Talk:James Wilson

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Anyone find this a bit too POV?[edit]

It doesn't appear to be from a late 19th Cen. EB, but it sure reads like one. How do we all feel about trimming it back a bit? I'm sure he's fascinating, but I think the prose might be a bit too elevated (and I still suspect either an uncredited pd source or else a copyvio, though I can't prove it). Jwrosenzweig 23:38, 21 July 2005 (UTC)


Edit by Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown

Well for one, James Wilson was a key founding father; most people just don't have a clue who he is. Secondly, had it not been for, it was either Franklin Roosevelt or Theodore, anyhow, they were so enthralled with the legacy that was James Wilson he was moved from his simple burial ground, and given the horror he deserved with his fellow framers. I myself am a seventh generation descendent of Wilson. I don't deny he had an incredible ambition about him. His infamy is another thing I cannot deny. He on many occasions would have to flee his home, first from the British, and then from the Americans themselves, after his plan to move people west fell through, and thus defaulting on all his loans. I believe he escaped to Virginia or Ohio, that part was a little sketchy, it's been a few years since I've read the law review or talked to my father who is the real family expert on Wilson. In any case, he was one of the most important founding father, most if you are considering the constitution, for as the law review explicitly states, (written by Roosevelt himself) that Wilson's ideas were key to the framing of the country in which we now live. Had it not been for Wilson, America would have looked dramatically different. Also, it's interesting to note, there are at least a few descendents floating around from his seven children. We are few in number, vast in infa my, and decisive in purpose. Most of the key information about Wilson that I know comes from said law review, Wilson never wrote much over the course of his own life, he instead focused on the legacy he would leave behind to a nation, and to his own children. Also, around the time most founding father’s were doing the majority of their writing Wilson was either evading the law be it the Red Coats or American Blues. Washington on several occasions was required to save his life from Red Coasts and bankers trying to exact their revenge. And no, it is not POV, it is merely honesty. If you have a problem with the truth then that's fine, be that way. America was founded on those ideals and will not be changed just because someone has a problem with that. It's called a democratic republic, ruled by the people not by dictators sir; therefore I feel shortening the truth is uncalled for. In addition, if you wish to shorten Wilson, then we must in turn shorten the entirety of the framers of our constitution. Finally, did you ever think that someone besides yourself could be a good writer? I don't know you, I'm just honestly replying to a random post, but I've read the limited material in existence about Wilson, there honestly is a vast lack of information about him, possibly due to Wilson or the family's efforts to conceal the embarrassment of his life. My father was the first person to actually hear the story of his entire family, curious family member A. tells curious family member B. all about it. But what I'm trying to point out is, is it not possibly the author spent a long time writing this, in addition, that said person might in fact be a college professor or a very well educated person? I may be a freshman in college, but I am not a dunce. If anything Wilson gave us sir, it happened to be brains. Something you perhaps are lacking in great degrees for complaining about length and openly accusing someone of a crime you have no valid proof exists on a public website. We live in a free society and country sir, and free speech is protected, however, the Supreme Court does not consider slander to be a lawful form of said speech. (Dragoon91786 09:19, 5 April 2006 (UTC))

-Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dragoon91786 (talkcontribs) 16:41, 19 March 2006


This is article has an incredible NPOV problem. It should be totally rewritten. It hurts to have an article like this in wikipedia.<<Coburn_Pharr>> 21:13, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

