Clinton, George

Clinton, George (1739-1812) Governor of New York, Vice President of the United States: After studying law and establishing a legal practice, Clinton began his political career as a representative to the Provincial Assembly of New York. He attended the Second Continental Congress, and was commissioned a brigadier general in the New York militia in 1775. Two years later, he was elected Governor of the state. Despite John Jay's opinion that Clinton's background "did not entitle him to so distinguished a pre-eminence," Clinton was elected for six consecutive terms. He used his tremendous political power to support the rights of the states, which challenged the attempts by state Federalists to ratify the federal Constitution. Clinton has been identified as the possible author of at least two sets of anti-Federalist letters which appeared in the New York Journal, one signed "Cato," the other signed "Brutus." As president of New York's ratifying convention, he lost a majority against the Constitution by only a narrow margin. Clinton was Governor of New York until 1795, then returned to office in 1800. In 1804 and 1808, he was elected Vice President of the United States, and remained in office until his death.