- William L. Marcy
Infobox US Cabinet official
name=William Learned Marcy
United States Secretary of State
March 7, 1853
March 6, 1857
United States Secretary of War
March 6, 1845
March 4, 1849
James K. Polk
George Walker Crawford
office3=Governor of New York
January 1, 1833
December 31, 1838
Enos T. Throop
William H. Seward
Southbridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
death_date=death date and age|1857|07|04|1786|12|12
Ballston Spa, New York, U.S.
Politician, Lawyer, Judge
William Learned Marcy (
December 12, 1786- July 4, 1857) was an American statesman, who served as U.S. Senatorand Governor of New York, and as the U.S. Secretary of War and U.S. Secretary of State.
Macy was born in
Southbridge, Massachusetts. He graduated from Brown University, taught school in Newport, Rhode Island, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1811, and commenced practice in Troy, New York. Marcy served in the War of 1812. Afterwards he was recorder of Troy for several years, but as he sided with the Anti-Clinton faction of the Democratic-Republican Party, known as the Bucktails, he was removed from office in 1818 by his political opponents. He was the editor of the "Troy Budget." On April 28, 1824, he married Cornelia Knower (1801-1889, daughter of Benjamin Knower), and their children were Edmund Marcy (b. ca. 1833) and Cornelia Marcy (1834-1888).
He was the leading member of the
Albany Regency, a group of politicians who controlled the state politics between 1821 and 1838. He was adjutant-generalof the New York militiafrom 1821 to 1823, New York State Comptrollerfrom 1823 to 1829, an associate justice of the New York Supreme Courtfrom 1829 to 1831, and was elected as a Jacksonian Democratto the United States Senate, serving from 1831 to 1833, sitting on the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciaryin the 22nd Congress. He was Governor of New Yorkfor three terms, from 1833 until 1838. In 1838, he was defeated by the Whig candidate William H. Seward, which led to a radical change in state politics and ended the Regency. He was a member of the Mexican Claims Commissionfrom 1839 to 1842. Later he was recognized as one of the leaders of the Hunkers, the conservative, office-seeking, and pro-slavery faction of the Democratic Party in New York.
Marcy served as
United States Secretary of Warin the Cabinet of President James K. Polkfrom 1845 until 1849, at which time he resumed the practice of law. After 1849, Marcy led the "Soft" faction of the Hunkers that supported reconciliation with the Barnburners, and in this role sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1852, but was unsuccessful, in part due to "Hard" opposition led by Daniel S. Dickinson.
Marcy returned to public life in 1853 to serve as
United States Secretary of Stateunder President Franklin Pierce. According to the 1911 " Encyclopædia Britannica", "His circular of the 1st of June 1853 to American diplomatic agents abroad, recommending that, whenever practicable, they should appear in the simple dress of an American citizen, created much discussion in Europe; in 1867 his recommendation was enacted into a law of Congress." He also resolved the Koszta Affair, and negotiated the Gadsden Purchase.
He died at
Ballston Spa, New York, and was buried at the Rural Cemetery at Albany, New York.
Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York, and the Town of Marcy in Oneida County, are named after him.
* [http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/mara-margolis.html] Political Graveyard
* [http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/sw-sa/Marcy.htm Army biography]
* [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~knower/benjstem.htm Knower genealogy, at rootsweb]
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