James McHenry (November 16, 1753 – May 3, 1816) was an Irish-born American statesman. McHenry was a signer of the United States Constitution from Maryland and the namesake of Fort McHenry. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from Maryland, and the third United States Secretary of War (1796–1800), under the first and second presidents, George Washington, (administration: 1789-1797) and John Adams, (administration: 1797-1801).
McHenry was born into a Scots-Irish family in Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland in 1753. Alarmed that he became sick from excessive studying, his family in 1771 sent him at age 17 to North America to recuperate. Recent scholarship suggests that the family may have also sent him to the colonies as an "advanced scout" to see if the entire family would wish to relocate, which they did a year later. Upon arrival, McHenry lived with a family friend in Philadelphia before deciding to finish his preparatory education at Newark Academy. Returning to Philadelphia, McHenry then apprenticed under Dr. Benjamin Rush and became a physician.
McHenry practiced medicine and became a surgeon...
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