Charles Thomson - Secretary of Congress

Charles Thomson - Secretary of Congress Tragedies and Triumphs American History Government Law and Politics Social Studies Famous People

Charles Thomson (1729-1824) was the secretary of Congress during a very influential time in American History.  The Library of Congress provides the following information about him:

Charles Thomson, Philadelphia merchant and politician, was active in colonial resistance against Britain for decades. Although Pennsylvania conservatives kept him from being elected a delegate to the Continental Congress, Thomson was chosen as its secretary in 1774, continuing in the position until the federal government came to power in 1789.

Delegates came and went, but Thomson remained, faithfully recording the debates and decisions that shaped the infant government. Known for his fairness and integrity, the "perpetual secretary" provided the continuity and institutional memory so vital to a Congress whose members were ever-changing.

Media Credits

This engraving of Charles Thomson, by Pierre Eugène du Simitiére (1736-1784), is from Portraits of the Generals, Ministers, Magistrates, Members of Congress & others, 1783. 

It is online, courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-44786.


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