John Dickinson

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Dickinson, John,

1732–1808, American patriot and statesman, b. Talbot co., Md. After studying law in Philadelphia and in London at the Middle Temple, he developed a highly successful practice in Philadelphia. In 1760 he became speaker of the assembly of the Lower Counties (Delaware), and in 1762 he entered the Pennsylvania legislature. Dickinson led the conservative wing opposing Benjamin Franklin and defending the proprietary system. The Sugar Act and the Stamp ActStamp Act,
1765, revenue law passed by the British Parliament during the ministry of George Grenville. The first direct tax to be levied on the American colonies, it required that all newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, commercial bills, advertisements, and other papers
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 led him to write a pamphlet (1765) in protest. As a member of the Stamp Act Congress he helped draw up the petitions to the king, but he opposed all violent resistance to the law. The passage of the Townshend ActsTownshend Acts,
1767, originated by Charles Townshend and passed by the English Parliament shortly after the repeal of the Stamp Act. They were designed to collect revenue from the colonists in America by putting customs duties on imports of glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea.
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 (1767) led to the colonial nonimportation agreements and the publication of Dickinson's famous Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, which appeared in the Pennsylvania Chronicle in 1767 and 1768. He pointed out that these laws were inconsistent with established English constitutional principles, but he favored nonimportation agreements and conciliation rather than revolt. Dickinson came to be regarded as the leader of the conservative group, which opposed not only British actions but also the ideas of such radicals as Samuel AdamsAdams, Samuel,
1722–1803, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Boston, Mass.; second cousin of John Adams. An unsuccessful businessman, he became interested in politics and was a member (1765–74) and clerk
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. He was a delegate to the First Continental CongressContinental Congress,
1774–89, federal legislature of the Thirteen Colonies and later of the United States in the American Revolution and under the Articles of Confederation (see Confederation, Articles of).
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 and drew up a petition to the king. However, he still hoped for reconciliation even after the opening of hostilities, and he refused to sign the Declaration of Independence. He continued to be the leader of the conservative patriots in Pennsylvania and Delaware and held state posts. His draft formed the basis of the Articles of Confederation (see Confederation, Articles ofConfederation, Articles of,
in U.S. history, ratified in 1781 and superseded by the Constitution of the United States in 1789. The imperative need for unity among the new states created by the American Revolution and the necessity of defining the relative powers of the
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). In 1786 he presided over the Annapolis ConventionAnnapolis Convention,
1786, interstate convention called by Virginia to discuss a uniform regulation of commerce. It met at Annapolis, Md. With only 5 of the 13 states—Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—represented, there could be no
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, and in the subsequent U.S. Constitutional Convention, Dickinson was a delegate from Delaware and a leading champion of the rights of the small states. He later wrote vigorously in support of the Constitution. Dickinson CollegeDickinson College,
at Carlisle, Pa.; coeducational; Methodist; founded 1773 as The Grammar School, chartered and opened as Dickinson College 1783. Chartered as a college primarily through the efforts of Benjamin Rush, it was named for John Dickinson.
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, established with his support when he was Pennsylvania's president (governor), is named after him.


See biographies by C. J. Stillé (1891, repr. 1967) and E. Wolf (2d ed. 1967); study by D. L. Jacobson (1965).

Dickinson, John

(1732–1808) statesman; born in Talbot County, Md. A prominent lawyer, with practices in both London and Philadelphia, he espoused the colonial cause, but worked for reconciliation with England. He was a member of the Stamp Act Congress (1765) and the First and Second Continental Congresses. He voted against and declined to sign the Declaration of Independence, but he then served in the American Revolutionary militia. As a member of the Constitutional Convention (1787) he supported ratification of the Constitution. His numerous political writings earned him the title of "Penman of the Revolution."
References in periodicals archive ?
To those people still seeking justice for loved ones Julie Ward's father, John, Sara Payne and now John Dickinson, are more than a symbol of hope.
GRIEVING father John Dickinson yesterday demanded a global DNA database to stop criminals crossing borders to escape justice.
As Caroline's father John Dickinson, flanked by his ex-wife Sue and their daughter Jenny,fixed Montes with a stare, he insisted he could not remember the events clearly.
Speaking from his workplace in Cornwall yesterday, Caroline's father John Dickinson said he did not wish to comment on any developments until after the trial.
UAF's newly installed CSP assembly line together with the Tessera license has created an exciting opportunity for the university and the regional economy," said John Dickinson, chief financial officer, OEM, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
John Dickinson, Jack Vipond and Colin Cunningham did well for Cochranes with a 20-17 win over Bill Hall but it was not enough to stop Elm Tree gaining an overall 41-36 win.
John Dickinson, an analyst at Brewin Dolphin Securities, said: "The improvement over the last 11 weeks can be put down to very weak comparatives last year due to hot weather and the World Cup.
Workers at the John Dickinson envelope plant, on Washington's Crowther Industrial Estate, have been told jobs could be slashed.
Looking at John Dickinson, 48, ex-wife Sue, 44, and daughter Jenny, 19, Montes said: "I understand the gravity of what I did.
John Dickinson and Caroline's sister Jenny,19, were asked if they wanted to add anything but they declined to speak to the court at this stage.
Its current dividend of 11p for the full year is wrong,' said Wise Speke analyst John Dickinson.