books which might be of general interest to students of the "Early
Republic" period -- If you find any worth purchasing after following
one of these links, a portion will go to support of this web site:
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough a "story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work."
The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity by Jeffrey Sachs. From book description: "For more than three decades, Jeffrey D. Sachs has been at the forefront of international economic problem solving. But Sachs turns his attention back home in The Price of Civilization, a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity.
Entomologist and conchologist. Traveled extensively through North America and published several important works. Came to Robert Owen's New Harmony community, where he died in 1834.
Officer in the French and Indian War, and Maj. General under Washington in the Revolution; operated generally successfully in the country around Ticonderoga, but allowed Ticonderoga to be lost, and lost his command. He demanded a court-marshall, was reinstated, and then resigned.
Senator from NY, 1789-91. Wealthy landowner.
His daughter Elizabeth married Alexander Hamilton, and he was very helpful in Hamilton's career; daugter Margaret married Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Produced an avalanche of romantic historical novels. Probably Jacksonian America's favorite novelist. Beloved by southern planters (horses named Rob Roy) were not uncommon, and New England transcendentalists (Bronson Alcott kept a bust of Scott - the only modern so honored - in his experimental grade school that was run on transcendentalist principles).
Year of birth uncertain; d. in March
A clergyman in VA; then land speculator and lawyer in KY. Got in the pay of the Spanish and was driven out of office (as a judge) because of this in 1806 (Joseph Street and the Western World being his main accusers. Retired from public life; continued to deal in land, and general merchandise; built a sawmill and gristmill. (Source: DAB)
Delegate from Arkansas Territory from 1828-36; state Senator from 1836-48; served on many committies, and as President Pro Tempore of the Senate; negotiated peace treaty with Mexico in 1848; died soon after his return.
SEVIER, Ambrose Hundley, (cousin of Henry Wharton Conway), a Delegate and a Senator from Arkansas; born in Greene County, Tenn., November 4, 1801; completed preparatory studies; moved to Missouri in 1820 and to Little Rock, Ark., in 1821; clerk of the Territorial house of representatives; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1823 and practiced; member, Territorial house of representatives 1823-1827, serving as speaker in 1827; elected as a Delegate to the Twentieth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Henry W. Conway; reelected to the Twenty-first and to the three succeeding Congresses and served from February 13, 1828, to June 15, 1836, when the Territory was admitted as a State into the Union; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1836; reelected in 1837 and 1843 and served from September 18, 1836, until his resignation on March 15, 1848; served as President pro tempore of the Senate during the Twenty-ninth Congress; chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs (Twenty-sixth and Twenty-ninth Congresses), Committee on Foreign Relations (Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Congresses); was appointed Minister to Mexico to negotiate the treaty of peace between that Republic and the United States 1848; died on his plantation near Little Rock, Pulaski County, Ark., December 31, 1848; interment in Mount Holly Cemetery, where the State erected a monument to his memory.
DAB; Walton, Brian. ‘Ambrose Hundley Sevier in the United States Senate, 1836-1848.’ Arkansas Historical Quarterly 32 (Spring 1973): 25-60.
Source: Biog. Dir. of Am. Congress.
Anti-slavery leader in New York politics. A major leader in establishing the Republican Party. Secretary of State to Lincoln and his successor.
Governor of New York (1839-43), U.S. Senator (1849-61).
In 1860, until the nominating convention, he was considered a far more plausible candidate than Abraham Lincoln. His problem may have been that he was too moderate for many Republicans, yet frightened off the moderates with his famous "Irrepressible Conflict" speech in Rochester in 1858, declaring the conflict between freedom and slavery to be "irrepressible".
A cousin of Samuel J. May, and a fellow Unitarian Minister and abolitionist.
An immensely popular poet, sometimes calle the "American Hemans".
Daughter of a gardener of Scottish descent; born in Norwich, CT; taught school there from 1811-13; then went to Hartford to conduct a small girls' school.
There she married Charles Sigourney, a hardware merchant and leading citizen of Hartford, supposed to be a "good catch" for a schoolmistress.
