George Wythe

George Wythe George Wythe (;December 3, 1726 – June 8, 1806) was the first American law professor, a noted classics scholar, and a Virginia judge. The first of the seven Virginia signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence, Wythe served as one of Virginia's representatives to the Continental Congress and the Philadelphia Convention. Wythe taught and was a mentor to Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, Henry Clay and other men who became American leaders.

Born into a wealthy Virginia planter family, Wythe established a legal career in Williamsburg, Virginia after studying under his uncle. He became a member of the House of Burgesses in 1754 and helped oversee defense expenditures during the French and Indian War. He opposed the Stamp Act of 1765 and other British taxes imposed on the Thirteen Colonies. He became increasingly alienated from British rule, and represented Virginia in the Second Continental Congress, where he signed the Declaration of Independence. He was also a delegate to Virginia's 1776 constitutional convention and helped design the Seal of Virginia. Wythe was a delegate to the 1787 Philadelphia Convention and served on a committee that established the convention's rules and procedures. He left the convention before signing the United States Constitution to tend to his dying wife. He was elected to the Virginia Ratifying Convention and helped ensure that his home state ratified the Constitution.

Wythe served as a judge for much of his life, first as a justice of the peace and then on the Virginia Court of Chancery. He was also a prominent law professor at the College of William & Mary and took on several notable apprentices. He remained particularly close to Jefferson and left Jefferson his substantial book collection in his will. Wythe became increasingly troubled by slavery in his later years and emancipated 4 of his slaves before his death. After Wythe's death in 1806, his grand-nephew was tried and acquitted for Wythe's murder. Provided by Wikipedia
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