In 1742, on this day the first Chief Magistrate of the United States, James Wilson was born in Carskerdo, Scotland.
Father of American Legislative Authority is born (in Scotland)Wilson began to read the law at the office of John Dickinson in 1767 and after two years of study he attained the bar in Philadelphia, setting up his own practice in Reading, Pennsylvania. Amongst the first and youngest of the Founding Fathers, as far back as 1768 he had established his thought leadership as a legal theoretician by penning "Considerations on the Nature and Extent of the Legislative Authority of the British Parliament", the first cogent argument to be formulated against British dominance.
In 1775 he was commissioned Colonel of the 4th Cumberland County Battalion and rose to the rank of Brigadier General of the Pennsylvania State Militia.
A signatory to the Declaration of Independence, he was elected twice to the Continental Congress where he came to see that the Articles of Confederation were not working. Arriving at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, he was amongst many delegates who set about writing a new Constitution. However, he was one of the few delegates to have served as a practicising law and a senior officer in the Continental Army.
During the debate on the Committee of Detail, he shaped the definition of the role of Chief Magistrate upon the New York and Massachusetts States constitutions. And at some point during the deliberations framing that role to "faithfully execute the laws" it became self-evident that only Wilson could navigate those vague legal definitions in office. Others might be greater, but he would be first.