Signature on the Declaration of Independence
Robert Morris, Jr.
(January 20, 1734 – May 8, 1806) was an American merchant, and signer
of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and
the United States Constitution. He was elected to the
Pennsylvania Assembly, became the Chairman of the Pennsylvania
Committee of Safety, and was chosen as a delegate to the Second
Continental Congress, where he served as chairman of the "Secret
Committee of Trade" and as a member of the Committee of
From 1781 to 1784, he served as the powerful Superintendent of
Finance, managing the economy of the fledgling United States. As the
central civilian in the government, Morris was, next to General George
Washington, "the most powerful man in America." His successful
administration led to the sobriquet, "Financier of the Revolution." At
the same time he was Agent of Marine, a position he took without pay,
and from which he controlled the Continental Navy.
He was one of Pennsylvania's original pair of US senators, serving
from 1789 to 1795. Unwise speculation led to his bankruptcy in 1798;
he spent several years in debtors prison.