John Taylor of Caroline

John Taylor of Caroline.jpg
United States Senate
John Taylor (December 19, 1753 – August 21, 1824), usually called John Taylor of Caroline, was a politician and writer. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates (1779–81, 1783–85, 1796–1800) and in the United States Senate (1792–94, 1803, 1822–24). He wrote several books on politics and agriculture. He was a Jeffersonian Republican and his works provided inspiration to the later states' rights and libertarian movements. Sheldon and Hill (2008) locate Taylor at the intersection of republicanism and classical liberalism. They see his position as a "combination of a concern with Lockean natural rights, freedom, and limited government along with a classical interest in strong citizen participation in rule to prevent concentrated power and wealth, political corruption, and financial manipulation" (p. 224).

"Wealth, like suffrage, must be considerably distributed, to sustain a democratic republic; and hence, whatever draws a considerable proportion of either into a few hands, will destroy it. As power follows wealth, the majority must have wealth or lose power."

According to some sources, John Taylor was born in Orange County, Virginia, in 1753, though others state that this is in error and that he was in fact born in Caroline County in 1754. He was the son of James Taylor and Ann Pollard. She was a sister of Sarah Pollard, wife of Edmund Pendleton, a Founding Father of the State of Virginia who served as president of the Fifth Virginia Convention held between May and July 1776, that declared in favor of independence. Taylor was of the same line as General Zachary Taylor, who became the President of the United States. He graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1770, studied law, and began to practice in Caroline County in 1774. At the onset of the Revolutionary War he joined the Continental army, becoming a colonel of cavalry.

Taylor served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1779 to 1787, being one of the leading members. About this time he gave up the practice of law and devoted his ample time to politics and agriculture. In 1792 he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Richard Henry Lee in the United States Senate, and was elected to the term that began March 4, 1793, but resigned, May 11, 1794. He served as a presidential elector in 1797. Taylor was a close friend of Thomas Jefferson, and, as member of the house of delegates, was one of the men who offered the Virginia Resolves to that body.

Taylor served in the U.S. Senate on two additional occasions. He appointed to the Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Stevens Thomson Mason, and served from June 4, 1803, until December 7, 1803, when he resigned. In 1822, he was appointed to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of James Pleasants, and was elected later to serve the regular term for six years beginning December 18, 1822, but died at his estate in Caroline county, August 20, 1824.

Taylor was a prolific political writer, and was the author of "An Inquiry into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States," 1814; "Construction Construed and the Constitution Vindicated." 1820; "Tyranny Unmasked. 1822; "New Views of the Constitution of the United States." 1823. He was also a scientific agriculturist, and in 1811 was first president of the Virginia Agricultural Societies, His little books. "Arator," being a series of agricultural essays, practical and political. 1818, was one of the first American books on agriculture. Taylor County, West Virginia. was named in his honor.

This page was last edited on 20 January 2018, at 22:06.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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