John Dickinson

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John Dickinson

Even though John Dickinson lived in the colonies, he supported the King and England. He became the “Penman of the Revolution”, but mostly in favor of the king. He tried to suppress the war, but he wasn’t successful.

Born in 1732 in Maryland by an affluent farmer, he later moved in 1740 to Dover, Delaware, where he was educated at a young age. In 1750 he started to study law in Philadelphia. In 1753 he went to England to continue to study law at the London's Middle Temple. He returned to Philadelphia in 1757 and became an important lawyer.

Since Dickinson was so well educated, he was asked to be in politics. In 1760 he served as spokesperson at the Three Lower Counties in Delaware. In 1762 he won a seat In the Pennsylvania Assembly and did again in 1764. Unfortunately for him, he lost the seat that year for going against Benjamin Franklin.

During the Stamp Act, Dickinson was an important player. He wrote “The Late Regulations Respecting the British Colonies”, a pamphlet that that advised Americans to look to revoke the Stamp Act by pressuring British merchants. In 1767-68 he wrote “Letters From a Farmer” which was anonymous letters to the Pennsylvania Chronicles which stated, “The parliament unquestionably possesses a legal authority to regulate the trade of Great Britain and all her colonies. Such an authority is essential to the relation between a moth country and her colonies; and necessary for the common good of all. He, who considers these provinces as states distinct from the British Empire, has very slender notions of justice, or of their interests. We are but parts of a whole; and therefore there must exist a power somewhere to preside, and preserve the connection in due order.

This power is lodged in the Parliament and we are as much dependant on Great Britain as a perfectly free people can be on one another.”

This quote makes Dickinson seem as though he is against England, but in the “Oliver Branch Petition”, from July 5, 1775, his views were a little different. “…the apprehensions which now oppress out hearts with unspeakable grieved, being once removed, your majesty will find your faithful subjects on this continent ready and willing at all times…to assert and maintain the rights and interests of your majesty and of our mother country.” It is possible that in the 8 year period between the “Letters from a Farmer” and the “Oliver Branch Petition” Dickinson’s views have changed on the colonies.
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