Dickinson drew scorn from every corner of Pennsylvania society as a suspected Loyalist, but although he never signed the Declaration, he proclaimed himself “resolved by every impulse of my soul to share, and to stand or fall with [America] in that scheme of freedom she had chosen.” And that he did. In the same week he stood athwart history, Dickinson made it, drafting the Articles of Confederation, legally christening the days-old republic “The United States of America.” Then, as a colonel in the Pennsylvania militia, he led a battalion to join General Washington’s army in the battle for New York. If a tapestry were made to commemorate the founding of American conservatism, these events would be as good a subject matter as any.
Dickinson had allies. There was Morris, the Presbyterian sea merchant who singlehandedly oversaw a smuggling operation that outfitted the Revolution with matériel and supplies, who bankrolled the Battle of Yorktown and paid disgruntled Continental regulars from his own deep pockets, and who represented the dynamic capitalism (some would say war profiteering) of young America. Morris, a signer of the trifecta of founding documents — the Declaration, the Articles, and the Constitution — put both a conservative and an entrepreneurial stamp on America’s birth certificates.