John Jay was an American statesman, Patriot, diplomat, a Founding Father of the United States, signer of the Treaty of Paris, and the first Chief Justice of the United States.
Jay was born into a wealthy family of merchants and government officials in New York City. He 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, an honorific position with little power. During and after the American Revolution, Jay was a Minister 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.
Jay, a proponent of strong, centralized government, worked to ratify the new Constitution in New York in 1788 by anonymously writing a few of the Federalist Papers, along with the main authors Alexander Hamilton and James Madison.