Richard Henry Lee

Richard Henry Lee

by Caleb Pavao

Early Life

Richard Henry Lee was born on January 20, 1732 Thomas and Hannah Lee in Westmoreland County, Virginia. When Richard was only 13, he moved to England to finish his schooling at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield.

Richard Henry LeeRichard Henry Lee
Public domain image.

He returned to the states in 1751, during the French and Indian War. During this time, Lee formed a militia group that he led throughout the war. In 1757, he was appointed Justice of the Peace for his home county, Westmoreland.

In 1758, Richard Henry Lee joined the House of Burgesses. He strongly opposed the rule of the British in America from early on. He was one of the forefront defenders of the colonial cause from the beginning.


In August of 1774, Lee was elected as a delegate in the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Upon arriving in congress, Lee pushed for opposition to the British. In fact, Richard Henry Lee was the one to put forth the motion to declare independence from the British.

As we all know, this motion was a key part of American history. Once the Declaration of Independence was written, Lee was one of the seven representatives from Virginia to sign the document.

Despite his major involvement in the Declaration of Independence, Lee was strongly opposing on the Constitution upon its arrival. He declared that the constitution went beyond the powers that it should and gave the government too much control over the people.

Lee preferred strong states government instead of a federal government. His objections led him to push for two things that we all now will recognize as necessities: a bill of rights and amendments to the constitution.

Richard Henry Lee was elected as the Sixth President of Congress under the Articles of Confederation on November 30, 1784.

In 1792, Richard Henry Lee retired from his political career. With his health failing, he moved to Chantilly Virginia.

This important figure in American history perished on June 19 of 1794.

Carter Braxton

Carter Braxton

George Wythe

George Wythe

Return to Signers of the Declaration of Inependence


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