Joseph Hawley (Massachusetts)

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Joseph Hawley (October 8, 1723 – March 10, 1788) was a political leader from Massachusetts during the era of the American Revolution.

Born in Northampton, Massachusetts, Hawley was a graduate of Yale, and served as a chaplain in a Massachusetts regiment during the 1745 Louisbourg expedition. He studied law under Phineas Lyman, and began practicing in 1749. He served in a variety of public offices, and was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1751.

During the Stamp Act crisis he emerged, with Samuel Adams and James Otis, Jr., as a leader of the popular (or Whig) party. He declined election to the First Continental Congress in 1774, but was an active leader of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. He urged Massachusetts's delegates to the Second Continental Congress to issue the United States Declaration of Independence. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1776 and never again served in the legislature, but he continued to write important political essays. He was charter member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1780.[1]

Joseph Hawley is the namesake of the city of Hawley, Massachusetts.[2]


  1. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter H" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 152.