John Page Explains His Change Of Heart
John Page often lives in the shadow of his close friend.
However, Page made many notable contributions to the American Revolution in his own right.
Page, among other things, was an original member of the US House of Representatives as well as a Governor of Virginia.
When the 1763 graduating class from the College of William and Mary let out, John Page left with a full education. He also left with a handful of lifelong friends. One of these friends was Thomas Jefferson.
Over the next decade, the two men would correspond frequently, although Jefferson would regularly complain about not hearing from Page. Page, who always addressed the letters to ‘My Dear Jefferson,’ began almost every letter in the 1770’s by defending himself from Thomas’ disappointment.
Sharing similar circumstances, these two friends found common cause in resistance to the British Government and together joined the American Revolution.
After the Declaration of Independence was published (which Page told Jefferson he was ‘highly pleased with’), John’s star quickly rose.
Page served as a member of the convention which drafted Virginia’s new State constitution. He was then elected as Lieutenant Governor, serving under Patrick Henry. In this position, he constantly stressed about how there was never enough time to get all his tasks accomplished.
After three years, John returned to the Virginia House of Delegates, where he spent most of the 1780’s.
A Change of Heart
Page was sent as a delegate to the Virginia Ratification Convention in 1788.
In a letter to Jefferson, who was representing the Unites States as a Minister to France, Page reveals a change of heart.
In the letter he acknowledges that, like his friend Thomas, John was not happy with the Constitution. However, after a discussion with Edmund Randolph, George Mason, and ‘Col. Lee’ (who I believed to be Henry Lee but may be one of his brothers or cousins), Page had decided to vote in favor of the new government.
At the time, many people wanted amendments to be made to the Constitution before the document was approved by the States. However, as Page puts it,” I wished it might be adopted without losing Time in fruitless Attempts to make Amendments which might be made with more probability of Success in the Manner pointed out by the Constitution itself.”
In other words, to approving the Constitution, vote in representatives, and then make changes to the government would be quicker than trying to rewrite the document beforehand. This is an interesting argument not often heard from Anti-Federalists.
After the Constitution was ratified, John Page was elected as an original member of the United States House of Representatives. He would remain with that body for the next eight years.
After leaving Congress, Page was elected as the Governor of Virginia, a position he would hold for the maximum three years.
Finally, Page ‘retired’ into the position United States Commissioner of Loans for Virginia. This position was given to him by his old buddy Jefferson, who just so happened to be the sitting President of the United States.
If you enjoyed this article, check out another childhood friend of Jefferson’s: John Harvie.
You can read the letter from Page to Jefferson I discussed in this article for FREE here.
John Harvie does not have a biography for you to read but to learn more about the American Revolution in Virginia, check out ‘Forced Founders’ which looks at many people who underappreciated for their role in that war. Pick it up through the affiliate link below.