John Randolph was born on June 2, 1773. He was also known as John Randolph of Roanoke. Besides being a politician, he was also a planter. Randolph is remembered as an important proponent of the doctrine of the states’ rights in opposition to a strong centralized government. He worked hard to convince the government to free slaves and send them back to Africa as a colony as well as arguing against the expansion of slavery. Why not celebrate the man with us right here on his special day?
John Randolph of Roanoke
June 2, 1773
May 24, 1833 (age 59)
John Randolph was born on June 2, 1773, in Dawson, Virginia. His parents were John Randolph and Frances Bland. His father was a rich tobacco planter. Randolph’s family is among the founding families of Virginia. His father died in 1775 when he was only 2 years old. His mother remarried in 1778 to St.George Tucker, who was the son of a rich planter from Bermuda. Randolph’s family suffered from a genetic illness known as Klinefelters Syndrome which left him beardless. The syndrome also left him with a soft feminine soprano voice which remained like that for the rest of his life. When he was in his youth, Randolph suffered from tuberculosis. His brother also suffered from tuberculosis which led to his death. Randolph was a frequent opium user but he only used it to numb the pain caused by tuberculosis.
Randolph attended Walker Maury’s private school but left without completing his studies. His stepfather sent them to the College of New Jersey and Columbia but he dropped out due to a lack of money. He was later admitted to William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia but was expelled after getting into a fight with a fellow student over the correct pronunciation of a word.
Despite his many failures in school, Randolph was elected to the Sixth United States Congress when he was only 26 years old. He was also elected to the six succeeding U.S Congresses where he served from 1799 to 1813. He baffled critics as he both criticized and opposed slavery. Upon his death, Randolph freed all 383 slaves born at Roanoke and gave them each a piece of land. He disliked federalists William Plumer and other advocates of more democratic government. Randolph fought against the corruption of the Yazoo Fraud and worked for the impeachment of Justice Chase.
John Randolph served in the House of Representatives from 1799 to 1833.
He broke ties with President Thomas Jefferson in 1805 as a result of what he saw as the dilution of traditional Jeffersonian principles.
Randolph became the foreman of the Grand Jury.
He served in the Senate from 1825 to 1827.
Why We Love John Randolph
He was assertive
He broke with the president after he saw the dilation of Jeffersonian principles. He also spoke against mistreatment during the impeachment of Samuel Chase.
He was against slavery
He was among the founders of the American Colonization Society. He wanted to free the black slaves to a colony in Africa.
He respected human life
He got into a gunfight with Henry Clay but had no intentions of killing him. This was due to the respect he had for Clay’s wife and children.
5 Surprising Facts
He fell in love once
John Randolph fell in love once throughout his lifetime with Maria Ward.
He loved literature
By the time he was 12, he had read Shakespeare, as well as the Greek and Roman Classics.
He was influenced by George Washington
As a schoolboy, he witnessed the inauguration of George Washington and the early sessions of the first congress, thus igniting his interest in politics.
He suffered from a mental disorder
During his time as a senator, he suffered from a mental disorder.
He declined a presidential seat offer
He was asked to seek office as the Democratic-Republican Party candidate for the office of the U.S. President in time for the U.S. Presidential elections, but he declined this offer.
John Randolph FAQs
Did John Randolph want war?
John Randolph highly opposed the war of 1812.
Was Henry Clay Pro-war?
Henry Clay supported going to war with the British.
Is John Randolph related to Thomas Jefferson?
They were cousins.
John Randolph’s birthday dates