John Dickinson

By: Kenna Broomfield, Shri Karri, Prerana Ramadurgum

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Family History:

Born into a moderately wealthy family in Maryland. His father was first judge to the Court of Pleas in Delaware. Was born at Crosiadore near the village of Trappe in Talbot County in Maryland. Was the great grandson of Walter Dickinson who emigrated from England to Virginia in 1654.

Political affiliations/loyalties:

  • Entered politics serving in the Pennsylvania Assembly, sided with the Proprietary party. Dickinson believed in the simple conservation principle that change might bring more oppressive government and that the chance could not be taken.
  • Dickinson was chosen to represent Pennsylvania at the Stamp Act Congress in New York in October, 1765. Dickinson drafted three resolutions which retained hope that outright rebellion could still be avoided. At the second Continental Congress, he wrote the Petition to the King, which appealed again for peaceful resolution.

Contribution/Participation in colonial development/colonial independence:

  • Dickinson was a major architect on the Great Compromise that reconciled the differences among delegates over representation in the new government. Designed to protect the rights of both the small and more populous states, the compromise called for a national legislature that gave equal voice to all thirteen states in a Senate composed of two representatives from each. At the gathering in Philadelphia, Dickinson’s voice was strong setting forth a defense of small states, a position that led to the Great Compromise in congressional representation.
  • John Dickinson signed the Articles of Confederation which he had drafted while representing Pennsylvania in the Congress in 1776. In adopting the Articles after much debate, Congress endorsed his plan for a limited national organization of independent and sovereign states.


Integrity is the quality of being honest and ethical while having strong moral principles. John Dickinson displayed integrity because he never let anyone else sway his opinion on what he thought was morally correct. He believed that the 13 colonies should have stayed with England and although he was pressured to believe otherwise, from both his higher-ups and those below him.


Having citizenship is more than being born in a country, but it’s also being a member of the community.

John Dickinson displayed citizenship because he served for his community as a delegate in two Continental Congresses and also in the Pennsylvania Militia. He put in his time and effort into writing the Articles of Confederation and when helped write the“Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms.”

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