George Wythe(redirected from Wythe, George)
Also found in: Legal.
|Birthplace||Chesterville, Elizabeth City County, Virginia|
|Known for||signer of the United States Declaration of Independence|
Wythe, George(wĭth), 1726–1806, American lawyer, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Elizabeth City co., Va. Admitted to the bar in 1746, Wythe was a member (1754–55, 1758–68) and clerk (1769–75) of the house of burgesses. An opponent of British colonial policy, he drafted a remonstrance against the Stamp Act (1765) and was a delegate to the Continental Congress (1775–76). Wythe, aided by Thomas Jefferson and Edmund Pendleton, revised (1776) the laws of Virginia, and was influential in getting Virginia to ratify the Constitution. Perhaps his greatest contribution was as professor of law (1779–90) at the College of William and Mary; his teachings influenced many, including John Marshall, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and Henry Clay. Wythe was one of the greatest early U.S. lawyers. He served as judge (1778–88) in the Virginia chancery court and as sole chancellor (1788–1801).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
Wythe, George(1726–1806) judge, law educator; born in Hampton, Va. He served as the colony of Virginia's attorney general and in the House of Burgesses, but he opposed Britain's Stamp Act (1764) and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was sole justice of Virginia's High Court (1789–1801). He defended judicial review, and at the College of William and Mary, he was the first professor of law in the United States (1779–90), teaching John Marshall, James Monroe, Henry Clay, and others who would become influential lawyers and government officials. He died from poisoning by a grandnephew seeking to secure a legacy.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.