As I pointed out above this is not POV...this is truth, therefore your comments are invalid. You just have a problem with honesty. Try reading a book on Wilson and you might learn a thing or two. Might I suggest Wilson's own works or perhaps the law review I suggested, you can contact the Library of Congress, there are a few copies lying around. I was fortunatly able to get ahold on one of the last copies, WSU has one, however I'm not sure who else. Well, the Library of Congress does, but depenting on the state you live in, it might difficult to get your hands on. In any case, as I have noted before, before you call an artical verbose and unimportant, remember, this is perhaps the only public record of any complete nature availible to the public, without a vast supply of travel. So unless you can cite, and I repeat cite specific examples of inaccuracies, please refrain from commenting slander, or random faulsifications. Thank you. The intention of this website is in acordance with the pantheon of ideals that the halls of learning in any good civilization possess. Therefore, I highly suspect you truly have no real concept of what you are talking about. But this is a free country, so besides defending the page, there is nothing else I can possibly due. (Dragoon91786 09:19, 5 April 2006 (UTC))
Oh, just in case someone has some less than ideal comments they wish to make about my connection to Wilson, and the possibility of bias as a result, be assured, I do not deny being a six/seventh generation descendent of Wilson. However, I am fully willing to discuss in full detail to the best of my ability all of his less than illustrious deviations in life. Therefore, in so doing, I am not bias. I know the man was brash, egotistical, and in many cases, a complete wash when it came to common sense, he had big dreams and even bigger achievements. But the one thing you can say for Wilson was he knew his stuff. He may have been a fool at times, possibly a megalomaniac, but hey, I admit a bit of it runs in the family, but I do believe in all my heart, he had the best intentions for this nation, and albeit the road to hell is paved with good intentions, without them, we would not have this glorious nation we live in today. (Dragoon91786 10:28, 5 April 2006 (UTC))

Neutrality, Clarify tags[edit]

I made a few changes to the article (take a glance at the page history) and I removed the clarify and neutrality tags. The article seems okay now but if someone finds something confusing or not conforming to the NPOV, go ahead and put those tags back up if you wish. --Sparkhurst 04:09, 19 June 2006 (UTC) This is the part that is, as far as I know, innacurate

"During the Continental Congress of 1776, he largely stood by fellow Pennsylvania delegate John Dickinson in opposing independence only to reverse his position in the final vote, barely tipping Pennsylvania in favor of Independence and granting the resolution the unanimity required to pass"

This is mis-information directly taken from the portrayal of Wilson in 1776. The truth is that he was NOT pivotal in the unanimity fight and he was strongly for independance. He did NOT reverse his decision in the final vote and tip anything. If you have information contrary to this, it desperately needs a citation, especially in light of the fact that this paragraph appears to be taken from the fictional musical.

I feel sad about the crap that this article has gone through. Does this happen to the Ben Franklin one? :)

(He and Wilson were great friends- in fact, Franklin referred to him as "the burly, surly Scot")

I hope you don't mind but I've moved your stuff down here (I'm a bit of a neat freak). From the website, "He was, however, in a bind. Pennsylvania was divided on the issue of separation, and Wilson refused to vote against the will of his constituents. Many members felt that it was hypocritical to have argued so forcefully and so long for Independence, only to vote against it when the occasion came. Wilson, with the support of three other members who were sympathetic to his position, managed a delay of three weeks, so that he could consult with people back home. When the vote came, he was able to affirm Pennsylvania's wish for Independence." I guess the section needs to be revised. --Sparkhurst 04:57, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't mind at all, and I think what you wrote fit in much better with the article than what I did. I was just trying to get that part out was late! Thanks for revising the section. Maria

No problem. If you feel anything else sounds a little off, please bring attention to it. Regarding the Ben Franklin article, it is usually limited to senseless vandalism. Inaccuracies such as what was presented in this article wouldn't stand a chance since a lot of people watch the Franklin article. Since the amount of people watching this article pales in comparison to the amount watching Franklin's article, inaccuracies stand a better chance of going unnoticed. --Sparkhurst 03:40, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Thanks guys for updating the page. I'm really happy to see someone actually note the fact My ancestor was locked up in prision...-heh heh- They forget about these sorts of things in History. I finally found that law review written in 1905 in the Philidelphia Law Review on the Wilson Doctrine and Wilson the Patriot. Yes, he was a major proponent of Independence. However, I found it strange that the review spoke that Wilson was elected within the first two months to the "Commitee of Five, and was repordedly the Chairman of that Commitee. I'll include the additional information I have from Wilson into this when I get a chance to reread it. Also, there are only two-three copies of this review in existance seeing how very little has been written on Wilson at all. I'll make sure to bring this up so others can see it. I'm not sure about copyright in regards to Law Reviews, but if it's legal I could put it up somewhere so others can read it. It's very interesting. Anyhow, thanks guys. (Oh, and I have one of the only copies in existance (A photocopy but still a legitamate copy). Thanks for the effort, I really appreciate others taking the time to help make the Legacy of Wilson more known. -Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown-

High Importance, Low Quality[edit]

It is shameful that the Wikipedia article for such an important figure in American history as James Wilson should be of such low quality. Parts of it look plagiarized to me, which is particularly distasteful when we are writing of someone who helped draft the US Constitution. Compare [1]. There is no grace to the balance. And what is with the constant juvenile vandalism?! They must be assigning this in junior high history courses somewhere!

