Thomas Mifflin Accepts The Resignation of General Washington

Thomas Mifflin Accepts The Resignation of General Washington

Does the name Thomas Mifflin sound strangely familiar to you?  Perhaps you were a fan of 'The Office' on NBC.  That's write, Dunder-Mifflin (the name of the company that TV show is based around) was named in part after Mifflin.  Why?  Because he is one of the major Founding Fathers from Pennsylvania, and that show was really clever with it's local references.

As for Mifflin himself, well, he was involved with the American Revolution from the very beginning, being appointed as an aide de camp for General Washington.

Mifflin also stuck around through the end, becoming a member of the Constitutional Convention and winning an election to be the first Governor of Pennsylvania.

Important From The Begining

Thomas Mifflin was an original member of the Continental Congress.  He represented Pennsylvania and signed the Continental Association which began the united boycott on British goods.

After the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and George Washington being named Commander-in-Chief, Mifflin was one of the first men asked to serve as an aide-de-camp.  In this position, he assisted in the planning of the early stages of the war.

Quartermaster General

The following summer, Washington appointed Mifflin as the first Quartermaster General in American history.  

As Quartermaster, Mifflin was in charge of supplying the Continental Army.  Additionally, he oversaw paving roads for troop movements and the carrying of camp necessities.

Eventually, due to his service in the New Jersey Campaign, Thomas Mifflin was promoted to Major General.

Resignation of Thomas Mifflin

Unfortunately, due to internal politics, Mifflin was accused of selling some of the Continental Army’s supplies for his own gain.  He always maintained his innocence and asked for a court-martial to absolve himself of the accusation.  

This type of thing was not uncommon (see Benedict Arnold) and the Continental Congress did not give him the opportunity to defend himself in public.  Mifflin resigned as Quartermaster but agreed to resume the position a few months later due to the insistence of some of his friends in Congress.

Mifflin would again resign his command as Major General late in the Revolutionary War to serve in the Continental Congress.

The Resignation of George Washington

In November of 1783, Thomas Mifflin was named President of the Continental Congress.  

This position was substantially different from the Presidency as we know it today.  A mostly ceremonial job, the only responsibilities were to oversee debates in Congress and represent the nation at official functions.

The most notable of these functions occurred on December 23, 1783.

The war having been won, General George Washington arrived in Congress.  He stood in front of Mifflin, his former aide-de-camp and Quartermaster General, and asked to be relieved of his duties as Commander-in-Chief.

Thomas Mifflin accepted the resignation of George Washington.

The Treaty of Paris

Just three weeks later Mifflin was having trouble calling together a quorum of delegates.

The Treaty of Paris had arrived.  All the Americans needed to do was approve it and send it back to Europe and they were an independent nation.

Unsurprisingly, getting the appropriate people to show up was extremely difficult.  Finally, Richard Beresford showed up and the treaty was passed. 

Mifflin would remember the indifferent attitude the delegates had toward their duties in the Confederated Government.

Constitutional Convention

When the Treaty of Paris reached France, and the United States was recognized as a nation, Thomas Mifflin was still sitting as President of the Confederation.  He would not have known this, as word traveled across the ocean slowly and he would leave the position just two weeks later, but Mifflin was President of the Confederation Congress when the United States officially became the United States.

Mifflin soon returned to the Pennsylvania Assembly, serving as it’s Speaker.

Three years later, Thomas represented his home State in the Constitutional Convention.

Because of his troubles supplying the army and, later, calling delegates together, Mifflin became part of the Pennsylvania/Virginia coalition which led the fight for a stronger national government. 

He supported and signed the United States Constitution.

Governor

After leaving the Constitutional Convention, Thomas Mifflin was chosen to replace Benjamin Franklin as President of Pennsylvania.  

When his State decided to write a new Constitution for itself, Mifflin oversaw the process.  He was then elected as the first Governor of Pennsylvania.  He held this position for all of the 1790’s, resigning just a month before his death.

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Believe it or not, Thomas Mifflin does not have a biography available for me to recommend.  Despite being a Major General AND signing the United States Constitution, he seems to have been overlooked by historians.  For now I will recommend 'Plain, Honest Men' which you can get through our affiliate Amazon below and read my review of here.  This was my Book of the Month last month and I highly recommend it.

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