United States Senate
Jay - The Man
American statesman and jurist, the first chief justice of the United States.
Jay was born in New York City and educated at
College (now Columbia University). He was admitted to the bar in 1768.
He represented the point of view of the American merchants in protesting
British restrictions on the commercial activities of the colonies, and
he was elected to the Continental Congress in 1774 and again in 1775.
He drafted the first constitution of New York State and was appointed
Chief Justice of the state in 1777. In the following year he was again
elected to the Continental Congress and was chosen its president. In Paris
in 1782 he was one of the commissioners who negotiated the Treaty of Paris
with Great Britain, ending the American Revolution.
From 1784 to 1789 Jay was secretary for foreign
affairs. The ineffectiveness of the Articles of Confederation led him
to become a proponent of a strong national government. With Alexander
Hamilton and James Madison, Jay wrote the series of articles known as
The Federalist, which urged ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
In 1789 President George Washington appointed Jay chief justice. In 1794,
when war with Britain threatened due to controversies over the Treaty
of Paris, Jay was appointed by Washington to negotiate a settlement. He
went to Great Britain and concluded the agreement known as Jay's Treaty.
On his return to the U.S. Jay discovered that
during his absence he had been elected governor of New York State. He
resigned from the Court and served as governor from 1795 to 1801. He spent
the rest of his life in retirement.
"Jay, John". Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001, http://encarta.msn.com
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