Hugh Williamson

U.S. Congressperson

1735 – 1819


Who was Hugh Williamson?

Hugh Williamson was an American politician. He is best known for representing North Carolina at the Constitutional Convention.

Williamson was a scholar of international renown. His erudition had brought him into contact with some of the leading intellectuals of the Patriot cause and, in turn, with the ferment of political ideas that eventually found expression in the Constitution. During the American Revolution, Williamson contributed his talents as physician and natural scientist to the American war effort. His experiences in that preeminent event of his generation transformed the genial scholar into an adroit politician and a determined leader in the campaign for effective national government. This leadership was evident not only at the Convention in Philadelphia but also, with telling effect, during the ratification debates in North Carolina.

Williamson's career demonstrates the rootlessness that characterized the lives of many Americans even in the 18th century. Born on the frontier, he lived for significant periods of his long life in three different regions of the country. This mobility undoubtedly contributed to the development of his nationalistic outlook, an outlook strengthened by wartime service with interstate military forces and reinforced by the interests of the planters and merchants that formed his North Carolina constituency. These experiences convinced him that only a strong central government could adequately protect and foster the political, economic, and intellectual future of the new nation.


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Dec 5, 1735
West Nottingham Township
  • Utrecht University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Edinburgh
May 22, 1819

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