Wayne was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1790. He graduated from Princeton University in 1808. He went on to read law in Savannah, were he was admitted to the bar in 1811. During the War of 1812 he served as a volunteer in Georgia militia. In 1817 he was elected mayor of Savannah. In 1822 he was appointed to the Superior Court of Georgia. In 1828 Wayne left the court to run successfully for Congress. He became the chairman of House Committee on Foreign Relations. In 1835 President Jackson appointed Wayne to the Supreme Court where he served for 32 years until his death in 1867.