On July 26th 1739, George Clinton was born to Charles Clinton in Little Britain, Ulster County that is currently known as Orange County (Purcell 243). George Clinton’s parents were immigrants from Ireland where they had escaped from a religious and oppressive regime that was against those who resented the precepts of the Presbyterian Church. Charles and Elizabeth settled in Ulster County where George Clinton and his brother were born and raised (Wilson 165).
Family life of George Clinton played a crucial role in the inception and shaping of his later life. His father was a commander of provincial troops during the Fort Frontenac war that included the French and the Indians. George Clinton displayed interest in the sea affairs, but at the age of sixteen he opted to get back and join his father in the military contingents that took place in Ulster (Wilson 286). For instance, his father Charles declined to take up the position of the Sherriff of New York. It opened the way for George Clinton who was given the task of serving as a clerk in the court of common pleas in the Ulster County. Since the year 1759 and up to the time he started his political career, George Clinton served as the Clerk in the Ulster court.
Early educational life of George Clinton showed him as an ardent student under the instruction of a Scottish clergyman. This stretch of life did not last long because the nation’s call for the George Clinton’s service in the army cut short his education (Caliendo 274). At the tender age of eighteen, George took off in 1757, so that he could display his patriotism to his country by fighting in the Indian and French wars. George resumed his education pursuits by enrolling into a law course where he was instructed by attorney William Smith. Prior to becoming a district attorney in the Ulster County, George Clinton started legal practice in 1764 (Wilson 273). A peculiar thing about George Clinton was that he joined active politics at a remarkably early age of less than thirty years.
George Clinton had a passion for the practice of survey and land speculation. With these characteristics at hand, George Clinton grew his wealth base and became one of the wealthiest residents of the Ulster County (Purcell 302). It was a fortune that anyone could assume as the one coming to an opportunist and self-seeking individual. The other side of George Clinton spotted a man with unassuming tendencies combined with a frugal show. He was a congenial gentleman. Although he was down-to-earth, George Clinton donned a big body and moved with the command of respect.
As a celebrated liberation war veteran, George Clinton displayed a desire to protect his nation and the interests of his nation while he was still young (Hennesey & McConnel 204). The formative years of George Clinton’s political activity were marked by his election to the New York assembly. George Clinton took a decided stand with the faction that was led by the Livingstones. This allegiance and loyalty got a selling mark when he took up Cornelia Tappen as his wife. Studies show that Tappan was a close relative of the Livingstones (Hennesey & McConnel 204).
The family life of George Clinton was marked by a big family that consisted of five daughters and a son. George Clinton had all these children with his wife Sarah Cornelia Tappen. A marked characteristic of the Livingstones was the harsh stand they took against the Britons with regards to the relations between Britain and the North American British colonized regions. The Livingstones were wealthy predominantly Presbyterian families that owned massive chunks of land in the Hudson valley (Wilson 86). This gesture was not a light message to the Britons. Hence, it was seen as an anti-British show. When the relations between the British and the North American land owners deteriorated, Clinton came to the forefront and started fighting for the release of a member of a group called the Sons of Liberty who was taken by the royalist controllers of the New York Assembly because of the seditious libel.
George Clinton displayed these gestures of patriotism on several other accounts, but the most notable was the case in 1780 when he foiled the expedition led by Sir John Johnson who was dreaded as an executor and fearless torching agent. If it were not for George Clinton’s efforts, the settlers of the Mohawk valley would have suffered serious damages and could have lost their lives (Hennesey & McConnel, 204). If this invasion succeeded, the United States would lose the Hudson River together with the link held between New England and other southern colonies.
George Clinton sought to protect the territorial boundary of the New York County from the New Hampshire settlers (Wilson 233). He also orchestrated the signing of the peace treaty with the Indians that settled in the western state. As a man of fortitude and expansive vision, with the help of his observance and keenness he noticed that there was a considerable need for a canal between Wood Creek and Mohawk. This interest made him suggest the idea to the legislature for the implementation (Hennesey & McConnel 204). The implementation took some time, though the project was finally brought to a successful end under the patronage of De Witt Clinton, George’s nephew.
Being a courageous man, George led a troop of militia in 1787 to aid Massachusetts fight an outbreak of insurgents. It portrayed the real George Clinton in the face of emergency and security threat. As evident in his military operations, George Clinton displayed such traits as boldness, courage, and a strong will that kept him going even when the successful outcome seemed impossible (Wilson 76).
Being a civil magistrate at one point in life, George Clinton displayed tendency to the study of literary material and maintenance of order in the society. Another facet that was obvious from the George Clinton’s relations with others was his display of affection, winning spirit, a strong detest against his dislikes, and warm friendships (Purcell 54). The popularity that he got in the public domain arose from admirable sound judgment that he displayed together with strong moral stands and internal energy.
There existed a cordial friendship between George Washington and George Clinton during the American Revolution. In this revolution, Clinton held the position of a brigadier general in the militia contingent of New York. It was this service in the war years that led to the friendship between him and George Washington. A resulting token of this friendship as reported by most historians was the position of the Governor of New York that Clinton got in 1777. History also records that Clinton held the record of serving the longest duration as the governor of New York. His service in this position lasted six terms. As the governor, Clinton did not act as a puppet, but viewed critical matters within his powers and sought to ensure that the citizens of New York got the best of his service. For instance, it was recorded that George Clinton fought the movement aimed at ratifying the constitution. Clinton’s view was that the federal government needed a regulating force and the ratification of the constitution would only lead to the over-empowering of the federal government. Clinton’s vigor and agility opposing the ratification of the constitution resulted in seven famous letters in New York that he signed Cato. At one point in 1795, Clinton resigned from the office of the Governor due to his poor health conditions. During this time, Clinton’s key opponent for the New York Governor’s seat was John Jay. John Jay won the 1795 Governor elections (Senate 300). It was not the end of his political career because Clinton was able to serve as the Governor between 1801 and 1804 before he obtained the position of the Vice President of the United States of America.
