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William Paterson
Attorney General

  William Paterson was born in Ireland on December 24, 1745. He attended local schools and the College of New Jersey, which later became Princeton University, where he graduated in 1763. He then studied law under Richard Stockton. He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar Association in 1769 and moved to New Bromley, New Jersey where he established his practice.  
  In 1775, he was chosen to represent Somerset County in the first Provincial Congress, where he accepted the position of assistant secretary. Shortly after, he was named Secretary of the New Jersey Congress and played an important role in drafting the New Jersey Constitution. During the Revolution he was a member of the Legislative Council from 1776-1777 and the Council of Safety from 1777-1778. In 1776, he assumed the post of New Jersey Attorney General, where he prosecuted the Loyalists and maintained law and order during a time of political chaos. He served as Attorney General until 1783, then moved to New Brunswick, where he resumed his law practice.
  In 1787, he was chosen to lead New Jersey’s delegation to the Constitutional Convention, where he played an important role by proposing the New Jersey Plan. The state elected Paterson to a seat in the U.S. Senate, where he played a pivotal role in drafting the Judiciary Act of 1789. He resigned from the Senate in 1790 to serve as Governor of New Jersey. In March of 1793, he resigned the governorship to become an associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served for the last 13 years of his life.  
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