William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and John Penn
This chapter profiles the three North Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and John Penn. In doing so, it demythologizes their status as signers of the Declaration--none of them seemed to recognize the significance of the Declaration as a statement of political principles--without minimizing their achievements. Hooper was a sophisticated political thinker. Hewes was a useful and pragmatic member of the Continental Congress. Penn, though lightly regarded by his contemporaries and most subsequent historians, served in Congress longer than any other North Carolinian of the Revolutionary era. Their careers also illustrate the divisions that existed among the founding generation. Hooper and Hewes were eastern conservatives and reluctant revolutionaries. Penn represented the more reform-minded west. All died in their forties, too soon to have much impact on post-war politics.
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