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Charles Pinckney - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Tuesday, December 31, 2019

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Birth: October 26, 1757
Death: October 29, 1824 (age 67)
Colony: South Carolina
Occupation: Lawyer, Soldier, Politician, Diplomat
Significance: Signed the United States Constitution (at the age of 41); served as the Governor of South Carolina (1789-1792, 1796-1798, 1806-1808); served as a United States Senator from South Carolina (1798-1801); served as the United States Minister to Spain (1801-1804); and served as a United States Congressman (1819-1821)

Charles Pinckney Statue in Signers' Hall at the National Constitution Center

Charles Pinckney was born in South Carolina to a very prominent family of wealthy plantation owners. He was a cousin of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and Thomas Pinckney, who were also Founding Fathers of the United States. Pinckney practiced law until 1779 when he joined the South Carolina Militia and served until the Revolutionary War's conclusion in 1783. Pinckney was also held as prisoner of war by the British after he was captured during the defense of Charleston, South Carolina. 

After the end of the Revolutionary War, Pinckney returned to South Carolina to practice law until he was elected to the Continental Congress (Congress of the Confederation) in 1784. He was later named as a member of the Constitutional Convention which met in Philadelphia in the Summer of 1787. At the Constitutional Convention, Pinckney was part of a group of delegates who strongly opposed any provisions which threatened the institution of slavery. Pinckney helped to draft the Constitution, and he also then signed the United States Constitution

After the U.S. Constitution was ratified, Pinckney remained in local South Carolina politics for decades, holding many offices within the state. Pinckney was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives numerous times, holding the position for a total of 13 years across four decades. Pinckney was also elected as the Governor of South Carolina for three non-consecutive terms, serving from 1789-1792, from 1796-1798, and from 1806-1808. Pinckney was also elected to the U.S. Congress twice, first as a United States Senator from South Carolina in 1798 and then as a member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina in 1819. Pinckney even served as the U.S. Minister to Spain from 1801-1804 in his diverse political career. His seat in the U.S. House of Representatives was his final political position, since failing health prevented him from seeking a second term in Congress. Pinckney then died a few years later 1824.

Charles Pinckney in Philadelphia

Charles Pinckney lived in Philadelphia while he was a member of the Constitutional Convention, which met at Independence Hall in 1787. It was during this time that Pinckney signed the United States Constitution. Pinckney also worked in Congress Hall as a United States Senator and Congressman while Philadelphia was the Capital city of the United States. Today, you can also see a statue commemorating Pinckney 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 Pinckney who signed the Constitution of the United States. The National Constitution Center, Independence Hall, Congress Hall and Signers' Garden are stops visited along The Constitutional Walking Tour!

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