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Thomas Cooper

Thomas Cooper, American naturalist, educator and political philosopher, was born in London, England, on the 22nd of October 1759, and educated at Oxford. He was threatened with prosecution at home because of his active sympathy with the French Revolution, and consequently emigrated to America about 1793. He began practicing law in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, and was president-judge of the Fourth District of Pennsylvania in 1806-1811. He sympathized with the Anti-Federalists, and took part in the agitation against the Sedition Act. For a newspaper attack in 1799 on President John Adams, Cooper was convicted, fined and imprisoned for libel. Cooper was highly esteemed by Thomas Jefferson, who secured for him the appointment as first Professor of Natural Science and Law in the University of Virginia, but the Virginia clergy forced him to resign. After filling the chair of chemistry in Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania (1811-1814), and in the University of Pennsylvania (1818-1819), he became Professor of Chemistry in South Carolina College, at Columbia, in 1819, and afterwards gave instruction in political economy as well. In 1820 he was made Acting President of the College, and was President from 1821 until 1833; in 1823 the College purchased his extensive mineral collection, which became the core of the College's growing museum. In 1834 Cooper resigned (once again) in response to opposition to his liberal religious views. Cooper died in Columbia on the 11th of May 1840.

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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
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