Jacob Broom (October 17, 1752–April 25, 1810) was an American businessman and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, the Annapolis Convention (1786) and served in the Delaware General Assembly. He was the father of Congressman James M. Broom and grandfather of Congressman Jacob Broom.
His father was James Broom, a blacksmith turned prosperous farmer, and his mother was Esther Willis, a Quaker. In 1773 he married Rachel Pierce, and together they raised eight children.
Although the strong pacifist influence of his Quaker friends and relatives kept him from fighting in the Revolution, Broom was nevertheless a Patriot who contributed to the cause of independence. For example, he put his abilities as a surveyor at the disposal of the Continental Army, preparing detailed maps of the region for General Washington shortly before the Battle of Brandywine. Broom's political horizons expanded after the Revolution when his community sent him as their representative to the state legislature (1784-86 and 1788), which in turn chose him to represent the state at the Annapolis Convention. Like many other delegates, Broom was unable to attend the sessions of the short meeting, but he likely sympathized with the convention's call for political reforms.
Broom carried these opinions with him to Philadelphia, where he consistently voted for measures that would assure a powerful government responsive to the needs of the states. He favored a nine-year term for members of the Senate, where the states would be equally represented. He wanted the state legislatures to pay their representatives in Congress, which, in turn, would have the power to veto state laws. He also sought to vest state legislatures with the power to select presidential electors, and he wanted the President to hold office for life. Broom faithfully attended the sessions of the Convention in Philadelphia and spoke out several times on issues that he considered crucial, but he left most of the speechmaking to more influential and experienced delegates. Georgia delegate William Pierce described him as "a plain good Man, with some abilities, but nothing to render him conspicuous, silent in public, but cheerful and conversible in private."
For many years, he chaired the board of directors of Wilmington's Delaware Bank. He also operated a cotton mill, as well as a machine shop that produced and repaired mill machinery. He sold his mill property in 1802 to the DuPonts and it became the center of the DuPont manufacturing empire. Broom was also involved in an unsuccessful scheme to mine bog iron ore. A further interest was internal improvements: toll roads, canals, and bridges. A letter to his son James in 1794 touches upon a number of these pursuits.
Broom also found time for philanthropic and religious activities. His long-standing affiliation with the Old Academy led him to become involved in its reorganization into the College of Wilmington, and to serve on the college's first Board of Trustees. Broom was also deeply involved in his community's religious affairs as a lay leader of the Old Swedes Church.
He died at the age of 58 in 1810 while in Philadelphia on business and was buried there at Christ Church Burial Ground.