Somewhat disappointed in her husbands affluence, she began writing sentimental poetry, mostly about tragic deaths, until it became "almost impossible to find [an issue of a popular magazine] of the thirties or forties [without a] poem or article by her." She wrote anonymously until 1833.
Around 1830, her home was a social center, known for elegant parties, as attested by Gideon Welles and J.G. Whittier.
Prof. of chemistry and natural history at Yale from 1802 - 1853. Edited The American Journal of Science and Arts 1818 - ?.(better known as Silliman's Journal).
Source: DAB, Brown, A Life in the Young Republic
Marylander and editor/writer of several periodicals on sports (southern style), and agriculture, including the American Farmer.
Confederate ambassador to England.
Very strong abolitionist, associated with William Lloyd Garrison, although later they disagreed; Smith being more prone to seek a political solution than Garrison. Smith was also active in many other reforms and pseudo-reforms, such as strict Sunday observance, temperance and anti-tobacco, dress reform(?), woman's suffrage, and prison reform.
He acquired huge amounts of land from his father (who was partner with an Astor; married to a Livingston) in 1819. He gave away thousands of 40-60 acre tracts of land to "landless (and liquerless) 'colored people'", and in this and other ways, supported Frederick Douglas. (McFeely, Douglas).
John Brown also briefly lived on some of Smith's land, and was helped by Smith in various ways.
Born in Utica NY, moved to Peterboro, Madison County, in 1806. Graduated Hamilton College, Clinton NY 1818.
(see also The Antislavery Alliance of Gerrit Smith and Beriah Green, by Prof. Milton Sernett)
Founder of the Mormon Church.
Born in Sharon, VT of Scotch descent. Moved to Palmyra, NY. By his account, began having visions in 1820. On Sept 22, 1827, he says he received from an angel a book written on golden plates.
He was given the ability to translate the plates, and published them in Palmyra, NY in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. The plates were taken back, so he relied on affadavits to assert their actuality.
Founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Fayett, NY, on April 6, 1830.
He gained many followers, but they were driven out of one community after another, to Kirtland, OH (1831), then Missouri (where in Missouri?)(1838), then to Commerce, IL, renamed Nauvoo.
He died at the hands of a mob in Carthage, IL.
His work was carried out by Brigham Young. The wanderings of the Mormons eventually brought them to the territory of Utah (in 1848?).
Author First Forty Years of Washington Society, an important source of information on early Washington social life. A grouping of letters, edited by Gaillard Hunt in 1906, describing life in Washington from the point of view of a Federalist socialite married to a moderate Jeffersonian newspaperman. Descriptions of social events, personalities. One of the favorite sources of historians of that period.
Wife of Samuel H. Smith.
Sources:First Forty Years of Washington Society, DAB
Husband of Margaret Bayard Smith, an important writer on early Washington social life.
Grad U. PA 1787. Published newspapers, beginning 1797 in Philadelphia, but particularly the National Intelligencer, in Washington, at Jefferson's invitation from 1800-1810, when he sold it to "the younger Seaton". In 1828, he was made a director of the Washington branch of the "United States Bank" (DAB XVII/344) (does it mean the same as the 2nd Bank of the United States?).
He first came to Thos. Jefferson's attention by tying for 1st prize from the American Phil.. Soc. for best essay on a system of education and a plan for free public schools (DAB).
Founded and edited the first daily newspaper in Maine, and became famous under the pseudonym "Major Jack Downing", for his sketches, in a broad Maine dialect, in which he pretended to be a close chum of Andrew Jackson, and satirized the goings-on in Washington. Jackson, in complementing Martin Van Buren's wit, pretended to believe that Van Buren wrote the articles.
Journalist, religious enthusiast, Anti-Mason.
Editor of the Albany Register from 1788(?) - 1800 and editor and proprietor from 1808-1814. The Albany Argus was founded in 1813 to eliminate his political influence after he ran afoul of Ambrose Spencer.
Editor of the National Observer (not sure the precise timespan), which he used to promote a run as Anti-masonic candidate for governor in 1828.
