Senator Roger Sherman (1721-1793) who made his home in Western Connecticut ( in New Heaven and later on New Milford), was the only person to have signed all four basic documents responsible for American independence: the Continental Associations, The Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution. He was one of the committee of five (along with Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Philip Livingston) to actually draft the Declaration of Independence. He later represented the State of Connecticut in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. He rose to prominence trough diligence and hard work. As a young man he overcame years of penury and debt caused by the early death of both his parents by making shoes for a living, and later became a highly successful merchant and the largest landowner in Litchfield County.
Roger Sherman was renowned for his debating skills. Sherman intervened when the famous Calvinist minister Jonathan Edwards Jr. was about to be dismissed by his New Haven congregation. His arguments were so influential that the congregation was persuaded to remain him as their minister, at least until after Sherman’s death. Seeing Sherman in a crowd, Thomas Jefferson once pointed at him and shouted: “That is Mr. Sherman of Connecticut, a man who never said a foolish thing in his life!”
For more information on Roger Sherman, see:
- Christopher Collier, Roger Sherman’s Connecticut: Yankee Politics and the American Revolution (Middletown, CT Wesleyan University Press, 1971)
- Roger Sherman Boardman, Roger Sherman Signer and Statesman (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1938)
- John G. Rommel, Connecticut’s Yankee Patriot: Roger Sherman (Hartford: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee, 1980)
- James G. German, “The Social Utility of Wicked Self-Love,” Journal of American History 82:3 (Dec. 1995), 965-988.