Robert Ogden was a politician from New Jersey. He is significant because he participated in the Stamp Act Congress.
- Ogden was born on October 16, 1716, in Elizabethtown, New Jersey.
- His father was Robert Ogden and his mother was Hannah Crane.
- Ogden married Phoebe Hetfield. They had six children together.
- Ogden was a member of the King’s Council for New Jersey.
- In 1751, he was elected to the New Jersey Legislature
- In 1763, he was chosen as Speaker of the House.
- In 1765, he represented New Jersey at the Stamp Act Congress.
- In 1776, he was Chairman of the Elizabethtown Committee of Safety.
Delegate to the Stamp Act Congress
On March 22, 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which required a stamp to be placed on all legal documents and many printed materials in the colonies.
In May, news of the new law reached the colonies. There was immediate opposition, including riots in Boston, Massachusetts, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Savannah, Georgia.
On June 8, 1765, the Massachusetts Assembly sent a circular letter to the legislatures of the other colonies, inviting them to send delegates to a congress in New York to discuss a unified response to the Stamp Act. The precedent for such a meeting had been set by the Albany Congress in 1754.
Nine of the 13 colonies, including New Jersey, chose to send delegates to the meeting, which was held in New York City. Ogden was elected as a delegate from New Jersey, along with Hendrick Fisher and Joseph Borden.
The Stamp Act Congress convened on October 7, 1765. On October 19, the Stamp Act Congress issued a Declaration of Rights and Grievances. Congress sent petitions to the King and both houses of Parliament and asked for the Stamp Act to be repealed.
Ogden and Timothy Ruggles of Massachusetts, who served as the President of the Stamp Act Congress, refused to sign the official documents of the Stamp Act Congress on the grounds they should be submitted to the assemblies of the states for approval.
The people in New Jersey were not happy with Ogden’s refusal to sign and burned him in effigy.
Ogden responded by resigning from his seat in the New Jersey Legislature.
On November 1, 1765, the Stamp Act took effect, but there were no stamp masters available to distribute the stamps. They had resigned or refused to perform their job due to violence and intimidation against them.
On March 18, 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, primarily due to protest from British merchants who believed it would damage their prospects of doing business in the colonies. However, on that same day, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act, which declared it had the “full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever.”
- Ogden died on January 1, 1787, in Sparta, New Jersey at the age of 70.
- He was buried in Sparta, New Jersey.
Robert Ogden is important because he participated in the Stamp Act Congress in 1765. Ogden refused to sign the Declaration of Rights and Grievances that were issued by Congress and was forced out of office by the people of New Jersey.