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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

5 - Roger Sherman, Oliver Ellsworth, and the Formation of America’s Constitutional Order

Summary

John Jay (1745–1829) was the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, and shortly before that coauthored The Federalist with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Earlier, he had been the critical negotiator of the Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolution on favorable terms, and in 1794 he was the negotiator of the Jay Treaty that averted a new war with Britain. His religious faith has been described by political and legal historians as being a new light “Christian enthusiast” and falling among “the most orthodox Christians.” Jay's own statements about his faith are consistent with those descriptions. The impact of Jay's faith on his public service and policy positions generally has not been mentioned, other than his belief in a “great plan of Providence.” However, that impact was express in his antislavery, pro-Native American, peacemaking, just war, natural law, religious freedom, and other beliefs and actions.