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Founding Fathers and How They Served Our Country—John Jay

By David Streater, PhD

Burke County, NCDavid Streater founding father John Jay Burke County


This is an American history educational moment of our Founding Fathers and how they served our Country.

                John Jay was born on December 12, 1745, in New York City, and raised a short distance away in Rye, New York.  He graduated from King’s College, now Columbia University.  John then studied law and was admitted to the New York bar in 1768.

During his career, Jay made many contributions to America.  The first was writing the Address to the People of Great Britain as a delegate to the First Continental Congress.  Next, John pledged his support for the Declaration of Independence as a contributor to the Provisional Congress.

In 1782, Jay, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams negotiated the Treaty of Paris.  This officially ended the Revolutionary War (September 3, 1783) and procured most of the land east of the Mississippi River.

During the late 1780s, Jay, Hamilton, and Madison using the pseudonym “Publius” wrote the Federalist Papers to support ratification of the United States Constitution.

In 1789 the Federal Judiciary Act created the courts including the Supreme Court with John Jay the Chief Justice.  The suit of Chisholm v. Georgia is considered the most significant presented before Chief Justice Jay.

Due to continued conflicts after the Revolutionary War, President Washington ordered Jay to resolve the issues with Great Britain.  Washington supported Jay’s Treaty, but not the American people because most thought it was too lenient towards Britain.  John’s reputation suffered as his effigy was burned in many places.  “Jay joked that he could travel at night from Boston to Philadelphia by the light of his burning effigies”.  Even though his agreement damaged his political career, he did what he thought was best for America.  His attempts to run for president in 1796 and 1800 were unsuccessful.

John Jay resigned from the Supreme Court to be the governor of New York until 1801.  During this time, he outlawed slavery.  He retired to his farm and died in 1829.  As an homage, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York is his namesake.

Please visit your Charters of Freedom setting in most western North Carolina counties.  A Charters of Freedom setting consists of the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.  They are on permanent display analogous to the Charters of Freedom in the National Archives, Washington, DC.  Please visit our website ( to learn more about our existing settings.

Teachers are encouraged to contact Dr. Streater for information and complementary student education materials to enhance experiential field trips to a Charter of Freedom settings.  Everyone is welcome and urged to obtain a personalized engraved legacy paver for placement at their Charters of Freedom setting.  Please contact Dr. Streater ( for an engraved legacy paver information and complementary educational materials.


Dr. David Streater is the director of education for Foundation Forward.  He is a retired college instructor and administrator, and a retired probation and parole officer/administrator.  David is a criminologist who has an acute history interest, served in the Navy, and is a resident of Burke County, NC.

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