John Jay was an American statesman, Patriot, diplomat, Founding Father of the United States, Governor of New York, and first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1789–95). Jay became a lawyer and joined the New York Committee of Correspondence and organized opposition to British rule. He joined a conservative political faction that, fearing mob rule, sought to protect property rights and maintain the rule of law while resisting British violations of human rights. Jay served as the President of the Continental Congress (1778–79). During and after the American Revolution, Jay was a Minister (Ambassador) to Spain, France and Secretary of Foreign Affairs, helping to fashion United States foreign policy. His major diplomatic achievement was to negotiate favorable trade terms with Great Britain in the Treaty of London of 1794 when he was still serving as Supreme Court Chief Justice. As a leader of the new Federalist Party, Jay was the Governor of New York State (1795–1801), where he became the state's leading opponent of slavery. His first two attempts to end slavery in New York in 1777 and 1785 failed, but a third in 1799 succeeded. The 1799 Act, a gradual emancipation he signed into law, eventually gave all slaves in New York their freedom.
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