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Thomas Mifflin - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Friday, December 20, 2019

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Birth: January 10, 1744
Death: January 20, 1800 (aged 56)
Colony: Pennsylvania
Occupation: Merchant, Politician
Significance: Signed the United States Constitution (at the age of 43); served as President of the Continental Congress (1783-1784); served as President/Governor of Pennsylvania (1788-1799)

Thomas Mifflin Statue in Signers' Hall at the National Constitution Center

Thomas Mifflin was born in Philadelphia and was graduated from the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) in 1760. Mifflin went into business with his brother after graduation and started successful mercantile business and became a prominent figure in Philadelphia.  In 1774 Mifflin was appointed to the First Continental Congress and a year later he was also appointed to the Second Continental Congress, each time to represent Pennsylvania.

However Mifflin did not remain in congress long enough to vote for Independence as he decided to leave the Continental Congress after George Washington was named Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.  Mifflin joined the Continental Army as a major and accompanied Washington, eventually becoming Washington's aide-de-camp. Mifflin rose to the rank of major general, but got involved in a controversially regarding his failure to properly supply Washington's Army at Valley Forge.  Though nothing became of the accusation, Mifflin nonetheless resigned from the Continental Army and returned to Philadelphia where he was again appointed to the Continental Congress.

Mifflin was elected President of the Continental Congress in 1783 and oversaw the end of the Revolutionary War, the resignation of Washington as Commander in Chief, and the ratification of the Treaty of Paris.

Mifflin was later also named as a member of the Constitutional Convention which met in Philadelphia in the Summer of 1787. At the Constitutional Convention, Mifflin represented Pennsylvania and helped to debate, draft and sign the United States Constitution

Mifflin was elected the President of Pennsylvania (the pre-constitution equivalent to Governor) in 1788. After the office of President of Pennsylvania was disbanded after the ratification of the United States Constitution, Mifflin was then elected to the equivalent office of Governor of Pennsylvania, a position he retained until 1799.  A year later in 1800, Mifflin died at the age of 56.

Thomas Mifflin in Philadelphia

Thomas Mifflin lived in Philadelphia for much of his life since the city was his hometown where he grew up. Mifflin lived in Philadelphia while a member of the First Continental Congress, which met at Carpenter's Hall. Mifflin again lived in Philadelphia while a member of the Second Continental Congress in 1783. While a member of the Continental Congress, Mifflin worked at Independence Hall. Mifflin once again worked in Independence Hall when he helped to write the Constitution of the United States as a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Today, you can also see a statue commemorating Mifflin for his role in the creation of the United States Constitution in the Signers' Hall exhibit of the National Constitution Center. Signers' Garden pays tribute to the Founding Fathers, including those such as Mifflin who signed the Constitution of the United States. The National Constitution Center, Independence Hall and Signers' Garden are stops visited along The Constitutional Walking Tour!

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