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The Life Of Rufus King Essay, Research Paper

The Life and Accomplishments of Rufus King

When most people think about the founding fathers of the U.S. Constitution, they think of people such as George Washington, James Monroe, etc. However, there is one man whose name represents a man who had the ability to influence anyone. A man from the state of Massachusetts; a man named Rufus King.

Rufus King was born in Sacaboro, MA in 1755. He was the oldest son of a farmer- merchant. After attending school and receiving his education, King went on to Harvard and graduated in 1777. Following his graduation he served as a generals aid during the War for Independence. He chose a legal career and he read for the law at Newburyport, MA and entered practice there in 1780.

During King’s practice, King became a member of the Massachusetts legislature from 1783 to 1785. Also in 1783, King was elected to be a judge in the Massachusetts General Court, he was reelected to this position several times. Following that, he became a member of the Continental Congress from 1784 to 1786. King earned a reputation as a great speaker and as a man who wanted to abolish slavery. One of King’s outstanding qualities was that he was one of the most capable orators. King came to the convention unconvinced that major changes should be made in the Articles of Confederation. However, his views underwent a phenomenal transformation during the debates that occurred while there. King became a leading figure in the nationalist caucus and he also took notes on the proceedings that have been valuable to the historians to figure out what happened while trying to write this document that would shape America. King also advocated for a stronger central government, where he spoke often and eloquently in defense of a strong Federal government, and the sanctity of contracts. He fought every effort to “gut” the new Federal Constitution but remained willing to consider changes adapting to what various states considered their vital interests. When the convention adjourned, King was one of the nation’s prominent leaders and a chief spokesman for ratification of the Constitution.

While a member of the Continental Congress, King introduced a resolution that prohibited slavery in the Northwest Territories. Later, the substance of Kings resolution went into the Ordinance of 1787. The ordinance made slavery completely illegal in the Northwest Territories. One might take into to notice at this point in King’s life he was only 32 years old and had established himself well amongst his peers while others were still trying to form a well- established reputation.

Around 1788, King left his practice of law and moved to New York where he entered the political forum. In 1789 he was elected to the New York State Legislature and the year before that he was elected as one of NY first senator’s for the U.S. In 1791, King became one of the first directors of the First Bank of the U.S. He was reelected in 1795 to the U.S. Senate; but he only served for a year before being appointed Minister to Great Britain from 1796-1803.

King’s life continued after he was Minister to Great Britain and ran as the vice- presidential nominee twice, but did lose in 1804 and 1808. In 1813 King was again elected to the United States Senate from the state of NY. King continued serving the state of NY for about 7 years. Then from 1825-1826, although in declining health, accepted the position of ambassador to Great Britain again which John Quincy Adams appointed to him. Rufus King passed away on April 29th 1827 after returning to the US with little success overseas.

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