Carroll, Daniel, II
CARROLL, DANIEL, II
American patriot, delegate to the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention, signer of the U.S. Constitution; b. Upper Marlborough, Md., July 22, 1730;d. Rock Creek, Md., May 7, 1796. He was the son of Daniel and Eleanor (Darnall) Carroll and brother of John, the future archbishop of Baltimore. The family was related to the Darnalls, Digges, Lees, and Horseys of Maryland, and to the Carters and Brents of Virginia. Daniel Carroll II, who also married an Eleanor Darnall, daughter of Ann Rozier Darnall of England, was a first cousin by marriage to Charles Carroll of Carrollton. With his successful ventures into the business of merchant, plantation owner, and tobacco farmer, and with the large inheritances from both his father and wife, Daniel Carroll II early became a prosperous aristocrat of great wealth.
He entered political life in 1777, at a time when Maryland, of all the colonies, was most opposed to independence. Despite the stern opposition of the proprietary government, Carroll realized the need for more democratic legislation if unity was to be assured in the colony. For 18 years, in both state and national affairs, he fought the prevailing conservative, political, and religious views of his day: in the Maryland Senate and Council (1777–80); in the Continental Congress (1780–84); in the Constitutional Convention (1787–88); as member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1780–91); and as a commissioner for planning the capital in Washington (1791–95).
Carroll believed that a strong, centralized federal government was necessary for the preservation of the nation. He favored federal control of western lands and believed that the growing radicalism in state governments should be checked and religious toleration practiced in all states. In his view, reserved powers should be given to the people if not delegated to the central government. Despite divided opinion on the issue in his own state, he strongly urged Maryland's ratification of the Constitution, of which he was one of the two Catholic signers.
Though frequently overshadowed by his more famous cousin, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, eclipsed by his brother John, first archbishop of Baltimore, and confused with his distant relative, Daniel Carroll of Duddington, Daniel Carroll II of Upper Marlborough made a lasting contribution in his emphasis on the value of strong, centralized government and the recognition of the dignity of man and his need for religious liberty.
Bibliography: m. v. geiger, Daniel Carroll (Washington 1943); "Daniel Carroll," Catholic World 163 (May 1946) 163–166.
[m. v. geiger]