Dickinson, John (1732–1808), a United States statesman known as the “penman of the Revolution.” He wrote almost every important document of the Colonial and Continental congresses up to the Declaration of Independence and drafted the Articles of Confederation. He helped win support for independence with Letters of a Farmer from Pennsylvania (1768) and for the Constitution with his “Fabius” letters (1787).
Dickinson was born in Talbot County, Maryland. He was a member of the Stamp Act Congress (1763) and of the first Continental Congress, 1774–76. Dickinson urged that a final break with Great Britain be postponed until the colonies could adopt a constitution. He refrained from signing the Declaration of Independence but within a week was leading a brigade against the British. Dickinson was president (governor) of Delaware, 1781–82, and president of Pennsylvania, 1782–85. As a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he helped the smaller states win equal representation in the Senate and was a signer of the Constitution from Delaware. Dickinson College is named for him.