Wythe, George

born 1726, Elizabeth City county, Va.
died June 8, 1806, Richmond, Va., U.S.

U.S. jurist and statesman.

Admitted to the bar in 1746, he was a member (1754–55, 1758–68) and clerk (1769–75) of the Virginia House of Burgesses. He practiced law in Williamsburg, Va., where he taught Thomas Jefferson. At the College of William and Mary (1779–89) he became the first professor of law in the U.S.; among his pupils was John Marshall. A delegate to the Continental Congress, he signed the Declaration of Independence. In 1776 he was appointed, with Jefferson and two others, to revise the laws of Virginia. As a chancery judge (1778–1806), he asserted, in Commonwealth v. Caton (1782), the power of courts to refuse to enforce unconstitutional laws. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention (1787) and of the Virginia convention (1788) that ratified the Constitution of the United States.

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▪ American jurist
born 1726, Elizabeth City County, Va.
died June 8, 1806, Richmond, Va., U.S.

      jurist, one of the first U.S. judges to state the principle that a court can invalidate a law considered to be unconstitutional. He also was probably the first great American law teacher, whose pupils included such well-known figures as Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and Henry Clay.

      Admitted to the bar in 1746, Wythe was a member (1754–55, 1758–68) and clerk (1769–75) of the Virginia House of Burgesses. In 1764 he drew up a forceful remonstrance from Virginia to the British House of Commons against the Stamp Act. In 1776 Wythe, as a delegate to the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence. Also in that year he was appointed, with Jefferson, Edmund Pendleton, and George Mason, to revise the laws of Virginia. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention (1787) and of the Virginia convention (1788) that ratified the federal Constitution.

      A chancery judge from 1778, Wythe became sole chancellor of Virginia in 1788. As an ex officio member of the state supreme court, Wythe, in the case of Commonwealth v. Caton (1782), asserted the power of courts to refuse to enforce unconstitutional laws.

      The future President Jefferson (Jefferson, Thomas) studied law in Wythe's office, at Williamsburg, Va., in the 1760s. Appointed through Jefferson's influence, Wythe held (1779–89), at the College of William and Mary, the first U.S. professorship of law. One of his students there in 1780 was John Marshall, later chief justice of the United States. Wythe's appointment as chancellor of Virginia required him to resign from the college and move to Richmond, where he opened a private school of law. Among his pupils in Richmond, and clerk of his court, was the future U.S. senator Henry Clay.

      Wythe died of poisoning. A grandnephew and heir, George Wythe Sweeney, was acquitted of the murder in a trial in which the only witness was, as an African American, disqualified from testifying.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Wythe, George — (1726, condado de Elizabeth City, Va., EE.UU.–8 jun. 1806, Richmond, Va.). Jurista y estadista estadounidense. Admitido en el colegio de abogados en 1746, fue miembro (1754–55, 1758–68) y empleado (1769–75) de la Cámara de los Burgeses de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • George Wythe — (* 1726 in Elizabeth City County, heute: Hampton, Virginia; † 8. Juni 1806 in Richmond, Virginia) war einer der Gründerväter der Vereinigten Staaten und gilt als „Vater der amerikanischen Rechtswissenschaft“. Der Jurist und Plantagenbesitzer war… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • George Wythe — (1726 ndash; June 8, 1806), was a lawyer, a judge, a prominent law professor and Virginia s foremost classical scholar. [Online site for [http://www.history.org/almanack/people/bios/biowythe.cfm Colonial Willimsburg] ] Wythe s signature is… …   Wikipedia

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  • Wythe — (spr. Uweißh), Grafschaft im Staate Virginia (Nordamerika), ungefähr 28 QM., von Kanawha od. New River u. den Reed, Cripple u. Walker s Creeks durchflossen, ein Plateau zwischen dem Iron Mountain (im Süden) u. dem Walker s Mountain (im… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • George Baylor — (January 12, 1752, Newmarket, Virginia March 1784, Bridgetown, Barbados) was a soldier in the Continental Army, serving throughout the American Revolution.Military careerBaylor was first aide de camp to George Washington, and brought the news of… …   Wikipedia

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