Other positions: clerk of the New York assembly 1803-07; clerk of NY Senate 1808. Edited National Democrat 1823-26. Also edited the Christian Visitant from 1815-16, the Plough Boy (agricultural) 1819-23. In his later years he was a proselytizing Christian and moralist.
His main significance is as a prolific historian, who did a remarkable job of finding and publishing collections of correspondence (by George Washington, Gouverneur Morris, Benjamin Franklin, ... and on themes like The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution). Unfortunately, he treated his sources cavalierly in more than one way -- by excessive editing, censoring, and "correcting", as well as by giving away many of the originals to various friends.
He was also the first Unitarian minister in Baltimore, his ordination being the occasion of Wm Ellery Channing's famous sermon, "Unitarian Christianity", but he resigned the ministry in 1823, purchased, on credit of $10,000, the North American Review, edited it for six years and sold it for nearly $20,000.
His historical career began in 1827 when he took on the papers of George Washington.
Born in Willington, CT to a mother of some literary proclivities, and a young farmer. Actually, his paternity is doubtful, or at any rate, he was born May 10, 1789, and his mother married Joseph Sparks only in December of the same year.
For about 10 years, starting about 1795, he was under the care of his "shiftless" (acc. to DAB) uncle, who took him to Washington County, NY in 1800. In 1805 he returned to Willington, acquired a reputation as a genius (particularly interested in astronomy), and in 1809, a scholarship in Phillips Exeter Academy. He then worked his way through Harvard, graduating in 1815 (In 1814, while tutoring in the south he witnessed the plundering of Havre de Grace, MD by the British).
Admitted to the bar in Hudson, NY, in 1788.
"Inspired admiration, respect and often fear ... shifted from Federalist to Republican and elected to council of appointment in 1800".
Served on New York supreme court 1804-1823.
Head of the Republican Party after the War of 1812.
Van Buren and other young Republicans [set out to strip] Spencer of his control of the party. They got Ruggles Hubbard elected to the council of appointment and Nathan Sanford elected to the U.S. Senate. Ruggles was seated with the help of a typically "Magician"-like move; MVB temporarioly kept the Federalist Henry Fellows from being seated (in what position?) because of some improperly marked ballots that favored Fellows (marked "Hen. Fellows"). In the short period before this move was overturned, the Bucktails elected the speaker and council of appointment. Spencer tried to punish Van Buren by backing another candidate for Attorney General, but Van Buren was elected anyway.
(capsule bio on p46 of Cole's MVB...)
Pantheistic (?) philosopher of Dutch Jewish origins. Made his living as a lens grinder. Tried to unify all religion by distilling from religions their most common and important elements.
(b 2/24/84, d 8/18/73) Born in Newburyport, MA. Grandson of Samuel Hopkins. A moderate Presbyterian minister who served at Brick Church in New York from 1810 on.
Classmate (Harvard 1830) and friend of Charles Sumner; became a minister. (Source: Selected Letters .. Sumner, p7 - footnote 1.)
Began making pianos in Germany about 1820; emmigrated to U.S. in 1851 and founded the family's famous piano company in New York 1853.
Georgian lawyer, Whig politician and member of congress from 1843-59, and most notably vice president of the Confederacy. Slight, weighing under a hundred pounds, he always looked as if he were soon to die. He was a Whig member of the House of Representatives when Abraham Lincoln spent his two years there, and they agreed on the wrongs of the Mexican-American War. Lincoln once said Stephens had just made the best speech he had ever heard. Stephens thought that secession was madness, yet he accepted the post of Vice-president. He went with a group to try to negotiate peace in February 1865. After the war, he was imprisoned until October 1865. His state tried to elect him to the Senate in 1866, but the senate would not seat him. From 1873-82 he succeeded in getting into the House of Representatives again. Was made governor of Georgia in 1883, the year he died. Born near Crawfordsville, GA.
After a few years 1826-34) practicing law in New York, he began his wandersings around the world, writing travel books on Egypt, Turkey, Russia, parts of South America, and other places. Born in Shrewsbury, NJ.
