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James Lovell - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Thursday, December 24, 2020

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Birth: October 31, 1737
Death: July 14, 1814 (age 76)
Colony: Massachusetts
Occupation: Educator, Politician
Significance: Signed The Articles of Confederation (at the age of 39); served in the Continental Congress (Congress of the Confederation)(1776-1782)

Articles of Confederation - Original 1777 Printing

James Lovell was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Born in Massachusetts, Lovell's father, John Lovell, was the Headmaster of Boston Latin School from 1710-1778 during a time when most American Founding Fathers from Massachusetts attended the school. Among those who attended Boston Latin during his father's tenure as Headmaster included John Hancock and Benjamin Franklin. Lovell himself attended Boston Latin, before continuing his education at Harvard where he received a Master of Arts degree in 1759, and he then returned home to teach at Boston Latin alongside his father.

While Lovell's father presided over the education of many of America's most important Founding Fathers, John Lovell himself did not support the Revolutionary cause which caused a fracture between father and son. James Lovell became an outspoken critic of the British, and he gave an important speech at the Old South Church on the one year anniversary of the Boston Massacre. This speech put Lovell on the bad side of Massachusetts Military Governor William Howe, and eventually led to his arrest. Lovell first spent time in jail in Boston, and when the British abandoned the city of Boston, Howe was taken to Nova Scotia and imprisoned there. Lovell was released from prison in a prisoner exchange, and he returned to Boston in December of 1776.

Upon his return to Boston in 1776, Lovell was elected and served in the Second Continental Congress. Lovell traveled to York, Pennsylvania to serve in the Continental Congress, as Congress had been run out of the capital city of Philadelphia by the British takeover of the city. After the British decided that they could not hold Philadelphia and abandoned the City, Lovell traveled to Philadelphia with the Continental Congress in June of 1778. Lovell was among the first signers of the Articles of Confederation on July 9, 1778 after the Articles were ratified by his Colony of Massachusetts. 

Lovell remained in the Continental Congress after signing the Articles of Confederation until 1782. Lovell spent the rest of his life in Boston, serving in various positions including as a tax collector, customs officer, and naval officer of the port of Boston, a position he held from 1789 until his death in 1814.

James Lovell in Philadelphia

James Lovell came to Philadelphia in 1778 as a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress. While serving as a member of the Second Continental Congress,  Lovell worked at Independence Hall, where he signed The Articles of Confederation. 

Today, Independence Hall is a stop visited along The Constitutional Walking Tour!

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