Paine Wingate Resists The Judiciary Act

Paine Wingate Resists The Judiciary Act

Paine Wingate was an inaugural member of the United States Senate.

Wingate helped create the Judiciary Act of 1789, which he then voted against.

Paine Wingate

As the United States was declaring independence, Paine Wingate was making some significant changes in his personal life.

Wingate had decided to retire as a pastor and instead take up the simple life of farming. He was still held in high esteem by his community and received election to the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

After strongly supporting ratification of the US Constitution, Paine was sent to the Confederation Congress to participate in its final year of operation. Here he assisted in the dissolution of the government under the Articles of Confederation.


When the United States in Congress Assembled assembled, Paine Wingate was one of the inaugural members of the Senate.

Wingate’s most notable influence in the Senate was his sitting on the committee which drafted the Judiciary Act of 1789. This act established the policies of the Judicial Branch of the United State (which was left up to Congress in the Constitution).

Although the Judiciary Act seemed overbearing to many former Anti-Federalists, Paine had the opposite feeling. He thought the Federal Courts should have significantly more power over the States.

Paine Wingate voted against the Act proposed by the committee he sat on!

Wingate was also on the losing side when it came to secrecy in the Senate. He believed that keeping proceedings behind closed doors would maintain that body’s respectability in the eyes of the public, but the secrecy rules were soon abandoned.


After his term in the Senate was complete, Paine was elected to the House of Representatives.

Wingate served two years in the House before returning to New Hampshire, where he was chosen to serve on the State Supreme Court. He continued here until retirement.

When Paine Wingate passed away in 1838, he was the last surviving member of the First Session of the United States Senate.

If you’d like to learn about other members of the First United States Senate, check out these articles on Pierce Butler and Benjamin Hawkins.

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