
Portrait of John Dickinson.

John Dickinson Quick Facts

November 1732–February 14, 1808

Quick Facts About John Dickinson

John Dickinson was born in 1732 at Crosiadore estate, near the village of Trappe in Talbot County, Maryland.

John Dickinson was educated by tutors and studied law in England.

John Dickinson began practicing law in Philadelphia in 1757 and became a prominent lawyer.

John Dickinson began his political career in the assembly of the Three Lower Counties of Delaware

John Dickinson served in the Stamp Act Congress and wrote the Stamp Act Resolutions.

In 1767-68 Dickinson wrote a series of newspaper articles in the Pennsylvania Chronicle that came to be known collectively as “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania.”

The “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania” attacked British tax policies in the colonies, but also emphasized the possibility of a peaceful resolution.

John Dickinson generally opposed many British colonial policies, but he also sought to avoid violence.

John Dickinson served in the First and Second Continental Congresses where he lobbied for a peaceful resolution of differences with Great Britain.

In 1775, Dickinson edited the final version of the Olive Branch Petition in an attempt to avoid war with Great Britain.

John Dickinson voted against passage of the Declaration of Independence and refused to sign it, stating that Independence from Great Britain was “treasonous action of the most despicable kind.”

Although he opposed war with Great Britain, John Dickinson served briefly in the Continental Army.

Following the Revolutionary War, Dickinson served in Congress from 1779 to 1780, where he drafted and signed the Articles of Confederation.

In 1786, representing Delaware, John Dickinson attended and chaired the Annapolis Convention.

In 1787, John Dickinson represented Delaware at the Constitutional Convention.

John Dickinson left the Constitutional Convention early due to illness, so he did not actually sign the Constitution, but he did authorize a fellow delegate to sign for him.

John Dickinson is often referred to as the “Penman of the Revolution” because of his influential writings.

John Dickinson died at Wilmington, Delaware on February 14, 1808.

John Dickinson is buried at the Friends Burial Ground in Wilmington, Delaware.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title John Dickinson Quick Facts
  • Coverage November 1732–February 14, 1808
  • Author
  • Keywords john dickinson
  • Website Name American History Central
  • URL
  • Access Date March 29, 2020
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update September 12, 2019

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