Gadsden, Christopher (gădzˈdən) [key], 1724–1805, American Revolutionary leader, b. Charleston, S.C., educated in England. He returned to Charleston (1746) and became a wealthy merchant. At the Stamp Act Congress (1765) he was one of the first to urge colonial union against England's policy of taxation. Gadsden served (1774–76) in the Continental Congress and favored independence. In the struggle over the South Carolina constitution in 1778 he was a radical, favoring separation of church and state and popular election of senators. He was captured when the British took Charleston (1780), and imprisonment by the British broke his health. He later helped to secure ratification of the Constitution and still later opposed the Jeffersonians.
See R. Walsh, ed., The Writings of Christopher Gadsden, 1746–1805 (1966).
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