John Jay

Founding Father and First Chief Justice


John Jay served as the first Chief Justice of the United States from 1789 to 1795 and as the Secretary of State under George Washington. He was also the sixth President of the Continental Congress and a diplomat in Spain, who negotiated the Treaty of Paris. Jay used all of his international experience to develop America’s foreign policy as the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Jay was a leader of the Federalist Party, and wrote five of The Federalist Papers. As the second Governor of New York (1795-1801), Jay is remembered for signing the 1799 Act, which eventually abolished slavery in New York.

”The government must be a weak one indeed, if it should forget that the good of the whole can only be promoted by advancing the good of each of the parts or members which compose the whole.”

”No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent.”

“To all general purposes we have uniformly been one people each individual citizen everywhere enjoying the same national rights, privileges, and protection.”

”To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused.”

John Jay was a Loyalist when he was young, but became a Patriot over the course of the American Revolution.


Jay was a member of lawyers known as the “Moot Club” in New York, many of whom went on to lead the fight against England.


“Jay’s Treaty” was named after John Jay, although Alexander Hamilton actually deserves much of the credit for the treaty.

Jay was one of the longest surviving Revolutionary heroes.


Lived with his family in Spain and France where he lived with Benjamin Franklin.