EDWARD RUTLEDGE was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He studied law at Middle Temple in London and was called to the English Bar in 1772. As an officer in the Charleston Artillery Battalion in the South Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War, he was captured by the British and held prisoner for one year. Prior to becoming governor, he served in the Continental Congresses of 1774 and 1776 (and signed the Declaration of Independence), the First and Second South Carolina Provincial Congress in 1775 and 1776, the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1778, the U.S. House of Representatives in 1796 and 1798, and the South Carolina State Senate in 1796 and 1798. He declined a seat on the Supreme Court. During Rutledge’s gubernatorial administration, debate was taking place nationwide over the question of whether states could challenge acts of Congress. Although Rutledge presented resolutions to the South Carolina legislature proposing that states had the right to judge the constitutionality of congressional acts and in some instances nullify laws passed by Congress, state lawmakers opted not to take action on those resolutions. Also during Rutledge’s gubernatorial term, the office of comptroller was established and South Carolina was divided into districts, counties, and parishes. Rutledge died in office.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.