Letter from George Washington to Governor Pinckney regarding the proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution, 1789

Printable PDF Version

Additional Flash Versions

Document Description:

Letter from George Washington to Governor Charles Pinckney transmitting a congressional resolution and proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution on October 2, 1789.

Governor Thomas Pinckney served as a Governor, congressman and soldier. At the coming of the war in 1775, Pinckney became a captain in the First South Carolina Continental regiment and eventually was promoted to major and served in battles such as the failed invasion of East Florida in 1778 and as liaison between American and French forces at the siege of Savannah.

Pinckney would eventually join General Horatio Gates's as his advisor. At the Battle of Camden on August 16, 1780, Pinckney's leg was shattered by a musket ball and he was eventually captured effectively ending his active military service.

Pinckney's end on the battlefield would mark his beginning into politics as he represented the city parishes of St. Phillip's and St. Michael's in the state House of Representatives from 1776 to 1791. On February 20, 1787, Pinckney was elected governor of South Carolina and would serve a two year term. He expanded his role to diplomat as he submitted the federal Constitution to the state legislature and headed the ratification convention that met in Charleston in 1788. On January 16, 1792, Pinckney accepted an appointment as U.S. minister to Great Britain.

In 1796 Pinckney felt it was time to return to South Carolina and resigned his European duties. Upon his return to South Carolina, he found out that the Federalists had nominated him as their candidate for vice president, but he lost the election to Thomas Jefferson. In November 1797, Pinckney was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to complete the term of William Smith. He left Congress in 1801, and his retirement from public affairs was complete during the War of 1812, when he was entitled to major general and given command of the South Division of the U.S. Army. On November 2, 1828, Pinckney died in Charleston. He was buried in St. Phillip's Churchyard.


President George Washington to Governor Charles Pinckney, 2 October 1789. General Correspondence. Governor Charles Pinckney papers. S165009. South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina.


United States October 2nd 1789.


In pursuance of the enclosed resolution I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency a copy of the amendment proposed to be added to the Constitution of the United States.

I have the honor to be,

With due Consideration,

Your Excellency’s

Most Obedient Servant

George Washington

His Excellency

Charles Pinckney

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the American Revolution and South Carolina’s role in the development of the new American nation.

Indicator 3-3.2 Summarize the key conflicts and key leaders of the American Revolution in South Carolina and their effects on the state, including the occupation of Charleston by the British; the partisan warfare of Thomas Sumter, Andrew Pickens, and Francis Marion; and the battles of Cowpens and Kings Mountain. (H, P, G)

Indicator 3-3.3 Summarize the effects of the American Revolution in South Carolina, including the establishment of a new nation and a new state government and capital. (H, P, G)

Indicator 3-3.4 Outline the current structure of state government, including the branches of government; the names of the representative bodies; and the role that cities, towns, and counties play in this system. (P, G)

Standard 4-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the beginnings of America as a nation and the establishment of the new government.

Indicator 4-4.1 Compare the ideas in the Articles of Confederation with those in the United States Constitution, including how powers are now shared between state and national government and how individuals and states are represented in the national congress. (P, H)

Indicator 4-4.2 Classify government activities according to the three branches of government established by the United States Constitution and give examples of the checks and balances that the Constitution provides among the branches. (P, H)

Indicator 4-4.3 Explain the role of the Bill of Rights in the ratification of the Constitution, including how the Constitution serves to guarantee the rights of the individual and protect the common good yet also to limit the powers of government. (P, H)

Indicator 4-4.4 Compare the roles and accomplishments of early leaders in the development of the new nation, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, and James Madison. (H, P)

Additional Flash Versions

page 1 page 2


Statement on use and reproduction.