Richard Henry Lee

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Richard Henry Lee (January 20, 1732 – June 19, 1794) was an American statesman from Virginia best known for the motion in the Second Continental Congress calling for the colonies' independence from Great Britain. His famous resolution of June 1776 led to the United States Declaration of Independence, which Lee signed. He also served a one-year term as the President of the Continental Congress, and was a U.S. Senator from Virginia from 1789 to 1792, serving during part of that time as one of the first Presidents pro tempore.


Early life

Lee was born in Westmoreland County in the Colony of Virginia on January 20, 1732. Richard was the son of Col. Thomas Lee, Hon. (1690–1750) and Hannah Harrison Ludwell (1701–1750). He was the 2nd cousin of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s grandfather. His 2nd cousin’s son, "Light Horse Harry" Lee, earned minor fame during the Revolution, and is now mainly remembered as the father of Robert E. Lee.

Early career

In 1757, Lee was appointed justice of the peace for Westmoreland County. In 1758 he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses, where he met Patrick Henry. An early advocate of independence, Lee became one of the first to create Committees of Correspondence among the many independence-minded Americans in the various colonies. In 1766, almost ten years before the American Revolutionary War, Lee is credited with having authored the Westmoreland Resolution which was publicly signed by prominent landowners who met at Leedstown, Westmoreland County, Virginia on 27 Feb 1766. This resolution was signed by four brothers of George Washington as well as Gilbert Campbell.

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