Swift, Zephaniah

Swift, Zephaniah

(1759–1823) U.S. representative, jurist; born in Wareham, Mass. He studied and practiced law in Windham, Conn. He served in Connecticut's general assembly (1787–93, 1820–22) and in the U.S. House of Representatives (Fed., 1793–97). He opposed slavery and sat on the Connecticut Superior Court (1801–19); he fell into disfavor after participating in the Hartford Convention (1814) that threatened secession in opposition to the War of 1812. He wrote some of the first American law texts and was eulogized for making laws intelligible.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.