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Fisher Ames

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Fisher Ames

Fisher Ames (9 April 1758 - 4 July 1808) was a Representative of the United States Congress from Massachusetts. He was born in Dedham, Massachusetts on April 9, 1758 and attended the town's school while also receiving private instruction. In 1774 he was graduated from Harvard College. While teaching school he also studied law. Ames was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Dedham in 1781.

In 1788, he served in the state House of Representatives. He became a member of the Massachusetts convention called for the ratification of the United States Constitution that year.

Ames was elected to the First, Second and Third Congresses and as a Federalist to the Fourth Congress. He served in Congress from March 4, 1789 to March 3, 1797. During the First Congress, he was chairman of the Committee on Elections. In 1796, he was not a candidate for renomination but resumed the practice of law in Dedham. He stayed in politics and was member of the Governor's Council from 1798 to 1800.

In 1804, Ames was chosen president of Harvard University. He declined because of failing health. Four years later, in 1808, he died in Dedham on July 4. He was interred in the Old First Parish Cemetery.

Quotes

“We are, heart and soul, friends to the freedom of the press...It is a precious pest, and a necessary mischief, and there would be no liberty without it.” 

Bibliography

  • Dictionary of American Biography; Ames, Fisher. Works of Fisher Ames: With a Selection from His Speeches and Correspondence. Edited by Seth Ames. 2 vols. 1854. Reprint. New York: DaCapo Press, 1969;
  • Bernhard, Winfred E.A. Fisher Ames: Federalist and Statesman, 1758-1808. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1965.

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