Southwestern Historical Quarterly
His Excellency George Clinton, Critic of the Constitution. By E.
Wilder Spaulding. (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1938.
Pp. ix, 325. $3.50.)
The biography of George Clinton, "the most important indi-
vidual in American History," so neglected, has been written.
Apparently all of the available Clinton material and both Fed-
eralist and Anti-Federalist sources have been freely used. The
author is to be congratulated for doing so well what should have
been done many years ago.
Clinton's education, or lack of it, his interest in mathematics
and surveying, and his study of the law are shown. His remark-
able work in surveying the boundary line between New York
and New Jersey stands today as a monument to his careful
work. Clinton was born in 1739, and before he was thirty years
old he had entered the political field which was to engage his
attention for the remainder of his life. He was elected to the
Second Continental Congress where he soon won the friendship
and confidence of George Washington. He missed immortality
as a "Signer" of the Declaration of Independence, and on the
whole was never happy nor active as a member of the Continental
Congress and later became a rather severe critic of it. He was
appointed Brigadier-General by Congress but he never won any
special fame as an active military man. His greatest service
during the Revolution was as War Governor of New York in
raising militia quotas and in securing military supplies. He was
severely unsympathetic toward the Loyalists and directed the move-
ment of confiscation of their properties.
Clinton served seven terms as governor of New York, and,
although he was never a political spoilsman in the sense that his
nephew, DeWitt Clinton, was, he laid the basis for the Republican
party in New York. His alliance with the powerful Livingston
family enabled him for many years to withstand the attacks of
the great landlord-merchant-Puritan combination made up of
the great merchant princes of New York City, the Hamilton-
Schuyler-landed aristocracy and Puritan immigrant elements
from New England. He worked with Aaron Burr but early came
to distrust him, and, did not enter into the attempted alliance
between the Burr forces and Republicans to recover New York
from the Federalists in the 1790's. It seems that Clinton did not
wholly trust Jefferson, but this may have been due to rivalry.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 42, July 1938 - April, 1939. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101107/. Accessed March 9, 2014.