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Gouverneur Morris (January 31, 1752 – November 6, 1816) was an Americanmarker statesman and a native of New York who represented Pennsylvaniamarker in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He was also an author of large sections of the Constitution of the United States and one of its "signers". He is widely credited as the author of the document's preamble: "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union ... " and has been called the 'Penman of the Constitution.' In an era when most Americans thought of themselves as citizens of their respective states, Morris advanced the idea of being a citizen of a single union of states.

A gifted scholar, Morris enrolled at King's College (now Columbia University) at age twelve, in 1764. He graduated in 1768 and received a master's degree in 1771.

Family and legacy

At the age of 57, he married Anne Cary ("Nancy") Randolph, who was the sister of Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., husband of Thomas Jefferson's daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph.

He died at the family estate, Morrisaniamarker, and he is buried at St. Ann's Episcopal Church in the Bronxmarker, a borough of New York City. Morris and his wife had a son, Gouverneur Jr., who eventually became a railroad executive.

Morris also established himself as an important landowner in northern New Yorkmarker, where the Town of Gouverneurmarker and Village of Gouverneurmarker in St. Lawrence Countymarker are named for him.

Morris's half-brother, Lewis Morris (1726-1798), was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Another half-brother, Staats Long Morris, was a loyalist and major-general in the British army during the American Revolution. His nephew, Lewis Richard Morris, served in the Vermont legislature and in the United States Congress. His grandnephew was William M. Meredith, United States Secretary of the Treasury under Zachary Taylor. Morris's great-grandson, also named Gouverneur (1876-1953), was an author of pulp novels and short stories during the early-twentieth century. (Several of his works were adapted into films, including the famous Lon Chaney, Sr. film, The Penalty.)

In 1943, a United Statesmarker liberty ship named the SS Gouverneur Morris was launched. She was scrapped in 1974.


  1. [1] Documents from the Constitutional Convention and the Continental Congress at the Library of Congress
  2. Browse By Author: M - Project Gutenberg
  3. Gouverneur Morris


  • (A biography of Morris's wife.)
  • Miller, Melanie Randolph, Envoy to the Terror: Gouverneur Morris and the French Revolution (Potomac Books, 2005)
  • The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, Minister of the United States to France; Member of the Constitutional Convention, ed. Anne Cary Morris (1888). 2 vols. online version

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