George Clinton: Master Builder of the Empire State

Written by John K. Lee
Review by John R. Vallely

George Clinton (1739-1812) is one of those people who performed long and valued public service in their times but remain largely unknown in the modern world. A combat veteran of the French and Indian War, Clinton would go on to be a leader of New York’s patriots and to serve as governor of the state from 1777 to 1795. An opponent of the U.S. Constitution, Clinton became an advocate after the Bill of Rights was added. Following retirement from his long tenure as New York’s governor, he went on to serve as Vice-President under both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The longest serving governor in American history, Clinton is also the first Vice-President to die in office. This brief and heavily illustrated volume is a handy introduction to a figure critical to both his state’s and his country’s formative decades. Still, the question remains: How could such an individual disappear so completely from modern eyes?