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Founding Fathers and other Influencing Citizens.  How They Served Our Country—Robert Morris

By David Streater, Ph.D.

Burke CountyDavid Streater Burke County foundation forward charters of freedom


This is an American history educational moment of those who made a difference during the Revolutionary War era and how they served our Country.

In 1734, Robert Morris was born in Liverpool, England.  When he was four, Robert’s mother died, and he was raised and educated by his grandmother.  Then, at 13, Robert joined his father in America.

While attending school in Philadelphia, Robert was not fond of structured education.  Hence, quitting school, Morris was assigned to the counting room, keeping the financial books for the Charles Willing Company.  This experience led him to work in banking, international trade, and government finance.  As the Declaration of Independence was being debated, Morris kept hoping for a settlement with England.  However, when it was Robert’s turn to sign the Declaration, he did so without hesitation or reservation.

Morris excelled as an entrepreneur, becoming the owner of many ships and merchandise.  His outstanding reputation earned Robert the exclusive command of controlling finances during the Revolution.  Congress named Morris the Superintendent of Finance because of his astute monetary and business knowledge.  As a result, he could supply patriots with food, ships, and military matériel, while dodging British obstacles.

Robert cared about America so much that he gave three of his ships to help create the US Navy.  As the metal was scarce, Robert had 90 tons of steel ballast removed from another of his ships to make bullets.  Morris also loaned the government $10,000 for the War effort, conceived a plan to establish a federal banking system, and served in additional regime positions.  President Washington asked Robert to be Secretary of the Treasury; he refused and recommended Alexander Hamilton.

Morris returned to private life, lost his fortune in land speculation, and was sentenced to debtor’s prison in 1798.  Robert was released in 1800 because of newly passed bankruptcy laws and died on May 8, 1806.

Robert was one of two Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution.  Morris, a dedicated patriot, gave all of his loyalty, knowledge, assets, and freedom to the making of the United States of America.

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.

All 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 local Charters of Freedom setting.  Please contact Dr. Streater ( for 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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