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Thomas Earle

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Pliney Earle, I and Patience Earle
Husband of Mary Folger Earle
Father of George Earle, Sr. and Caroline Earle White
Brother of John Milton Earle; Pliny Earle II, MD and Lydia Chase

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas Earle

Thomas Earle (April 21, 1796 – July 14, 1849) was an American journalist, lawyer, and politician.


The son of Pliny Earle, he was born in Leicester, Massachusetts.

He was educated at Leicester academy. In 1817 he moved to Philadelphia, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits for a few years, but subsequently studied law and practiced his profession. He became distinguished also as a journalist, editing in succession the "Columbia Observer," "Standard," "Pennsylvanian," and "Mechanics' Free Press and Reform Advocate." In 1837 he took an active part in calling the Constitutional convention of Pennsylvania, of which he was a prominent member, and it is supposed that he made the original draft of the new constitution. He lost his popularity with the Democratic Party by advocating the extension of the right of suffrage to African Americans.

He was the vice-presidential candidate in the 1840 presidential election; he ran on the Liberty Party ticket with James G. Birney.

In 1837-1838 Earle was a delegate to the convention to revise Pennsylvania's constitution. There he was one of the strongest defenders of the black voting rights, along with Thaddeus Stevens. His defense of black voting rights was, however, unsuccessful. The new constitution included the word "white", formally disenfranchising blacks for the first time.

He died in 1849, aged 53.


Thomas Earle was one of the first of the Abolitionists and his coming to this city was largely for the purpose of taking a more active part in the anti-slavery movement. He was editor and part proprietor of The Pennsylvanian, and also was interested in the publication of The Pennsylvania Freeman, the Mechanic Free Press and the Reform Advocate. He was a candidate for Vice-President of the United States on the Liberal party ticket with James G. Birney, who ran for the Presidency. Although they polled less than 7000 votes, their following constituted the germ of the Republican party, in the formation of which George Hussey Earle, the son, played a prominent part.

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Thomas Earle's Timeline

Age 27
Age 37
Age 53