John was particularly influential to the political ideologies of Madison, who would become the main architect of the Constitution and a future President. John Witherspoon was a Pastor, President of Princeton and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Witherspoon St., Princeton, N.J. Witherspoon’s first ministry was in Beith, Ayrshire (1745-58). Stoddart, a neoclassicist and Her Majesty’s Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland, depicts the Princeton president in a realistic style, using everyday objects to convey Witherspoon’s character and contributions. An advocate of natural law within a Christian and republican cosmology, Witherspoon considered moral philosophy vital for ministers, lawyers, and those holding positions in government (magistrates). Witherspoon Street, in: Princeton, New Jersey; Pomfret, John E.. '"Witherspoon, John" in. [1] Witherspoon embraced the concepts of Scottish common sense realism, and while president of the College of New Jersey (1768–1794; now Princeton University), became an influential figure in the development of the United States' national character. For all of his discussion about the injustice of holding men in bondage against their will, Witherspoon ultimately concluded that emancipating them was not necessary, stating: Witherspoon’s conclusion that emancipation of slaves was not a “necessity” conveniently absolved him and other slaveholders of their moral dilemma. [4] Witherspoon granted him a certificate verifying his “good Christian conduct” and then baptized him under the name James Montgomery in April 1756. He later testified to his belief that “by being baptized he would become free,” sparking debate within Scottish legal and religious communities regarding the morality of slavery.[8]. Witherspoon is claimed to be an ancestor of actress Reese Witherspoon. In 1790, Witherspoon oversaw a committee to abolish slavery in the state of New Jersey, although the committee eventually decided that slavery as an institution would not be in existence for long and therefore they did not vote to immediately abolish slavery. "No business can be done, some say, because money is scarce", he wrote. He would remain a representative of New Jersey for the entire duration of the war. John Knox Witherspoon (1723-1794) served as Princeton’s sixth president from 1768 to 1794. And it demands semesterly conversations during which top administrators … Get Patch breaking news alerts sent right to your phone with our new app. Inspired by revolutionary ideals of liberty and equality, some white Americans in northern states willingly sought to extend freedom to enslaved people. Long wary of the power of the British Crown, Witherspoon saw the growing centralization of government, progressive ideology of colonial authorities, and establishment of Episcopacy authority as a threat to the Liberties of the colonies. Witherspoon was a staunch Protestant, nationalist, and supporter of republicanism. As the college's primary occupation at the time was training ministers, Witherspoon became a major leader of the early Presbyterian Church in America. Additionally, he served on the committee which drafted the Articles of Confederation. [27], John Witherspoon is not known for being a particularly insightful, significant, or even consistent Reformed preacher and thinker. Witherspoon served in Congress from June 1777 until November 1784 and became one of its most influential members and a workhorse of prodigious energy.