George Clinton Biography

George Clinton was an American politician and soldier who served as the fourth Vice President of United States, from 1805 to 1812.

Quick Facts

Birthday: July 26, 1739

Nationality: American

Famous: African Americans Political Leaders

Died At Age: 72

Sun Sign: Leo

Also Known As: George Edward Clinton

Born in: Little Britain

Famous as: Fourth Vice President of the U.S.A

Height: 5'9" (175 cm), 5'9" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Cornelia Tappen

siblings: James Clinton

Died on: April 20, 1812

place of death: Washington, D.C.

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George Clinton was an American politician and soldier who served as the fourth Vice President of United States, from 1805 to 1812, in the administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. One of the most popular politicians in early America, Clinton was tutored at home and became a soldier in his teenage years, serving in the French and Indian War. Later, he joined politics, serving as a member of the New York Assembly under British rule and later became a member of the Continental Congress. With much popularity among the people of New York, Clinton held the New York governor's post for 21 years, from 1777 to 1795 and from 1801 to 1804, as a strong leader and competent administrator.His reputation was enhanced by his able service as a war governor, a post which was more often military than political. A moderate reformer, he also promoted construction of roads and buildings, and appealed to the middle-class democracy of New York State, becoming the longest-serving governor of a U.S. state.Being a follower of Jefferson, in the election of 1804, Clinton was elected as his vice presidential running mate. Clinton served one term as Jefferson's vice president and in 1808, after an unsuccessful attempt to win nomination for president, he was re-elected for vice presidency under President James Madison. He died shortly before the expiration of his second term and became the first vice president to die in office

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Childhood & Early Life
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  • After the war, Clinton studied law under the attorney, William Smith Jr., and later returned to his native town, where he started practicing law in 1764.
  • Subsequently, he also acquired a number of minor civil offices in Ulster County. From 1768 to 1775, he served as a member of the New York provincial assembly.
  • In 1774, he was appointed a member of the New York committee of correspondence, and the following year, he became a member of the second Continental Congress. In December 1775, he was commissioned a brigadier-general of militia by the New York provincial congress.
  • In 1776, General George Washington ordered him to assist in the defense of New York City, before Clinton could sign the Declaration of Independence. In October 1776, Clinton took part in the battle of White Plains, and later was charged to guard the Highlands of the Hudson River from British attack.
  • In March 1777, Clinton was appointed a brigadier-general in the Continental army, and he thus held two commissions. He had also been selected a deputy to the provincial congress for 1776–1777, but his various other duties barred his attendance.
  • In June 1777, in the first election under the new state constitution, he was chosen both Governor and Lieutenant Governor of New York. He resigned from the latter office, and was inaugurated as Governor in July 1777.He was re-elected five times, remaining in office until 1795.
  • In 1783, Clinton was made an original member of the New York Society of the Cincinnati. Later, he served as its president between 1794 and 1795.
  • In 1787–88, Clinton publicly argued against the adoption of the new United States Constitution. In the struggle in New York over the adoption, he was one of the leaders of the opposition, but in the state convention of 1788, his party was defeated and the Constitution was ratified.
  • In April 1800, he was elected to the New York State Assembly and became a member of the 24th New York State Legislature. The following year, he returned as the governor of New York, where he served until 1804.
  • In the 1804 presidential elections, Clinton was nominated for the Vice Presidency as President Jefferson's running mate, and was duly elected. From 1805 to 1809, he served as the fourth Vice President of the United States, under Jefferson.
  • In 1809, he was again chosen as Vice President, under President James Madison, and served until 1812, when Clinton died shortly before the expiration of his term. Clinton was the first Vice President who served under two different presidents, and also the first one to die in office.
Major Works
  • Being a war governor, he supervised the defenses of the frontier, secured supplies, suppressed stalwarts, and organized campaigns against Tory and British raiders. During his governorship of New York, he also encouraged road and canal building, supported libraries and public funds for common schools, and gave support for reforming the criminal code.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • In February 1770, George Clinton married Sarah Cornelia Tappen and the couple had six children together. They had five daughters; Catharine, Cornelia, Elizabeth, Martha, and Maria, and one son named George.
  • George Clinton died on April 20, 1812, in Washington D.C., United States, at the age of 72. He was originally buried in the Congressional Cemetery,Washington, D.C. but in 1908, his remains were transferred to the Old Dutch Churchyard in Kingston, New York.

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- George Clinton Biography
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Last Updated
- November 10, 2017
George Clinton

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