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John Jay

by: J. T. Lawson

John Jay was instrumental in the early history of the United States. He was born in New York City on December 12, 1745. He was born into a well-to-do family. He attended Kings College, later named Columbia University, in New York City. He graduated from Kings College in 1764 and he was admitted to the bar in 1768.

John Jay gained fame as a lawyer. He married Sarah Livingston in 1774. They had seven children. Of the children, two were boys and five were girls.

Jay was granted positions as a member of the New York Committee of Correspondence, The New York Provincial Congress, and the Continental Congress when the American Revolution began. Once the Declaration of Independence was adopted, John Jay supported the patriot cause. He served as President of the Continental Congress. He was sent to Spain to muster support for the colonies. The Spanish, however, did not support the colonists' cause.

Following the Revolution, Jay was sent to France in 1782 to assist Benjamin Franklin in the negotiation of a treaty with Great Britain. Once the treaty was signed, Jay refused a post as minister to Great Britain or France. Jay returned to England to negotiate another treaty to clear up items of the Revolution. The treaty that came from this was known as Jay's Treaty.

When the new government was formed in the United States, John Jay was named the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Later, Jay served two terms as governor of New York. He died on May 17, 1829.