Thornton, Matthew (1714?–1803), an American patriot and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Thornton was born in Ireland and was brought to America as a child. He became a doctor and settled in New Hampshire about 1740. Soon active in state politics, he became a leading figure in the patriot cause. Thornton was elected to the Continental Congress after the Declaration of Independence had been drafted in 1776, and was thus one of the last delegates to sign the document. He served in the Congress for about a year and then returned to New Hampshire, where he was a supreme court judge until 1782.
In the dark of night on Dec. 16, 1773, residents of Boston poured more than 90,000 pounds of tea into the harbor. But they weren't trying to set a world record for the most cups of tea made at one time. They were protesting the British government.
President Jefferson sent a couple of his representatives over to France to buy the city of New Orleans. What he got was the Louisiana Purchase, a patch of land that nearly doubled the size of the young nation.