Who was Edmund Pendleton?

Edmund Pendleton was an 18th century American statesman and lawyer who played a significant role in the early history of the United States, particularly during the American Revolutionary period. From Virginia, he was a key man in the achievement of independence from British rule.

A lawyer, Pendleton was one of the most respected legal minds of his time. He served as a justice on the Virginia General Court. Subsequently he was, for 25 years, the president (chief justice) of the Virginia Supreme Court.

He was a delegate to several Virginia Conventions, including the Virginia Convention of 1775, which played a crucial role in the early stages of the American Revolution and helped prepare him for his influential role as Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, from 1774 to 1776.

Who was Edmund Pendleton? He is perhaps best exemplified by what he said during this time to his fellow Virginia trustees which is perhaps even more important to sustaining of U.S. quality of life and governance today:

“Let us calmly reason with each other, as friends, having all the same end in view, the real happiness of our constituents, avoiding all heats, intemperance, or personal altercations, which always impede, but never assist fair investigation. Let us probe the plan to the bottom, but let us do it with candor, temper and mutual forbearance”.

The way back to greater civility and better governance in modern times is for private citizens to adopt this way of being with each other. The press will then follow, and ultimately, our legislators will follow. This will produce a superior existence for us due to higher quality interactions with each other as well as superior legislation that has fair compromise as its focus rather than the absolute “win/lose” approach taken by the savage gladiators of humanity’s distant past.

  • Jeff Linroth


  1. Dale S says:

    Jeff I like it. Many of the founders are not as well known as their contributions were important to the birth of the U.S.

    • Jeff Linroth says:

      Thank you for your comment. Though I am not a learned historian I do know that many many men and women play very important roles in the forming of the U.S. It’s remarkable how their wisdom is often applicable to how we might keep the republic they worked so hard to create.

  2. MK says:

    Arguably Pendleton’s most important role was leading the Virginia ratifying convention. Madison and G. Washington were strong supporters of the new government but Patrick Henry was vehemently opposed. And as an orator Henry had no peer. But Washington and Madison had been at the constitutional convention and heard all the debates. So the contest had emminently qualified men on both sides. One way or the other, everybody knew it was going to be close. Virginia was key because it was the largest colony. But even more important was that New York was waiting to see what Virginia was going to do. Interesting post Jeff. Thanks.

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