Son of John Stevens. Also an early railroader; became treasurer and manager of the Camden and Amboy Railroad and Transportion Company in 1830. Endowed Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. He and his lovely estate on the Hudson River in Hoboken are described in the Phillip Hone's diary.
Patented several important inventions in steamboat engine design, beginning in the 1780s. Build the Pheonix, in 1808, and launched it on its historic cruise from New York to Philadelphia, making it the first ocean-going steamship (it continued to serve as a ferry between Philadelphia and Trenton, NJ). Had two sons, Robert Livingston and Edwin Augustus; both important in early railroading, and the latter of whom endowed Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. Born in New York City.
Son of John Stevens the early steamboat developer and a naval architect himself. Involved in early railroading, making several important inventions in the design of railroad tracks, and instituting the first locomotive railroad service in NJ.
Pennsylvania abolitionist (from Gettysburg, interestingly); a lawyer; member of Congress from 1849 - 53 and 1859 - 68. Instituted and managed the impeachment procedings against Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's Vice-president and successor.
Englishman responsible, both as inventor and businessman, for much of the early development of the railroad. His first steam engine was tried, in 1814, at the Killingworth coal mine. He engineered an 8 mile railway for the Hetton coal mine, which began use in 1822. In 1823, he set up his locomotive works in Newcastle, with the help of relatives. Engineered the Stockton and Darlington, and the Liverpool and Darlington railways, opened in 1825 and 1830 respectively. Designed and built the innovative "Rocket", which was the engine used on the latter railway.
In congress 1821-34; Speaker of the House from 1827-34 (Martin Van Buren, a leader in the Senate at the time, helped to place Stevenson there to thwart a rival New Yorker who might have become Speaker). Minister to Britain 1836-41. Born in Culpeper County VA.
A Tammany boss, Freemason, and a proprieter of the Chatham Garden Theatre in New York. On 2/28/1825, for the benefit of Anne Royall, which gave her $180. (James, Anne Royall's U.S.A., pp134-37)
Irish-born merchant whose small New York dry-goods store, started in 1823, developed into the huge A.T. Sewart & Co.
Naval hero of the raid on Tripoli (celebrated in the Marine's anthem), and the war of 1812. Made a senior flag officer in 1859. Born in Philadelphia
A missionary who helped form Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio near Elyria. Helped fund the college with the procedes from a new type of stove he invented. Born in Sherman, CT.
President of Yale, 1778 - ? A scientific-minded scholar who corresponded with Benjamin Franklin and participated in some of his experiments. Pastor of 2nd Church of Newport, RI, 1755-76; the parsonage he inhabited still stands (p65, Newport Tour Guide). Played an important part in the founding of Brown University.
Grandfather of Jonathan Edwards. Held a doctrine of "allowing professing Christians to take the communion and enjoy other privileges of full membership, even when they were not certain that they were in a state of grace".
Source: Ignatiev, p18, How the Irish ....
Sculptor who settled in Washington DC in 1848. Did bust of Roger B. Taney; statues of Jefferson and John Hancock. Born in Jackson, NY.
Actor and playwright, author of Metamora, or The Last of the Wampanoags -- written to win a $500 prize offered by Edwin Forrest -- in which Forrest performed hundreds of times. The prize was for the "best Tragedy, in five acts, of which the hero, or principal character shall be an aboriginal of this country"; a committee headed by William Cullen Bryant selected Stone's play. It was first performed 12/15/1829 (the author's 29th birthday).
As an actor, he "seems to have specialized in old men's parts". His wife, who had been Mrs. Alelia (Green) Legge, was an actress, best known as "Mrs. Stone", who later married Nathaniel Harrington Bannister. Like other playwrights of the time, he was very poorly remunerated. He died by jumping into the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Described by Charles Durang as "a small man, slight in figure, but genteel".
(Source: DAB, Six Early American Plays, p47ff)
Womans rights and anti-slavery activist. Married Henry Brown Blackwell but did not take his name. Helped form the American Woman Suffrage Association in 1869; funded the founding of Woman's Journal, and edited it with her husband from 1872 - 93. Born near W. Brookfield, MA.
