President James Wilson by Steve Payne
says: what if the Scottish Lawyer James Wilson emerged from the
Constitutional Convention as the most suitable choice for Chief Magistrate?
Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily
reflect the views of the author(s).
1742: on September 14th, the
first Chief Magistrate of the United States, James Wilson was born in
Wilson began to read the law at the office of John
Dickinson in 1767 and after two years of study he attained the bar in
Philadelphia, setting up his own practice in Reading, Pennsylvania. Amongst
the first and youngest of the Founding Fathers, as far back as 1768 he had
established his thought leadership as a legal theoretician by penning
"Considerations on the Nature and Extent of the Legislative Authority of the
British Parliament", the first cogent argument to be formulated against
In 1775 he was commissioned Colonel of the 4th Cumberland
County Battalion and rose to the rank of Brigadier General of the
Pennsylvania State Militia.
A signatory to the Declaration of Independence, he was elected twice to
the Continental Congress where he came to see that the Articles of
Confederation were not working. Arriving at the Constitutional Convention in
Philadelphia, he was amongst many delegates who set about writing a new
Constitution. However, he was one of the few delegates to have served as a
practicising law and a senior officer in the Continental Army.
During the debate on the Committee of Detail, he shaped the definition of
the role of Chief Magistrate upon the New York and Massachusetts States
constitutions. And at some point during the deliberations framing that role
to "faithfully execute the laws" it became self-evident that only Wilson
could navigate those vague legal definitions in office. Others might be
greater, but he would be first.
says please note that content was substantially repurposed from the
source articles of
Wikipedia, U.S. Presidents for Dummys and the works of Joseph J. Ellis.
To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in
Alternate History web site for
Father of American Legislative Authority is born (in Scotland).
Other Contemporary Stories
Eric Lipps and Raymond Speers
Guest Historians of
Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In
History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on
Facebook, Myspace and
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items
explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist
superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy
Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting