James Wilson

Biography of James Wilson

The official portrait of Supreme Court Justice James Wilson
The official portrait of Supreme Court Justice James Wilson

James Wilson, one of the Founding Fathers of the USA and University of Glasgow Alumnus, was born in Carskerdo, Fife, in 1742.

Wilson attended various classes at the University of Glasgow between 1762 and 1765, among them Theology and Natural Philosophy. He would have been influenced by the pioneering Professors of that period, such as James Anderson, Professor of Natural Philosophy, William Leechman, Professor of Divinity, Adam Smith, Professor of Moral Philosophy, and John Millar, Professor of Law, the latter known for their endorsement of American Independence.

Despite not attaining a degree from a Scottish University, the knowledge he had gained was to have a marked bearing on his future successes in the then British America to where he migrated at the age of 24. He began tutoring in Philadelphia College (modern day University of Pennsylvania) and was awarded an honorary Master of Arts thereafter.

Wilson became a prominent lawyer, indeed the first professor of law at the College of Philadelphia in 1790; an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1789-98) and was among the first American legal philosophers. He is better known as one of the Founding Fathers of Independence, a early intellectual promoter of the cause of Independence and one of the framers of the US Constitution.


James Wilson
American Statesman

Born 14 September 1742.
Died 28 August 1798.
University Link: Alumnus, Student
GU Degree: Arts, 1762-65;
Occupation categories: Jurist; Legal Philosopher; Politician
Record last updated: 7th Jul 2017

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