David Brearly was born in 1745 at Spring Grove. He attended but did not graduate from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton). He chose law as a career and originally practiced at Allentown, New Jersey. In 1767 he married Elizabeth Mullen.
In 1779 Brearly was elected as chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, a position he held until 1789. He was 42 years of age when he participated in the Constitutional Convention. Although he did not rank among the leaders, he attended the sessions regularly. Brearly opposed proportional representation of the states and favored one vote for each of them in Congress. He also chaired the Committee on Postponed Matters.
Brearlys subsequent career was short. He presided at the New Jersey convention that ratified the Constitution in 1788, and served as a presidential elector in 1789. That same year, President Washington appointed him as a federal district judge, and he served in that capacity until his death.
Jonathon Dayton was born at Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in 1760. He obtained a good education, graduating from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) in 1776. He immediately entered the Continental Army. Achieving the rank of captain by the age of 19.
During the 1780s Dayton divided his time between land speculation, legal practice, and politics. He sat in the assembly in 1786-87 and was chosen as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Dayton spoke with moderate frequency during the debates and, though objecting to some provisions of the Constitution, signed it.
After sitting in the Continental Congress in 1788, Dayton became a foremost Federalist legislator in the new government. He became a member of the New Jersey council and speaker of the state assembly. In 1791, however, he entered the U.S. House of Representatives becoming Speaker in the Fourth and Fifth Congresses.
William Houston was born in 1746. He attended the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) and graduated in 1768 and became master of the college grammar school. In 1771 he was appointed professor of mathematics and natural philosophy.
From 1775 to 1776 Houston was deputy secretary of the Continental Congress. In 1779 he was once again elected to the Continental Congress, where he worked mainly in the areas of supply and finance. Houston resigned from the college in 1783 and concentrated on his Trenton law practice. He represented New Jersey in Congress once again in 1784 and 1785. Houston represented New Jersey at both the Annapolis and Philadelphia conventions. Houston did not sign the Constitution, but he signed the report to the New Jersey legislature.
William Livingston was born in 1723 at Albany, NY. He attended Yale and graduated in 1741. Before he completed his legal studies, in 1745 he married Susanna French, daughter of a well-to-do New Jersey landowner. She was to bear 13 children.
In 1787 Livingston was selected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, though his gubernatorial duties prevented him from attending every session. He did not arrive until June 5 and missed several weeks in July, but he performed vital committee work, particularly as chairman of the one that reached a compromise on the issue of slavery. He also supported the New Jersey Plan. In addition, he spurred New Jerseys rapid ratification of the Constitution.
William Paterson was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1745. When he was almost 2 years of age, his family immigrated to America. His prosperity enabled William to attend local private schools and the College of New Jersey (later Princeton). Meantime, Paterson had studied law in the city of Princeton under Richard Stockton, who later was to sign the Declaration of Independence.
When the War for Independence broke out, Paterson joined the vanguard of the New Jersey patriots. He served in the provincial congress the constitutional convention, legislative council, and council of safety. During the last year, he also held a militia commission. Paterson was chosen to represent New Jersey at the Constitutional Convention. After supporting its ratification in New Jersey, he began a career in the new government.
In 1789 Paterson was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he played a pivotal role in drafting the Judiciary Act of 1789. His next position was governor of his state. During the years 1793-1806, Paterson served as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The issues that were important to my state were
??? The current Congress was maintained, but granted new powers – for example, the Congress could set taxes and force their collection
??? An executive, elected by Congress, was created – the Plan allowed for a multi-person executive
??? The executives served a single term and were subject to recall based on the request of state governors
??? A judiciary appointed by the executives, with life-terms of service
Laws set by the Congress took precedence over state law
The New Jersey Plan was more along the lines of what the delegates had been sent to do – draft amendments to the Confederation to ensure that it functioned properly. It expanded national power without totally scrapping the old system. More over, it protected the small states from the large ones by ensuring one state, one vote. Paterson reported the plan to the Convention on June 15, 1787. It was ultimately rejected, but gave the small states a rallying point from which to defend their firm beliefs.