About John Andrew Shulze, Governor
John Andrew Shulze (July 19, 1774 – November 18, 1852) was a Pennsylvania political leader and the sixth Governor of Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Muhlenberg family political dynasty.
Shulze was born in Tulpehocken Township, Berks (now Lebanon) County, Pennsylvania, the son of Rev. Christopher Emmanuel Shulze and Eve Elizabeth Muhlenberg. Shulze was the grandson of Henry Muhlenberg and the nephew of Peter Muhlenberg and Frederick Muhlenberg. Shulze grew up speaking German in the Pennsylvania Dutch community, and for his entire life would speak English with a noticeable accent.
Shulze studied at Franklin College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and was ordained a minister in the Lutheran church in 1796. He left the ministry due to poor health in 1802 and became a merchant in Myerstown, Pennsylvania. Shulze married Susan Kimmell and fathered five children.
Shulze was elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1806 and served three terms. From 1813 to 1821, he served in several low offices in Lebanon County. He returned to the General Assembly in 1821 and was elected to the State Senate in 1822.
In 1823, he was elected Governor of Pennsylvania defeating former U.S. Senator Andrew Gregg. He was reelected in 1826 over John Sergeant in one of the most lopsided victories in Pennsylvania political history.
Shulze pushed for Pennsylvania's free compulsory education system. Although it failed to pass during his administration, he laid the groundwork for its adoption under his successor, George Wolf. He also oversaw major canal and road building projects.
Shulze declined to run for a third term and retired to Montoursville, Pennsylvania. He returned to public life briefly to become a delegate to the first national convention of the Whig Party in 1839. In 1840, he served as President of Pennsylvania's Electoral College which elected William Henry Harrison as the ninth President of the United States.
He died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and was buried in Woodward Hill Cemetery.
Shulze Hall, located on the campus of Penn State University, is named in his honor.