The election of Clinton as the Vice President was an awaited result of several previous attempts. For example, Clinton ran for the vice presidency in 1788 and 1792, but he failed (Senate, 88). On the third attempt in 1804, Clinton got the chance to clinch the position due to the myriad of factors. Clinton’s candidature was not as controversial as the one of Aaron Burr. The factor of his home county played a key role because he counterbalanced the massive effect that the then President Thomas Jefferson had with a great stake of political power he had amassed while serving as the New York Governor (Hennesey & McConnel 208).
Another circumstantial condition that largely influenced the presidential election of 1804 was the Twelfth Amendment stipulating that those who sought to elect the President were supposed to indicate beforehand their favorite choices for the positions of the President and Vice President. The Amendment allowed electors to vote only for the President because a person who came second in the elections of the President was appointed as the Vice President. According to this Amendment, George Clinton was able to clinch the position of the Vice President.
Another neglected factor not in favor of Aaron Burr was the intransigence of 1800. Because of the situation orchestrated by Burr, the then President Jefferson almost lost his presidency (Hennesey & McConnel 204). Clinton was a suitable candidate to perform the duties of the Vice President. Though it largely necessitated the change of guard, there was a lot of taint and uncertainty in the minds of the people because George Clinton had previously achieved success in opposing the Constitution. The national trust was shaky. Thus, his election as the Vice President resulted more from the prevalent circumstances.
Clinton’s service as the Vice President was marked by several lapses of ineffectiveness. As the officer presiding over the sessions of the Senate, Clinton indicated his disinterest in the proceedings and made numerous complaints with regards to the length of speeches given by the members of the Senate. These outcomes were traceable to the Clinton’s age advancements in combination with multiple instances of sickness (Hennesey & McConnel 204). His voice was so faint that almost the whole Senate could not hear a half of what he was speaking. The Senate rules seemed like jargon to Clinton as well as the decline in the articulation of most guidelines used in the Senate discussions.
His desire to ascend to the presidency was thwarted by Thomas Jefferson when in 1808 Thomas Jefferson supported James Madison as the presidential candidate (Hennesey & McConnel, 204). Clinton was bitter at the decision to sideline him from the presidential position and thereby made a decision to oppose the administration of Madison (Nile’s National register). For instance, in a tied vote concerning the re-chartering of the Bank of the United States, Clinton decided to take an opposing vote to that of James Madison.
One of the key items that the Americans keep dear to their hearts concerning George Clinton is that he is included into the list of heroes called the Founding Fathers of the Nation (Wilson 98). This honorable position arises from the role that he played together with other freedom fighters in freeing the country from the colonial powers. George Clinton’s other efforts ensured that the society maintained equity and fairness, especially in matters concerning taxes. Early in his life being a Lieutenant, George Clinton did not tolerate the Tories. This hatred was so intense that he organized seizures and facilitated the sale of the Tory estates in order to keep the low level of taxes (Wilson 59).
Another memorable fact accompanying his name is his service as the Vice President under two presidents. George Clinton served as the Vice President to President Jefferson from 1805 to 1809, then again served as the Vice President to James Madison from 1809 until his death in 1812 (Caliendo 80).
Unfortunately, George Clinton holds the record of being the first Vice President of the United States who died in office (Caliendo 77). Several monuments and historical artifacts have been constructed to preserve the vital part of the deeds George Clinton accomplished on behalf of his country. Several cities have Clinton Counties named after the strong man George Clinton. Examples of such places are the Clinton County in New York, the Clinton County in Ohio, and also one in Missouri. A gilded sculpture in Washington stands to remind the Americans of the momentous duty George Clinton performed (Wilson 90).
A further treat of honor is depicted in the Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull. However, George Clinton was not present at this occasion and, therefore, could not sign it (Wilson 98).
The United States currency has for a long time now seen the image of George Clinton printed on the back side of a 2 dollar bill. In 1807, George Clinton purposed to find fund sources for the resettlement program that would have gone away if Clinton’s efforts had not been fruitful (Purcell 87).
In conclusion, it is evident that George Clinton was both a politician and a military man at different times. His dedication to the issues of national progress not only led to the independence of the United States but also blocked many British invasions from seizing land that belonged to the Native Americans.
George Clinton left a legacy of achieving what his heart desired, yet with a bias towards the good of the society (Hennessey & McConnell 224). For instance, there were several times that George Clinton ran for the vice presidency. Despite failing, George Clinton still maintained his composure in terms of successive elections.
Following in the footsteps of his father, George Clinton displayed the true nature of a military service man. For example, when he was called to get back to the capital and serve in the legislative system, George Clinton promised George Washington that he would soon be back in the war field if the conditions at job posting favored his return.
George Clinton believed that all age groups in the society had a role to play and to accomplish. With this notion in mind, George Clinton considered joining the military when he had just clocked eighteen. His legal practice together with active entry into the arena of politics clearly stipulated that George Clinton was a man with a destination. With numerous awards and the legacy he has left behind, it is true that George Clinton managed to stay focused on the achievable goals that he thought the Americans dearly needed.