One of the owners of the New York Commercial Advertiser, from 1821-44. In his later years, he helped record the history of the Iroquois Indians. He also wrote an expose of the Matthias affair, and was a harsh critic of Frances Wright, and of his fellow parishioner (at Brick Presbyterian church), Frances Folger.
STORRS, Henry Randolph, (brother of William Lucius Storrs), a Representative from New York; born in Middletown, Conn., September 3, 1787; was graduated from Yale College in 1804; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1807 and commenced practice in Champion, Jefferson County, N.Y.; later practiced in Whitesboro and Utica, N.Y.; elected as a Federalist to the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Congresses (March 4, 1817-March 3, 1821); unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1820; elected to the Eighteenth and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1823-March 3, 1831); chairman, Committee on Naval Affairs (Nineteenth Congress); one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1830 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against James H. Peck, United States judge for the district of Missouri; presiding judge of the court of common pleas of Oneida County 1825-1829; moved to New York City and practiced law; died in New Haven, Conn., July 29, 1837; interment in Grove Street Cemetery.
Source: Biog. Dir. of Am. Congress.
Massachusetts' most prominent early jurist. Associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1811 - 45. Also did much to organize the Harvard Law School and was one of the early professors there, when the court was not in session. Author of many law books. Born in Marblehead, MA.
Author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly, a phenomenal best-seller in its time, which not only sold millions, but was performed as a play all over the world. It did a great deal to convince Americans and others of the evil of slavery. Published as a serial from 1851-2 in an anti-slavery newspaper, The National Era, Washington DC, and as a book (2 vols) in 1852. In 1853, she published A Key To Uncle Tom's Cabin, citing newspaper accounts of true events that had helped inspire events in the novel, so as to defend the book against charges of not being true to life.
The daughter of Lyman Beecher, born and raised in Litchfield CT. She also wrote Oldtown Folks (1869 and 1883), Poganuc People (NY 1878), and The Minister's Wooing (NY 1859), all describing the life she grew up with.
She followed her father, Lyman Beecher, to Cincinnati, OH, in 1833, and in 1836, married Calvin Ellis Stowe. She remained in Cincinnati until 1850. The Ohio River, which divides the free state of Ohio from the (then) slave state of Kentucky, was sometimes cited in those days as an illustration of the evils of slavery. I.e., it was said that going up or down the Ohio, one saw, on the slave side, squalor and poverty, with here and there an opulent mansion, while on the free side, one saw fairly uniform evidences of industry and virtue. At any rate, in Cincinnati, the "Queen City of the West", situated directly across the Ohio from Kentucky, and in visits to the other side of the Ohio, Harriet gained a lot of exposure to slavery. During these years, she published an occasional short story.
Published a book of poetry in 1845, of which some are fairly well known: The Grey Forest Eagle, The Lost Hunter and others, many of them on romantic wilderness themes. From 1848-61 he directed the NY State Library in Albany. Born in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Born in Lunenburg Co, VA, son of Anthony Waddy and Mary (Stokes) Street, his mother being the sister of Montfort Stokes.
In Richmond, met a newspaper editor named John Wood, and they went into partnership in Frankfort, KY, editing a Federalist paper called the Western World.
10/9/1809 - married Eliza Maria (Posey) Thornton, daughter of Thomas Posey. Lost a costly suit for libel, claimed indigence (he had conveyed much of his property to an inlaw), and moved to fronteir Illinois (Shawneetown); became active in politics there, and a Brig. Gen. in the Militia. Starting 1827, he was Indian agent to the Winnebago at Prairie du Chien and Rock Island (the Sauk's former beloved spot). His summons of the Fox and Sauk to a conference in spring 1830 led, unfortunately, to the Fox massacre by the Sioux and Menominee tribes.
Leader of the Greek revival architectural movement in U.S. Designed Washington's sarcophagus at Mount Vernon, the Merchant's exchange in Philadelphia, and the State Capitol of Tennessee in Nashville. Born in Philadelphia.
Represented Pennsylvania in congress 1847 - 51. Served on Supreme Court 1870-80. Lived at other times in Reading, PA.
