James Iredell is Born

The Iredell House in Historic Edenton.On October 5, 1751, James Iredell, was born.  Few men have had more influence on the modern American judicial system than lawyer, judge, and writer James Iredell.  Originally a representative of the Crown, he challenged the colonial court system and was instrumental in the creation of its American successor.  Iredell emigrated from England to Edenton in 1768.  As he practiced law and worked as a customs comptroller, his personal convictions clashed with professional interests.

Finding fault with colonial courts, Iredell expressed dissent through a number of insightful essays. Among his finest works were his criticisms of British rule in America.  Iredell realized that British laws were not always feasible on American soil, and with this conclusion, joined the revolutionaries.

After the Revolutionary War, Iredell found himself at the center of judicial reform. In 1777, he was appointed to the superior court, and he later served the state as attorney general.  Iredell was among the most influential federalists, who were advocates of strong federal government. When North Carolina ratified the federal constitution in 1789, George Washington appointed Iredell as one of the first federal Supreme Court judges.  Iredell County is named in his honor, and his house is part of the Edenton State Historic Site.

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