Robert Morris, Jr.
b.20 Jan 1734 Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Facts and Events
Robert Morris, Jr. (January 20, 1734May 8, 1806), a Founding Father of the United States, was a Liverpool-born American merchant who financed the American Revolution and was signatory to the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution. He was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly, became the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety, and was chosen as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, where he served as chairman of the "Secret Committee of Trade" and as a member of the Committee of Correspondence.
From 1781 to 1784, he served as the powerful Superintendent of Finance, managing the economy of the fledgling United States. As the central civilian in the government, Morris was, next to General George Washington, "the most powerful man in America." His successful administration led to the sobriquet, "Financier of the Revolution." At the same time he was Agent of Marine, a position he took without pay, and from which he controlled the Continental Navy.
He was one of Pennsylvania's original pair of US senators, serving from 1789 to 1795. He invested a considerable portion of his fortune in land shortly before the Panic of 1796–1797, which led to his bankruptcy in 1798, and he spent several months in debtors' prison, until Congress passed a bankruptcy act to release him. After he left prison in 1801, he lived a quiet, private life in a modest home in Philadelphia until his death in 1806.