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George Clinton (politician)

Bronze by Henry Kirke Brown, National Statuary Hall Collection

George Clinton (July 26, 1739 - April 20, 1812) was an American soldier and politician. He served as the first Governor of New York from 1777 to 1795, as a member of the State Assembly in 1800 and 1801, and as the third Governor from 1801 to 1804.

He went on to serve as the fourth Vice President of the United States, first from 1805 to 1809 under Thomas Jefferson, and then from 1809 until his death under James Madison - the first Vice President to die in office.

At 18 he enlisted in the British Army to fight in wars with France and India. He subsequently studied law, became clerk of the court of common pleas and served in the state assembly. He was elected to the Continental Congress and voted for the Declaration of Independence but was called to serve Washington as a brigadier general of militia and had to leave before the signing. He did not support the adoption of the Constitution until the Bill of Rights was added.

He was known for his hatred of Tories[1] and used seizure and sale of Tory estates to help keep taxes down. A supporter and friend of George Washington, he supplied food to the troops at Valley Forge, rode with Washington to the first Inauguration and gave an impressive dinner to celebrate it.

He was the uncle of De Witt Clinton, who served as seventh and ninth Governor of New York. His father was an Irish immigrant to New Britain, Connecticut and member of the New York colonial assembly who inspired his political interests.

Clinton County, New York and Clinton County, Ohio are named after him, and Washington, D.C has erected a gilded equestrian of him on Connecticut Avenue.

His original burial was in Washington. He was reinterred in Kingston, New York in 1908.