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John Langdon - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Monday, December 23, 2019

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Birth: June 26, 1741
Death: September 18, 1819 (age 78)
Colony: New Hampshire
Occupation: Merchant, Sailor, Politician
Significance: Signed the United States Constitution (at the age of 46); served as President of New Hampshire (1785-1786, 1788-1789); served as United States Senator from New Hampshire (1789-1801); and served as Governor of New Hampshire (1805-1809, 1810-1812)

John Langdon Statue in Signers' Hall at the National Constitution Center

John Langdon was born in New Hampshire where he was educated and then apprenticed himself as a merchant. Langdon found great success as a merchant and amassed a fleet of ships. Langdon was hurt financially by the British policies in the lead up to the Revolutionary War, which led to him becoming a prominent patriot in New Hampshire. Langdon was subsequently nominated to represent New Hampshire at the Second Continental Congress. Langdon left the Continental Congress before he had the opportunity to declare Independence since he had moved back to New Hampshire and helped to construct ships for American forces. Langdon himself also captained a ship during the Revolutionary War, and he participated in various naval battles.

After the Revolutionary War, Langdon was twice elected President of New Hampshire between 1785 and 1789, an equivalent position to the Governor of New Hampshire today. Langdon was also named as a member of the Constitutional Convention which met in Philadelphia. At the Constitutional Convention, Langdon represented New Hampshire, and he helped to debate, draft and sign the United States Constitution

After the newly ratified U.S. Constitution was adopted, Langdon was elected to the United States Senate to represent the state of New Hampshire in 1789. Langdon held his seat in the U.S. Senate until 1801. During this time from 1792-1793, Langdon served as the first President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate. Back home in New Hampshire, Langdon was elected Governor in 1805, and although Langdon lost his re-election campaign, he won the following election in 1810 and once again was Governor of New Hampshire until 1812. Langdon died in in his longtime Portsmouth, New Hampshire home in 1819.

John Langdon in Philadelphia

Langdon first lived in Philadelphia when he participated in the Second Continental Congress. Langdon returned to Philadelphia when he helped to write the United States Constitution as a member of the Constitutional Convention. Both the Second Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention met at Independence Hall. Langdon also worked in Congress Hall as a United States Senator while Philadelphia was the Capital city of the United States. Today, you can also see a statue commemorating Langdon 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 Langdon who signed the Constitution of the United States. The National Constitution Center, Congress Hall, Signers' Garden and Independence Hall are all visited on The Constitutional Walking Tour!

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