In Congress 1841-43; Secy of Interior 1850-53. A Union loyalist in the Civil War. Son of Archibald Stuart.
Served in the revolution, and became a leader of conservative Jeffersonians. Judge of the general court of Virginia from 1800 to 1831. Father of Alexander Hugh Holmes Stuart Born near Staunton, VA.
Leader in the movement to abolish slavery in the British possessions (where he was born - in Jamaica). In 1832 he wrote a tract The West India Question: Immediate Emancipation Safe and Practical. After the success of that movememt, he became a lecturer, from 1834-1838, for the American Anti-Slavery Society, in Ohio, New York State and Vermont.
Prior to his anti-slavery career, he was a lieutenant in the service of the British West India Company from 1801-1814.
By 1830, he had already become spent considerable time in the United States, and in 1827, in Utica New York, began a very close friendship with Theodore Weld, which helped establish Weld's commitment to anti-slavery. From some time prior to his meeting with Weld, until 1829, Stuart had been a principal of a boy's school, who roamed the country on his vacations distributing Bibles and religious tracts, and preaching temperance. The following is from Benjamin Thomas Theodore Weld:
Weld called him "a perfect being" - but he was so eccentric that some people thought him crazy. Winter and summer he wore a Scotch plaid frock, with a cape reaching nearly to his elbows. ...so strongly attracted to children that he often stopped to romp and play with them. Like Weld, he had come under Finney's influence and enlisted in his "Holy Band". ... His advice to Weld was in the style of love letters, and their relationship was almost rapturous.
Stuart was grateful that God did not treat the white race according to its deserts. He must have exercised great patience ... to restrain Himself from "breaking up the earth beneath our feet, and dashing us all into sudden hell," for what had been done to the Negro.
Best known for his many paintings of George Washington. Studied under Benjamin West in London in 1776; maintained a studio in London 1787 - 93. Then after a short stay in Ireland, returned to the U.S., where he painted in New York, Philadelphia, Germantown, PA, Washington DC, and Boston (1805-28).
Lincoln's first law partner, and a cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln. Member of congress 1839-43 and 1863-65. As Lincoln's interest in the law began to supplant some of his interest in politics, Lincoln is said to have gone from the politician/lawyer Stuart to Stephen T. Logan, a much more learned, fastidious, and successful lawyer. Born near Lexington, KY.
Professor of sacred literature at Andover Theological Seminary from 1810 - 1848. Strong advocate of the new German scholarship. Born in Wilton, CT.
Fur trader and explorer of the far southwest. Born in Lincoln County, KY
English-born painter, brought to the U.S. at the age of 9. He was established in Philadelphia in 1808, after a short stay in New York. Washington Crossing the Delaware, in the Boston Museum of Art, is one of his best known works.
U.S. Senator from 1851-74, and a leader of of the most extreme wing of the anti-slavery movement.
He was badly beaten with a gold-headed cane by Preston S. Brooks over some remarks against Brooks' uncle when Sumner was railing against the pro-slavery "bushwackers" in Kansas. He was incapacitated for a couple of years, and somewhat feeble thereafter.
Many Southerners applauded Brooks' action, and sent him gifts of gold-headed canes to replace the one he had shatterred over Sumner's head. This shocked and helped radicalize the North, much as sympathy for John Brown helped radicalize the South.
Army officer who acted as territorial governor of New Mexico in 1852; commanded at Fort Leavenworth in the chaos of Kansas in 1856. Rose to major general in the Civil war. Born in Boston.
German-born pioneer who arrived in the U.S. in 1834 and was in Santa Fe New Mexico the next year and the year after that. Founded what was to become Sacramento. Became a Mexican citizen. Gold was discovered on his property in 1848, but his land was overrun by squatters and he never gained anything by it, but was granted a $250 a month pension by the state of California after 1864.
An army officer who rose to Colonel and chief engineer of the army and brevett brigadier general in the War of 1812. Head of West Point from 1816-18. From 1829 - 45 he was a civil engineer, in charge of Great Lakes harbour construction.