Sherman, Roger (1721–1793)

views updated

SHERMAN, ROGER (1721–1793)

Roger Sherman was one of the leading members of the founding generation. For more than two decades he was simultaneously mayor of New Haven, Connecticut, a member of the state legislature, and a judge of the Superior Court. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress almost continuously from 1774 to 1784. He signed the declaration of independence, the articles of confederation, and the Constitution, the only person to sign all these founding documents.

At the constitutional convention of 1787, Sherman was a respected elder statesman. He distrusted a large and ill-informed populace and wanted all elections to national office mediated by the state legislatures. He formally introduced the great compromise and argued strongly for its passage. He wrote the contingency provision prescribing election of the President by the house of representatives if there was no majority in the electoral college. He opposed giving the President an absolute veto power and erecting a system of federal courts inferior to the Supreme Court. He originally favored, but later gave up, a unicameral national legislature chosen by the state legislatures. He strongly supported the prohibitions on export duties and bills of credit

After the Convention, Sherman worked hard for ratification of the constitution, writing newspaper articles (as "A Countryman") and attending the state ratifying convention. He was a member of the first House of Representatives (1789–1791) and of the United States Senate (1791–1793). In Congress, as in the Convention, Sherman opposed as unnecessary and unwise the enactment of a federal bill of rights.

Dennis J. Mahoney


Boardman, Roger Sherman 1938 (1971) Roger Sherman: Signer and Statesman. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. (Reprint, New York: Da Capo).

About this article

Sherman, Roger (1721–1793)

Updated About content Print Article