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William H. Crawford: A Featured Biography


Image of William Crawford

A well-known and respected politician of the early nineteenth century who was twice considered for president of the United States, William H. Crawford (1772-1834) of Georgia served in the Senate from 1807 to 1813. Crawford gained national recognition for his opposition to President Thomas Jefferson’s embargo against Great Britain and France in 1807 and for his support for a rechartered First Bank in 1811. Despite being on the losing side of both of those debates, Crawford’s principled positions and eloquent arguments led to his election as the Senate’s president pro tempore in 1812. Reluctant in his support for the War of 1812, Crawford at first declined President James Madison’s offer to serve as secretary of war, choosing instead appointment as America’s minister to France in 1813. In 1815 he accepted the nomination as secretary of war and also served as secretary of treasury under Presidents Madison and Monroe. Crawford returned to Georgia in 1827, spending his final years as a circuit court judge.