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Itʼs History

by William Jackson on 2004-11-16

Image: Signature of William Jackson

Get ready for some crazy history-lesson action! I learned something new a few days ago. I forgot exactly how I stumbled on this obscure piece of information; I was probably googling my name or something vain like that. Anyway, I learned something cool (for me, anyway).

Twelve of the thirteen states then united by the Articles of Confederation sent 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Rhode Island didnʼt send any delegates. Of those 55, 13 left the Convention early. Of the 42 remaining, three refused to sign the resulting document. This leaves 39 delegates who signed the Constitution.

However, there are 40 signatures on the document. The extra signature is that of William Jackson, the secretary of the convention. He did not have the power to debate or vote on the issues that were discussed during that convention, but his signature validates the actions and decisions of the delegates assembled there.

William Jackson also served as President Washingtonʼs private secretary.