Regarding British versus American English, I normally leave British spellings unchanged. However, for a uniquely American topic, I think it is appropriate to change to American. Ironically, where one should not change it is when the subject himself uses British spellings (!) I left the British "instil" in the Wilson quote, trusting that whoever added that to the article was faithful in copying the original.

Also note this reference in current news, [2], regarding the "discovery" in the archives of the Philadelphia Historical Society of a draft of the Constitution written in Wilson's handwriting.

Taquito1 (talk) 03:00, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Where's the lede?[edit]

Something like this: James Wilson born 17xx in died 18xx was one of the founding fathers. A highly respected lawyer who trained at xx University he served in the continental congress, wrote the first draft of the constitution, and was a justice of the supreme court. Nitpyck (talk) 22:36, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Please, yes, that makes so much more sense. When so much of the article is bad, where better to improve it than the beginning? Of course, almost anything will be an improvement. This article has all the hallmarks of having no one that cares about it, not even that Mr. Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown, so I would just edit directly without prior consultation on this talk page. If anyone objects, they can take their turn. Thanks! Taquito1 (talk) 01:53, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Don't worry. I actually do care. My big issue has been not having a lot of material to work from and not actually taking large smacks at wiki articles. It would be my honor to be the editor of this page. I just haven't done that before, and want the article to be the best possible. Sorry everyone. I'll post some materials and references. I was mostly worried about posting due to the whole "No personal research", when I really never knew what constituted this. This article and the article on Neil Postman are two pages I want to keep updated. Meh... Thanks for the help all. CMBV Dragoon91786 (talk) 12:02, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps, it is better to add material and have everyone criticize the amount of info at a later time. I'll try that and go from there. Christopher Dragoon91786 (talk) 12:04, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

CSPAN - book show? - had a young grad student on who discovered a box in an archive that had drafts of the Constitution - even on the backs of sheets. It appears he was to the Constitution what Jefferson was to the Declaration. Sounds like he would make a good book to write - I love the "Fort Wilson" story - a movie all by itself. Interesting guy, interesting ideas - like all the founding fathers - more myth than fact. (talk) 15:08, 8 February 2010 (UTC)


The second paragraph of the Revolution section states "In 1775 he was a Colonel in the 4th Battalion of Associators and rose to the rank of Brigadier General of State Militia."

Can we get more details? Militia (United States) claims "The colony of Pennsylvania did not have a militia, prior to the Revolutionary war, due to the large and pacifist Quaker population.[7]" So what militia was he in? Does the militia article need correcting?

Also, Associators claims "Associators...were Loyalist irregulars who fought with the British in the American Revolutionary War". That cannot be the case here. Does the Associators article need correcting? That article does not show the "4th Battalion" of anything, so it might be better to say of what unit that was...what regiment, perhaps, assuming there was such a thing?

As for "Brigadier General of State Militia", maybe we are talking about a promotion during the war. Slightly more detail would be nice. And does that mean PENNSYLVANIA State Militia, or ALL state militias?

Anyway, thanks to Nitpyck for adding all the material to work with! Now we have something to sink our teeth into.

