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On this day in 1745, founding father John Jay was born in New York, New York

December 12, 2023

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 12 of December, repeating indefinitely

On this day in 1745, founding father John Jay was born in New York, New York. A sometimes forgotten founder, Jay was a patriot, important diplomat, and author of five Federalist Papers. He was appointed by George Washington as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. As Chief Justice, Jay was influential in establishing Court rules and procedures and reinforced the separation of powers by refusing to give formal counsel to the executive branch (though he was happy to provide guidance informally).

As a diplomat, he was instrumental in negotiating the Treaty of Paris along with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, and in regard to English treaties, Adams described him as “of more importance than any of the rest of us.”

Did you know? Though a slaveholder during his life, Jay was responsible for signing a bill that gradually outlawed the practice in his home state of New York. His son William would go on to be a vocal abolitionist, so respected that Frederick Douglass wrote and delivered a 27-page eulogy in memoriam after his death.

John Jay, Gilbert Stuart, 1794

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December 12, 2023
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