Robert R. Livingston

Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, c. 1794

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QUICK FACTS
BORN:
27 November 1746 in New York, New York
  DIED:
26 February 1813 in Clermont, New York
Buried at St. Paul Episcopal Church in Tivoli, New York.

Robert R. Livingston was a delegate to the Continental and Confederation congresses and was on the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence. He was the first confederation secretary for foreign affairs until 1784 and he served as New York's chancellor, the chief equity judge. He was a member of the New York Ratifying Convention, and his notes of the debates are valuable in understanding the last, crucial days of the convention. As the highest ranking judicial officer in New York, he administered the oath of office to George Washington as president on April 30, 1789.

 

Washington’s ultimate success as the American commander in chief, however, never stemmed from his military abilities. He was never a traditional military hero. He had no smashing, stunning victories, and his tactical and strategic maneuvers were never the sort that awed men. Instead, it was his character and political talent and judgement that mattered most. His stoicism, dignity, and perseverance in the face of seemingly impossible odds came to symbolize the entire Revolutionary cause.

Gordon S. Wood
The American Revolution: A History (2002)