A late 17th-century and early 18th-century British author, dramatist, and politician, he is most known for his successful 1712 play, Cato, a Tragedy. Also an important essayist, he co-founded The Spectator magazine with Richard Steele.
He studied Classics at Queen's College, Oxford. Around 1709, he began contributing numerous essays to a publication called The Tatler.
In 1808, a New York town was re-named in his honor. Once called Middletown, the village is now known as Addison.
He was born in Milston, Wiltshire, England. He had an unhappy marriage to the Countess of Warwick, whose son he had previously tutored.
He founded a political newspaper called The Freeholder, which was harshly criticized by Alexander Pope .