Baldwin, Abraham, 1754-1807

Alternative names
Birth 1754-11-22
Death 1807-03-04

Biographical notes:

Connecticut-born delegate to the Constitutional Convention; senator representing Georgia.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Philadelphia, to James Jackson, 1789 July 17. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270974870

From the description of Autograph letter signed : New York, to an unidentified recipient, 1789 Sept. 28. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270974869

Baldwin was born in North Guilford, Conn., graduated from Yale University (1772) and served in the Revolutionary War (1777-1783) as chaplain. He studied law and admitted to the bar in Conn. in 1784. He moved to Augusta, Ga., in 1784 to practice law. After service in the Georgia House of Representatives (1785) he served in the Continental Congress from Georgia (1785, 1787 and 1788) and was a member of the U.S. Constitutional Congress. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1789-1799) and in the U.S. Senate (1799-1807). He was one of the founders of the University of Georgia and its first president (1786-1801).

From the description of [Letter] 1806 Feb. 23, Washington [to] Dear Sir / Abr Baldwin. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 156913003

U.S. senator and representative from Georgia, delegate to U.S. Continental Congress from Georgia, educator, clergyman, and lawyer.

From the description of Abraham Baldwin correspondence, 1800. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79449974

Abraham Baldwin, Georgia politician and educator, and Founder of the University of Georgia, was born in North Guilford, Connecticut, on November 22, 1754, to Michael and Lucy Dudley Baldwin. Michael, the local blacksmith, had moved his family (including Abraham and his seven half-siblings) to New Haven to secure an education for his children. There, Abraham attended Yale College, and remained three years after graduation to study theology. He was licensed to preach in 1775, but became a tutor at Yale instead, remaining there until 1779. He joined the Continental Army as a Chaplain, serving in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. During this service, he met George Washington, Nathanael Greene, and other future leaders. Yale asked him to return as a professor of Divinity in 1781, but Baldwin declined, preferring to study the law rather than submit to the narrow controlled environment at the college. After he was licensed to practice, he elected to move to Georgia in 1783, probably at the urging of Greene. Settling in Savannah, Baldwin quickly found his place in Georgia, and followed the relocation of the state capitol to Augusta. In the fall of 1784, he was elected to the legislature from Wilkes County, and soon became well-to-do by means of his thriving law practice. In February of 1784, he had been asked to sit on a board of trustees charged with administering a land grant of 40,000 acres set aside by the state for the purpose of establishing a "College or Seminary of Learning". Baldwin wrote the charter for the University of Georgia, and saw it adopted by the state legislature in January of 1785. This charter was the first ever written and adopted for a state-supported public University. The University, originally to be sited at the planned new state capitol in Louisville, was not built until 1801 due to a war with Creek Indians, and then it was situated at a spot on the Oconee River selected by a committee led by Baldwin. The town was named Athens, and work on the actual University was begun. Also in 1785, Baldwin was named a delegate to the Confederation Congress, where he served until the Constitution became the law of the land. From 1788 to 1798, he served in the House of Representatives, and he was elected a Senator by the state legislature that same year. He would remain in the U.S . Senate until his death, serving several times as President pro tempore of that body. He chaired the committee which structured the national executive branch, and accomplished much in the area of negotiations with the various Indian tribes in his adopted home state. A man of enormous personal integrity, he was able to avoid a duel when challenged. Baldwin was firmly committed to states' rights, and felt that, although slavery was wrong, that Georgia would eventually abandon it. He was opposed to war as a tool of political policy, and though originally more conservative in his political philosophies, gradually became more liberal, and counted Thomas Jefferson as a close friend. The day after the closing session of the 9th session of Congress (March 4, 1807), Abraham Baldwin died in Washington D.C., and was buried in Rock Creek Cemetery.

From the description of Abraham Baldwin papers, circa 1770-1808. (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 690906140

American politician, educator and Revolutionary patriot, U.S. Congressman from Georgia, 1789-1799; U.S. Senator from Georgia, 1799-1807.

From the guide to the Abraham Baldwin letters, 1788, 1792, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)


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  • Legislation
  • Maritime law
  • Yazoo Fraud, 1795
  • Debts, Public
  • Tariff
  • Pendulum
  • Taxation
  • State universities and colleges--Law and legislation
  • Revolutionary literature, American
  • Literature--History and criticism
  • Accounts
  • Budget
  • Natural law
  • Creek Indians--History--Sources


  • Representatives, U.S. Congress--Georgia
  • Clergy
  • Lawyers
  • Senators, U.S. Congress--Georgia
  • Educators
  • Delegates, U.S. Continental Congress--Georgia


  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • Saint Louis (Mo.) (as recorded)
  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)