Blount, William

Blount, William (1749-1800) Signer of the US Constitution: William Blount was born in Bertir County, North Carolina, on March 26, 1749. After fighting in the Revolutionary War, he served in the Continental Congress from 1782 to 1787. In 1787, he attended the Philadelphia Convention, at which he signed the US Constitution. From 1788 to 1789, he was a member of the North Carolina legislature. After an unsuccessful bid for the US Senate, he moved West. In 1790, he was appointed the governor and superintendent of Indian affairs for the Tennessee Territory. As governor, he had been involved in shady real estate speculation. Nevertheless, he managed to become a popular figure by his ability to balance the interests of frontier settlers with those of the government. When Tennessee became a state, Blount was elected to the Senate. Meanwhile, land prices fell, and Blount's real estate deals threatened to bankrupt him. Only his Senate immunity kept him out of debtors jail. In desperate need of money, he joined a conspiracy to attack Spanish possessions. In July of 1797, he was impeached by the House of Representatives, and expelled by the Senate. The charges were later dropped, since it was decided that Senators could not be impeached. Blount remained popular in Tennessee, and was elected to the state Senate in 1798. He died in Knoxville, Tennessee, on March 21, 1800.