Webster, Daniel

Born: 1782-01-18 Salisbury, New Hampshire

Died: 1852-10-24 Marshfield, Massachusetts

Born in Salisbury, New Hampshire, Daniel Webster studied law at Dartmouth College and was admitted to the bar in 1805. He then embarked on what would become one of the most significant legal careers in American history, arguing numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. This not only gave him a reputation as a highly competent lawyer but also as one of the most effective public speakers in the nation.

His political career began with his election to the U.S. House of Representatives from New Hampshire in 1813 and then from Massachusetts in 1823. From 1827 to 1850 he served as a U.S. Senator, except from 1841 to 1843 when he was appointed Secretary of State under John Tyler - a position which he held again from 1850 to 1852 under Millard Fillmore. As Secretary of State he most notably negotiated the Webster-Ashburton Treaty with Britain in 1842 and opened American diplomatic relations with China and Japan.

Politically, he began his career as a Federalist, opposing the Embargo Act and the War of 1812, but eventually moved into the Whig Party. He initially opposed the high tariffs and pro-industrial policies of the Whigs, but came to support them as he became involved in the party. He was also a firm believer in the perpetual nature of the American Union, opposed the principle of nullification, and supported the Compromise of 1850.

He died at his home in Marshfield, Massachusetts, on October 24, 1852.

Maurice G. Baxter, One and Inseparable: Daniel Webster and the Union (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1984); Irving H. Bartlett, Daniel Webster (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1978).