Abraham Baldwin distinguished himself in the political and educational arenas of Colonial Georgia. A graduate of Yale, he became a chaplain in the Continental Army. Following the war, he practiced law in Georgia and established Franklin College, the oldest college of the University of Georgia. Franklin College was the first state-supported college in the United States, chartered in 1785.
He was the college's first president. Baldwin represented Georgia at the Constitutional Convention and signed the Constitution. He defended slavery as being necessary for the economic development of Georgia and the whole of the South. Elected to the House of Representatives of the First Congress, he was named to the Senate 1799. During the Seventh Congress, he was the Senate's president pro tempore.