Sherman, Roger

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Sherman, Roger

Roger Sherman was a colonial and U.S. politician and judge who played a critical role at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, devising a plan for legislative representation that was accepted by large and small states. His actions at the convention in Philadelphia came near the end of a distinguished life in public service.

Sherman was born on April 19, 1721, in Newton, Massachusetts. He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1754 and later served as a Justice of the Peace. In 1761 Sherman moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where he established a business as a merchant. From 1764 to 1785 he served in the Connecticut legislature and was a superior court judge from 1766 to 1788. During these years Sherman became recognized as a national political leader. Though conservative, he was an early supporter of American independence from Great Britain.

Sherman's belief in independence led him to serve as a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1784. He was instrumental in the creation of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and signed the declaration. He also helped draft the Articles of Confederation.

"[The executive branch] is nothing more than an institution for carrying the will of the Legislature into effect."
—Roger Sherman

After America won its independence, Sherman devoted himself to Connecticut politics, serving as the first mayor of New Haven from 1784 to 1793. He also helped revise Connecticut statutes, eliminating material related to the state's former colonial status.

In 1787 Sherman was a member of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. He recognized that the Articles of Confederation had not provided a stable and secure method of national government. The convention, however, was soon divided over the issue of legislative representation. The small states feared a federal Congress apportioned by population, in which a few large states would control most of the seats. Therefore, William Paterson of New Jersey proposed a plan that provided for equal representation in Congress. edmund randolph of Virginia, speaking for the interests of the large states, proposed a plan for a bicameral legislature, with representation in both houses based on population or wealth.

Neither side would yield on the issue of representation. Sherman, along with Oliver Ellsworth, proposed the Connecticut Compromise, or Great Compromise. This plan created a bicameral legislature, with proportional representation in the lower house and equal representation in the upper house. All revenue measures would originate in the lower house. The compromise was accepted, and the convention soon approved the Constitution.

Sherman served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1789 to 1791 and in the U.S. Senate from 1791 to 1793. He strongly supported the establishment of a national bank and the enactment of a tariff.

Sherman died on July 23, 1793, in New Haven, Connecticut.

Further readings

Collier, Christopher. 1971. Roger Sherman's Connecticut: Yankee Politics and the American Revolution. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan Univ. Press.

Boardman, Roger Sherman. 1938. Roger Sherman, Signer and Statesman. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1971


Congress of the United States; Constitution of the United States.

References in periodicals archive ?
In a related action, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) filed fraud charges on Friday against four men, two of which include Jules Bernard Fleder and Roger Sherman, that alleged the defendants deceived investors by promising to generate investment returns through the development of real estate in Texas, Virginia and South Carolina.
Roger Sherman Inn will donate ten percent of ticket sales to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
In December 1787 Roger Sherman observed that an "excellency of the constitution" was that "when the government of the united States acts within its proper bounds it will be the interest of the legislatures of the particular States to Support it, but when it leaps over those bounds and interferes with the rights of the State governments they will be powerful enough to check it.
When the Constitutional Convention was called in 1787, Connecticut had no one more experienced and capable to send than Roger Sherman.
Episcopal Church of the Resurrection - Roger Sherman, host of "The Organ Loft" on KWAX-FM and associate organist at St.
Detweiler pointed out that Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Roger Sherman and other Founding Fathers opposed the concept of term limits.
s new Nova division, under Jeff Brainard, director of sales, addresses such channels, and so far it's making inroads, said Roger Sherman, president.
Josiah Bartlett Dal Richards John Adams William Daniels Stephen Hopkins Roy Poole Roger Sherman David Vosburgh Lewis Morris Ronald Kross Rev.
Then, during the Fourth of July holiday, a compromise committee turns to a proposal made earlier by Roger Sherman of Connecticut.
Consumers need a system to help them choose a lamp; they're confused," said Roger Sherman, Tensor president, adding that Tensor is addressing the issue.
He is not a hypocrite," the dour Roger Sherman opined of Morris, "he never professed religious principles.
Confederacy, Confederation, Connecticut Compromise, Constitution, Cooperation, James Madison, Gouverneur Morris, Pennsylvania, Randolph Doctrine, Rhode Island, Roger Sherman, Virginia, Virginia Plan