Cooper, Thomas, 1759–1839, American scientist, educator, and political philosopher, b. London, educated at Oxford. His important works include Political Essays (1799); the appendixes to the Memoirs of Dr. Joseph Priestley (2 vol., 1806), in which he reviews Priestley's life and works at length; Lectures on the Elements of Political Economy (1826); Treatise on the Law of Libel (1830); and (as editor) The Statutes at Large of South Carolina (5 vol., 1836–39). Cooper emigrated to the United States in 1794 and, settling near his friend Joseph Priestley in Northumberland, Pa., was his partner in scientific research. As a supporter of the Jeffersonian opposition to the Federalists, he wrote many political pamphlets, especially against the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Convicted under the acts, he was imprisoned and fined $400; after his death this fine was repaid to his heirs. He taught at Dickinson College and the Univ. of Pennsylvania and was president (1820–33) of South Carolina College (now the Univ. of South Carolina).
See D. Malone, The Public Life of Thomas Cooper (1926); J. N. Ireland, A Memoir of the Professional Life of Thomas Abthorpe Cooper (repr. 1970).
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