Daniel Carroll (July 22, 1730 – July 5, 1796) was a Founding Father of the United States of America and an avid politician. His family had many historically important members as a colonial family, including a cousin named Charles Carroll who had an important honour in being one of five men to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.
For Daniel Carroll, family honor was inextricably intertwined with independence which made him a Patriot. Throughout his political career, he was always an ally of George Washington. Daniel Carroll was always of the belief that government should be accountable to its people and he fought during the Convention to achieve this.
Born in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Daniel Carroll studied overseas at Flanders between 1742 and 1748 at the College of St. Omer which was run by Jesuits. Laws in Maryland at the time of his return to the USA prevented Carroll from holding public office because he was a Catholic. Those laws were struck down in 1776, allowing him to become elected to the Maryland legislature upper house from 1777 to 1781. He was heavily involved in the Revolution as were many other Patriots, which could be easily understood when you consider his family’s motto which was “Strong in Faith and War”.
Illness prevented Carroll from attending the very early sessions of the Constitutional Convention, but he was still an active member. Daniel Carroll firmly believed that a solid primary government was required to handle all of the commerce between states as well as between other countries.
Daniel Carroll constantly spoke out about members of the US Congress receiving any form of payment for their service. He was of the firm belief that payment could compromise the strength of the newly formed government. Along with James Wilson, Daniel Carroll moved that “by the people” should replace the words “by the legislature” in the Constitution.
During the Constitutional Convention, Daniel Carroll arrived around July 9 and made an effort to attend regularly. He spoke during the debates, up to 20 times, and worked hard in service for the Committee on Postponed Matters.
After returning to Maryland, Daniel Carroll continued to be involved in many state and national issues. During the Maryland ratification struggle, he played a key role while continuing to defend the Constitution publicly on the pages of the Maryland Journal. Daniel Carroll continued to express his concerns over the need for both fiscal and economic stability, and voted for the federal government to assume state debts.
Daniel Carroll served as one of three commissioners who were appointed to survey the District of Columbia as a part of the Maryland Senate. He was to become a commissioner in the new capital city, but due to declining health, he retired in 1795. During the last year that Carroll was alive, he was a partner, together with George Washington, in Patowmack Company which was formed to link the central United States together by use of the Potomac River Canal.