William Findley
Get William Findley essential facts below. View Videos or join the William Findley discussion. Add William Findley to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
William Findley
William Findley
William Findley.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 11th district

March 4, 1813 - March 3, 1817
Abner Lacock
David Marchand

March 4, 1795 - March 3, 1799
See below
See below
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th district

March 4, 1803 - March 3, 1813
John Stewart
William Piper
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's at-large district

March 4, 1791 - March 3, 1795
See below
See below
Member of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania
from Westmoreland County

November 25, 1789 - December 20, 1790
John Proctor
Position dissolved
Personal details
Born1741
Ireland
DiedApril 4, 1821(1821-04-04) (aged 80)
Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Political partyAnti-Administration
Republican
ProfessionPolitician, farmer

William Findley (c. 1741 - April 4, 1821) was an Irish-born farmer and politician from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. He served in both houses of the state legislature and represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. House from 1791 until 1799 and from 1803 to 1817. By the end of his career, he was the longest serving member of the House, and was the first to hold the honorary title "Father of the House".

Early years

William Findley was born in Ulster, Ireland and emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1763. In 1768, he bought a farm in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania,[1] where he married and started a family. Findley also worked for a time as a weaver.[2] In the American Revolution he served on the Cumberland County Committee of Observation, and enlisted as a private in the local militia, and rose to the rank of captain of the Seventh Company of the Eighth Battalion of Cumberland County Associators. In 1783 he moved his family across the Allegheny Mountains to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

Public life

Upon arrival in Westmoreland County, Findley was almost immediately elected to the Council of Censors. On this Council, which was to decide whether the radical Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 needed revision, he established himself as an effective supporter of what the "best people" considered the radical position in state politics.[]

In the following years Findley served in the Ninth through Twelfth General Assemblies and on the Supreme Executive Council. Findley was an early exponent of a political style in which candidates openly expressed their interests and proposals, as opposed to the "disinterested" style of governance many Founding Fathers envisioned.[3] In 1786 he was a critic of the Bank of North America, the nation's first central bank; he accused Robert Morris, the Continental Congress's Superintendent of Finance, of using the bank to enrich himself personally.[3] Findley also publicized the statement of fellow legislator Hugh Henry Brackenridge that "the people are fools" for opposing the bank, contributing to Brackenridge's defeat in the subsequent election.[4]

Findley was also a major opposition voice[5][6] in the Pennsylvania convention that ratified the federal Constitution and was a signer of the Minority Dissent.[7] Findley was regularly mocked during convention's debates by gentry who attempted to portray him an uneducated ' country hick '. At one point, Constitutional Convention delegate James Wilson and Pennsylvania Chief Justice Thomas McKean disputed one of Findley's statements about jury trials in Sweden; Findley returned two days later with William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England and demonstrated that his reference had been correct.[8]

Findley was one of the leaders in the convention that, in 1789, wrote a new Constitution for Pennsylvania. As an Anti-Federalist, Findley wrote papers under the name of "An Officer of the Late Continental Army".

After serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, he was elected to the Second Congress from the district west of the mountains in 1791. William Findley served in the Second through the Fifth congresses. A Jeffersonian Republican, Findley opposed the financial plans of Federalist Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and supported the cause of states' rights.[9] As a voice of reason, in 1794 he helped to calm the passions of the Whiskey Insurrection.[] Unlike many Democratic-Republicans, he opposed slavery.[9]

After declining nomination to the Sixth Congress, he was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate because he allowed his name to be placed on the local ticket to rally western support for Thomas McKean's campaign for Governor.

Elected to the Eighth Congress, he served through the Fourteenth, the turbulent years of the Burr conspiracy, the embargo, and the War of 1812 as a strong supporter of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He was known as "The Venerable Findley," and because he was the senior representative in years of service, he was in 1811 designated "Father of the House", the first man to be awarded that honorary title.[9] He died in his home along the Loyalhanna Creek on April 5, 1821, and is buried in Latrobe's Unity Cemetery.

Writings

References

Bibliography

  • Wood, Gordon S. (2009). Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815. Oxford University Press.

Further reading

  • Caldwell, John. William Findley: A Politician in Pennsylvania, 1783-1791. Gig Harbor, WA: Red Apple Publishing, 2000.
  • Caldwell, John. William Findley From West of the Mountains, 1783-1791. Gig Harbor, WA: Red Apple Publishing, 2000.
  • Caldwell, John. William Findley From West of the Mountains, 1791-1821. Gig Harbor, WA: Red Apple Publishing, 2002
  • Eicholz, Hans L. "A Closer Look at 'Modernity:' The Case of William Findley and Trans-Appalachian Political Thought". In W. Thomas Mainwaring, ed., The Whiskey Rebellion and the Trans-Appalachian Frontier. Washington, Pennsylvania: Washington and Jefferson College, 1994, 57-72.
  • Ewing, Robert (1919). "Life and Times of William Findley". Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine. 2: 240-51.
  • Schramm, Callista (1937). "William Findley in Pennsylvania Politics". Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine. 20: 31-40.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John Proctor
Member of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania representing Westmoreland County
November 25, 1789 - December 20, 1790
Succeeded by
Position dissolved
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district

March 4, 1791 - March 3, 1793
Succeeded by
District eliminated
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1793 - March 3, 1795
Served alongside: Fitzsimons, Muhlenberg, Kittera, Hartley, Scott, Armstrong, Muhlenberg, Gregg, Hiester, Irvine, Smilie & Montgomery
Succeeded by
District eliminated
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 11th congressional district

March 4, 1795 - March 3, 1799
Succeeded by
John Smilie
Preceded by
John Stewart
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district

March 4, 1803 - March 3, 1813
Succeeded by
William Piper
Preceded by
Abner Lacock
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 11th congressional district

March 4, 1813 - March 3, 1817
Succeeded by
David Marchand

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

William_Findley
 



 



 
Music Scenes