Fisher Ames Persuades Congress to Sign the Jay Treaty

Fisher Ames Persuades Congress to Sign the Jay Treaty

Fisher Ames was an important member of Congress throughout the Washington Administration.

Known for his oratory, Ames had a relative short career considering the impact he had on the government.

Most notably, Ames was able to convince the House of Representatives to accept the much hated Jay Treaty.


Fisher Ames

Fisher Ames spent the Revolutionary War with his nose in a book.

A child prodigy, Ames enter Harvard College at just 12 years old and graduated by 16. While most educated men completed higher learning at an earlier age than we are used to today, this is still an extraordinary feat.

After Harvard, Ames became a schoolteacher while studying law in his free time.


Gaining Fame

In 1781, right as the war was ending, Fisher Ames passed the bar and opened a law practice.

He slowly continued his career and within seven years emerged from obscurity. Fisher was elected to the Massachusetts Assembly.

Ames quickly became known for his skill as a speaker and would earn a reputation as one of the best orators of the early Republic.


The First Congress

The following year, Ames took the opportunity to run for Congressman.

His opponent was none other than patriot rebel #1...Samuel Adams.

Fortunately for Ames, Adams had done himself known favors by associating with the Anti-Federalists in a heavily Federalist Massachusetts (though Samuel actually supported the Constitution but wanted a Bill of Rights).

Because he was the Federalist candidate, Fisher Ames won the election and became an inaugural member of the United States House of Representatives.


The Washington Years

Ames’ eight years in the House coincided exactly with President Washington’s administration.

An ardent Federalist, Fisher gave an important speech in favor of Jay’s Treaty which helped persuade the government to approve that controversial document.

Furthermore, Ames became a member of the Essex Junto. This group of Massachusetts men became the most powerful section of the Federalist Party. Notably, they were extremely influential in having Alexander Hamilton’s wishes carried out during the presidency of John Adams.

A Short Career

Unfortunately, Fisher Ames’ eight years in the national capital were the only ones in which he served the United States.

Always in poor health, he continued in his private law practice despite keeping tabs on what was happening with President Thomas Jefferson...a politician he despised.

Ames’ was chosen to be the President of his alma mater, Harvard University but declined. Three years later he passed away at 50 years old.

The great orator would speak no more.


Here are some other original members of Congress:

John Brown Nominates a State

John Vining - Delaware’s Lonely Representative

Aedanus Burke Denounces American Nobility

Fisher Ames was a low key but major Founder.

‘Federalist and Statesman’ is, in my opinion, the definitive biography of this man.

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