Taquito1 (talk) 02:39, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Pa did have a militia at least as early as the French and Indian War. The pacifist sects might not have approved but Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian and Anglican sects did. They were generally defensive units used against Indian attacks from the North and West. Militia (United States) is incorrect. See the Ben Franklin article In 1756, Franklin organized the Pennsylvania Militia (see "Associated Regiment of Philadelphia" under heading of Pennsylvania's 103rd Artillery and 111th Infantry Regiment at Continental Army). I'll see what details I can find on Wilson's military career.Nitpyck (talk) 20:00, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
There is this reference Associated Regiment of Foot of Philadelphia. The Benjamin Franklin article reference to [[Continental Army] is no longer valid, and perhaps should refer to List_of_United_States_militia_units_in_the_American_Revolutionary_War. That article has this, "4th Battalion of Philadelphia County Militia, 1776 {aka 4th Battalion of Associators ?}"...complete with question mark!, as well as this, "Artillery Battalion, Pennsylvania Militia 1747 {Artillery Batteries of the Associated Regiment of Foot of Philadelphia}". It is not clear to me whether these are the same, related, or unrelated units.
[3] has this, "When hostilities began, Wilson was chosen colonel of a battalion of militia that was raised in Cumberland county, with which he took part in the New Jersey campaign of 1776."
Ah ha! This looks credible: [4] has this, "Commissioned Colonel of the Fourth Cumberland County Battalion, 1775". No mention of "Brigadier General of State Militia". This reference has a lot of other information that might be useful in editing James Wilson. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Taquito1 (talkcontribs) 03:03, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
For now I replaced, "4th Battalion of Associators" with, "4th Cumberland County Battalion" (based on [5]). If "Associators" belongs, let's get it back in, but someone needs to understand that better than I do. Taquito1 (talk) 03:38, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
About this time (1776) Wilson was elected a colonel in the Cumberland County Associators, part of the military organization established by Pennsylvania in the absence of a militia, but he never saw active service Carlisle is the County seat of Cumberland County where Wilson was based. The important phrase is "never saw active service". Nitpyck (talk) 07:42, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Been looking at the PA Archives (all in Google books) and can confirm a militia bill was signed by Gov. Robert hunter Morris on Nov. 22, 1755. As for this article, In 1776 Wilson was one of 4 colonels for Cumberland County Associators. Associators were raised in the city of Philadelphia (Dickinson was one of Phillies' colonels) and all the counties. It seems clear, that as far as PA is concerned, Associators is to Militia as Commonwealth is to State. Nitpyck (talk) 23:32, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

I recently bought Charles Page Smith's biography on Wilson. As soon as I figure out what I did with it, I'll look up this and a few other things. Dragoon91786 (talk) 12:12, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Fort Wilson Riot[edit]

It seems to me that the Fort Wilson Riot should have its own article, given that several important men of the time, including Charles Willson Peale, were involved on one side or the other, and there is considerably more to the story than is given here. --DThomsen8 (talk) 15:29, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

James Wilson's religious affiliation[edit]

Somebody recently changed James Wilson's religious affiliation from "Unitarian" to "Christian." I changed it to "Episcopal" per the following website: Religious Affiliation of the U.S. Supreme Court. I don't know if the tag at the beginning of the article should be footnoted, and I don't know if this is a reliable source, but I suppose it's a place to start. Right now the article doesn't say anything about Wilson's religious views; perhaps a new section should be added. --Other Choices (talk) 00:48, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Thanks I noticed that change myself. BTW, I have Charles Page Smith's book around my house. Still looking for it, but from what I've read he stipulates that Wilson was "very religious". He was raised as a member of a denomination based upon Calvinism. When James was young his parents would take him to lectures presented by George Whitefield. I found this one which says that he was both an Episcopalian and Presbyterian. Given that Scotland was the foundation of Presbyterianism it would seem only likely James was Presbyterian. Especially, considering this UPENN article, which clinches my initial thoughts. He was studying at St. Andrews in his fifth year to become a Presbyterian minister. Presbyterianism is a form of Calvanism. CMVB Dragoon91786 (talk) 12:31, 7 May 2012 (UTC) I will go ahead and update the information on the main page. Thanks everyone for your assistance. :) CMVB Dragoon91786 (talk) 12:31, 7 May 2012 (UTC)


As this is about an American, why are the dates written British-style?? Very annoying. Last I looked, Wikipedia was an American, not British, website. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:CF99:1470:A448:4FED:77BA:F96 (talk) 03:07, 4 October 2014 (UTC)