John Jay was the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a delegate to both the First and Second Continental Congress and a leading spokesman for the moderate faction that sought measures of resistance to Great Britain short of independence. Once the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Jay accepted it and worked earnestly in Congress for the success of the American Revolution. He is credited with New York's first state constitution in 1777.
Elected president of Congress in 1778, he was appointed minister to Spain the following year. In 1782 he was with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams in Paris as American peace commissioners. Returning to America to serve as foreign secretary under the Articles of Confederation, he worked actively for adoption of the federal Constitution of 1787. He was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers. In 1789 he became the first chief justice, resigning to serve as governor of New York from 1795-1801.