McKean, Thomas(məkān`, –kēn`), 1734–1817, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. New London, Pa. He settled at New Castle, Del., and became a lawyer and a political figure, one of the strong opponents of the British colonial system. He was (1765) a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress. McKean promoted concerted action by the colonies and was the longest-serving member (1774–76, 1778–83) of the Continental Congress. A colonel in the army when the Declaration of Independence was signed, he affixed his signature later. McKean helped to frame the Delaware constitution, was chief justice of Pennsylvania (1777–99), where he also had a home, and was briefly president (governor) of Delaware (1777). He was (1781) president of the Continental Congress and was a supporter 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in U.S. history, ratified in 1781 and superseded by the Constitution of the United States in 1789.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
..... Click the link for more information. ), which he signed. He worked to obtain the ratification of the Constitution by Pennsylvania and was a member of Pennsylvania's state constitutional convention. Later a supporter of Thomas JeffersonJefferson, Thomas,
1743–1826, 3d President of the United States (1801–9), author of the Declaration of Independence, and apostle of agrarian democracy. Early Life
Jefferson was born on Apr. 13, 1743, at "Shadwell," in Goochland (now in Albemarle) co.
..... Click the link for more information. , McKean was (1799–1808) governor of Pennsylvania. With James WilsonWilson, James,
1742–98, American jurist, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. near St. Andrews, Scotland. He studied at the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh and, after emigrating to Pennsylvania in 1766, taught Latin at the College of Philadelphia (now the
..... Click the link for more information. he wrote Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1792).
See biographies by J. M. Coleman (1975) and D. McKean (2016); studies by W. Cobbett (1798, repr. 1970) and J. H. Peeling (1929).