John Nicholas

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John Nicholas

Birthdate: (55)
Birthplace: Williamsburg, VA, USA
Death: December 31, 1819 (51-59)
Geneva, Ontario, New York
Place of Burial: Pulteney Street Cemetery Geneva Ontario County New York
Immediate Family:

Son of Judge Robert Carter Nicholas, Sr. and Anne Nicholas
Husband of Ann Rose Nicholas
Father of George Wilson Nicholas; James Nicholas; Sarah Norton Nicholas; Mary Blair Nicholas; Elizabeth Randolph Nicholas and 3 others
Brother of Sarah Ann Norton; Elizabeth Carter Randolph; George Nicholas; Thomas Carter Nicholas; Wilson Cary Nicholas, Governor, U.S. Senator and 5 others

Managed by: James Hutchison
Last Updated:

About John Nicholas

John Nicholas (January 19, 1764– December 31, 1819) was an American lawyer, farmer, and politician from Williamsburg, Virginia. He represented Virginia in the U.S. House from 1793 to 1801.

In 1798, before the enactment of the Sedition Act, which made it a crime to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against the government or its officials, Nicholas declared the proposed Act to be unconstitutional. The Act was inconsistent with the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment, Nicholas said, because the press could be punished for publishing true statements if it were not possible to prove the truth of the statements, which is often the case. In 1799, when Republicans in the House proposed to repeal the Sedition Act, a party line vote resulted in the rejection of the proposal. Nicholas wrote a minority report describing the policy goal of the Act as being related to Great Britain's form of government: "The King is hereditary, and according to the theory of their Government, can do no wrong. Public officers are his representatives, and derive some portion of his inviolability." Nicholas distinguished this form of deferential respect for public officers to the level of respect owed to their American counterparts, who serve the people and can be removed from office during elections.

In 1803 Nicholas moved to Geneva, New York and started a farm. From 1806 until 1809 he served in the New York State Senate. He died at home, and is buried in the Glenwood Cemetery in Geneva.

State Senator Robert C. Nicholas (1801–1854) was his son.

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John Nicholas's Timeline

January 19, 1764
Williamsburg, VA, USA
Age 18
Age 25
Age 26
Age 27
Virginia, United States
Age 30
Age 32
December 6, 1801
Age 37
December 31, 1819
Age 55
Geneva, Ontario, New York