College Graduates and Public Office, 1775 – 1865

Note on the Role of College Graduates in the American Revolution
& the Early American Republic

Members of the Stamp Act Congress  [N = 28]
Pamphleteers of the 1760s and early 1770s
Signers of the Declaration of Independence
[N = 56; 26 college graduates; 7 from Europe; 19 from colonial colleges]

College D/Signers
Harvard 8
Wm & Mary 3
Princeton 3
Penn 3
Yale 2
King’s 0
Europe 7
   
All 26 [46%]

Members of the Continental Congress [N = 423]

Members of the Constitutional Convention, 1787 [55]
N = 55; 33 went to college

College Const’n Delegates
Harvard 3
Wm & Mary 3
Princeton 10
Penn 2
Yale 4
King’s 2
Europe 9
   
All 33 [60%]

Members of the Cabinets of George Washington and John Adams, 1789 – 1800
Washington – N = 15; 13 collegians

Members of the Federal Civil Service
Adams Administration —   [N = 96]
43% graduated from college; another 19% attended [62%]

Jefferson Administration [N = 100]
34% graduated from college; 18% attended [52%]

Jackson Administration [N = 127]
35% graduated from college; 17% attended [52%]

Five of first six presidents were College graduates

President

Term

College

George Washington 1789-1797 None
John Adams 1787-1801 Harvard
Thomas Jefferson 1801-1809 William & Mary
James Madison 1809-1817 Princeton
James Monroe 1817-1825 William & Mary
John Quincy Adams 1825-1829 Harvard
     

 

But only 3 of the next 11 were college graduates

President

Term

College

 
Andrew Jackson 1829-1837 None  
Martin Van Buren 1837-1841 None  
Wm. Henry Harrison 1841 Attended Hamden-Sydney and Penn  
John Tyler 1841-1845 William & Mary  
James Polk 1845-1849 Attended U. North Carolina  
Zachary Taylor 1850 None  
Millard Fillmore 1850-1852 None  
Franklin Pierce 1852-1857 Bowdoin College  
James Buchanan 1857 – 1861 Dickinson College  
Abraham Lincoln 1861-1865 None  
Andrew Johnson 1865 – 1869 None  

 

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