William Paterson (judge)

William Paterson ( born December 24, 1745 in County Antrim, Ireland, † September 9, 1806 in Albany, New York) was an American statesman, a signer of the Constitution, and Judge of the Supreme Court


Born in Ireland, William Paterson came to the U.S. at the age of two years. At 14, he enrolled at Princeton University. After graduating, he studied law at the prominent lawyer Richard Stockton and was admitted to the legal profession in 1768.

Paterson was an outspoken supporter of American independence. At the Provincial Congress of New Jersey (1775-1776) and on the Constituent Assembly of New Jersey ( 1776) he was a delegate for the Somerset County.

After independence, Paterson was appointed the first Attorney General of New Jersey. In this position, he kept law and order and gave himself the reputation as the best lawyer of the state. In 1787 he was sent to the Philadelphia Convention, on the one drafted the Constitution of the United States. Paterson brought there a so-called New Jersey plan. After working out a compromise proposal, he was one of the signers of the Constitution.

William Paterson was one of the first senators of the United States (1789-1790) and was then governor of New Jersey (1790-1793). In this role, he was responsible for the cleanup and codification of the legal system of New Jersey.

At the suggestion of George Washington, he was born on March 11, 1793 a judge (Associate Justice) appointed at the United States Supreme Court. This office he held until his death on 9 September 1806.

According to William Paterson the city Paterson and the William Paterson University are named in Wayne.