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John Witherspoon Comments

John Witherspoon

john witherspoon portrait
John Witherspoon
by Charles Willson Peale
(a copy of his own work 1783-4)

John Witherspoon (1723 - 1794) was formally educated with Master of Arts and divinity degrees from the University of Edinburgh, though he disapproved of academic learning for its own sake. Witherspoon believed that education must produce a good citizen. As president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), Witherspoon shifted the school's focus from preparing students for the ministry to equipping them for civic leadership. Witherspoon also served in Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence.