Levi Woodbury: Wikis


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Levi Woodbury

In office
September 20, 1845[1] – September 4, 1851
Preceded by Joseph Story
Succeeded by Benjamin R. Curtis

In office
March 4, 1841 – November 20, 1845
Preceded by Henry Hubbard
Succeeded by Benning W. Jenness

In office
July 1, 1834 – March 3, 1841
President Andrew Jackson (1834-1837)
Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)
Preceded by Roger B. Taney
Succeeded by Thomas Ewing

In office
May 23, 1831 – June 30, 1834
Preceded by John Branch
Succeeded by Mahlon Dickerson

In office
March 4, 1825 – March 3, 1831
Preceded by John Fabyan Parrott
Succeeded by Isaac Hill

In office
June 5, 1823 – June 3, 1824
Preceded by Samuel Bell
Succeeded by David L. Morril

Born December 22, 1789 (1789-12-22)
Francestown, New Hampshire
Died September 4, 1851 (1851-09-05) (aged 61)
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Political party Jacksonian, Democratic
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Tapping Reeve Law School
Religion Presbyterian

Levi Woodbury (December 22, 1789 – September 4, 1851) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was the first Justice to have attended law school.


Life and career

Woodbury was born in Francestown, New Hampshire. He graduated from Dartmouth College, Phi Beta Kappa,[2] in 1809, briefly attended Tapping Reeve Law School in Litchfield, Connecticut, and was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar in 1812.

Woodbury was Justice of New Hampshire state supreme court, 1816-23; Governor of New Hampshire, 1823-24; Speaker of the New Hampshire State House of Representatives, 1825; US Senator from New Hampshire, 1825-31; US Secretary of the Navy under Andrew Jackson, 1831-34; US Secretary of the Treasury under Jackson and Martin Van Buren, 1834-41; served again as Senator from New Hampshire, 1841-45; and Justice of the US Supreme Court, 1845-51. He is one of the few individuals to serve in all three branches of U.S. government and one of three people to have served in all three branches and also served as a U.S. Governor (the other being Salmon P. Chase and James F. Byrnes).

Judge Levi Woodbury

As a U.S. Senator, Woodbury was a dependable Jackson Democrat, and President Jackson appointed him Secretary of the Navy (1831 - 1834) and then Secretary of the Treasury (1834 - 1841). Woodbury successfully worked to end the Second Bank of the United States; like Jackson he favored an "independent" treasury system and "hard money" over paper money. In retrospect, the financial Panic of 1837 and the collapse of speculative land prices were legacies of Woodbury's tenure. After the Panic, Woodbury realised that the US Treasury needed a more secure administration of its own funds than commercial banks supplied, and he backed the act for an "Independent Treasury System" passed by Congress in 1840. It was largely repealed under the new administration the following year, but the foundation was laid for an independent U.S. Treasury, finally established in 1846, under President James K. Polk.

In the 1844 presidential election, Woodbury and the Jackson Democrats supported the Democrats' nomination of Polk. When Polk was elected he promptly named Woodbury an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Woodbury also served as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance during a Special Session of the 29th Congress. His ten day chairmanship is the shortest on record.

Woodbury County, Iowa, the City of Woodbury, Minnesota, Woodbury Avenue in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Woodbury School in Salem, New Hampshire, and the ship USS Woodbury were named in honor of him.

Woodbury was the father-in-law of Montgomery Blair and great-great-grandfather of actor Montgomery Clift.


  • Political, Judicial, and Literary Writings (edited by N. Capen, Boston, 1852)

See also


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Samuel Bell
Governor of New Hampshire
1823 – 1824
Succeeded by
David L. Morril
Preceded by
George Evans
Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance
Succeeded by
John C. Calhoun
South Carolina
Preceded by
Roger B. Taney
United States Secretary of the Treasury
Served under: Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren

July 1, 1834 – March 3, 1841
Succeeded by
Thomas Ewing, Sr.
Military offices
Preceded by
John Branch
United States Secretary of the Navy
May 23, 1831 – June 30, 1834
Succeeded by
Mahlon Dickerson
United States Senate
Preceded by
John F. Parrott
United States Senator (Class 3) from New Hampshire
March 4, 1825 – March 3, 1831
Served alongside: Samuel Bell
Succeeded by
Isaac Hill
Preceded by
Henry Hubbard
United States Senator (Class 2) from New Hampshire
March 4, 1841 – November 20, 1845
Served alongside: Franklin Pierce, Leonard Wilcox
and Charles G. Atherton
Succeeded by
Benning W. Jenness
Legal offices
Preceded by
Joseph Story
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
September 20, 1845 – September 4, 1851
Succeeded by
Benjamin R. Curtis

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LEVI WOODBURY (1789-1851), American political leader, was born at Francestown, New Hampshire, on the 22nd of December 1789. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1809, was admitted to the bar in 1812, and was a judge of the superior court from 1816 to 1823. In1823-1824he was governor of the state, in 1825 was a member and speaker of the state House of Representatives, and in1825-1831and again in 1841-1845 was a member of the U.S. Senate. He was secretary of the navy in 1831-1834, secretary of the treasury in 1834-1841, and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1846 until his death, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on the 4th of September 1851. From about 1825 to 1845 Woodbury was the undisputed leader of the Jacksonian Democracy in New England. See his Writings, Political, Judicial and Literary (3 vols., Boston, 1852), edited by Nahum Capen; and an article in the New England Magazine, new series, xxxvii. p. 658 (February 1908).

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