Mifflin, Thomas

Mifflin, Thomas (1744-1800) Signer of the Constitution: Thomas Mifflin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 10, 1744, to a wealthy Quaker family. After graduating from the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) in 1760, he worked in a countinghouse to prepare for a career as a merchant. Although he joined his brother in business, he had more of an interest in political than mercantile affairs. In 1772, he was a member of the provincial assembly. A delegate to the Continental Congress in 1774, he fought in the Continental Army in 1775, under criticism from other Quakers. In the war, he was a colonel and an aide-de-camp to General Washington. He was appointed quartermaster general of the Army, then returned to the field as a brigadier general. He fought on Long Island, and at Trenton and Princeton. After raising troops for the Continental Army, he was again appointed quartermaster general. When Congress criticized him for his poor management as quartermaster general, he resigned. He joined the Conway Cabal, a group which aimed to replace Washington with Horatio Gates as head of the patriot forces. Despite this involvement and his deficiencies as a quartermaster general, Mifflin was elected to the Continental Congress and presided over it from 1783 to 1784. As a delegate to the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, he signed the US Constitution. Mifflin was president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania; and was elected the governor of Pennsylvania three times, serving from 1790 to 1799. In 1794, during the Whiskey Rebellion, he refused to comply with Washington's order that he use Pennsylvania militia to enforce federal law. He based his refusal on the belief that no President had the right to direct the use of state militia in peacetime. Nevertheless, he later supported Washington's efforts to put down the rebellion. Because of his bad money management, he was poor by the end of his life. Mifflin died on January 20, 1800, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.