Gorham, Nathaniel

Nathaniel Gorham

b. 16/27 May 1738, Charlestown, Massachusetts
d. 11 Jun 1796, Charlestown, Massachusetts

Title: Chairman of Congress
Term: 15 May 1786 - 5 Jun 1786
Chronology: 15 May 1786, elected to the office of the Chairman of Congress, session of Congress, City Hall, New York City [1]
5 Jun 1786, expiration of term in accordance with the resolution of 15 May 1786 [1]
Title: President of Congress
Term: 6 Jun 1786 - 5 Nov 1786
Chronology: 6 Jun 1786, elected to the office of the President of Congress, session of Congress, City Hall, New York City [2]
5 Nov 1786, term of delegate (and subsequently as the President of Congress) is deemed to have expired upon convening of a new Congress [3]
Biography:
Attended public schools; engaged in mercantile pursuits; began his political career as a public notary; member of the House of Representatives of the Colony of Massachusetts (1771-1775); delegate to the Provincial Congress (1774-1775); served as a member of the Board of War of Massachusetts (1778-1781); delegate to the State constitutional convention (1779-1780); was elected to the Senate (1780-1781) and to the House of Representatives (1781-1787) of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; served as Speaker of the House of Representatives (1781, 1782, 1785); judge of the Middlesex County court of common pleas (1 Jul 1785 - 31 May 1796); a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress (1782-1783, 1786-1787, 1789); was elected Chairman of Congress (15 May 1786) "to serve until the first Monday in June next" (5 Jun 1786); acted for the incapacitated President of Congress John Hancock, whose formal resignation was followed by the election of Gorham as President (6 Jun 1786); during his presidency, Congress adopted a monetary system based on the Spanish dollar and established the U.S. Mint; faced Shays's Rebellion (1786-1787), an uprising in western Massachusetts in opposition to high taxes and stringent economic conditions; unsuccessfully contested the election of Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1787 and 1794; elected a delegate to the Federal Convention at Philadelphia in 1787; delegate to the State constitutional convention which ratified the Federal Constitution in 1788; sat on the Governor's Council (1788-1789); interested in the purchase and settlement of lands in the Genesee Valley, New York.
Biographical sources: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (2005), p. 1139.

[1] Journals of the Continental Congress, 30:264.
[2] Journals of the Continental Congress, 30:330.
[3] Journals of the Continental Congress, 31:928.
  Image: portrait by Charles Willson Peale.
Last updated on: 03 Apr 2010 01:02:26