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Silas Wright, Jr.


In office
January 1, 1845 – December 31, 1846
Lieutenant Addison Gardiner
Preceded by William C. Bouck
Succeeded by John Young

In office
January 4, 1833 – November 26, 1844
Preceded by William L. Marcy
Succeeded by Henry A. Foster

Born May 24, 1795(1795-05-24)
Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died August 27, 1847 (aged 52)
Canton, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Profession Politician, Lawyer
Religion Presbyterian

Silas Wright, Jr. (May 24, 1795 – August 27, 1847) was an American Democratic politician. Wright was born in Amherst, Massachusetts and moved with his father to Weybridge, Vermont in 1796. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1815 and moved to Sandy Hill, New York, the next year, where he studied law, being admitted to the bar in 1819. Wright commenced practice in Canton, New York. He served as surrogate of St. Lawrence County 1821-1824 and then as a member of the New York State senate from 1824 to 1827. Wright was appointed brigadier general of the state militia in 1827.

In 1826, he was elected to the Twentieth Congress and served from March 4, 1827, to February 16, 1829, when he resigned. He successfully contested the election of George Fisher to the Twenty-first Congress, but declined to qualify. Wright served as Comptroller of the State of New York from 1829 to 1833, in which post he became a prominent follower of Martin Van Buren and a member of the Albany Regency that ran the state for the Democratic Party in this period. Wright was elected to the United States Senate in 1833 as a Democrat to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William L. Marcy. He was reelected in 1837 and served from January 4, 1833, to November 26, 1844. In the Senate, he served as Chairman of the Finance Committee from 1836 to 1841.

Wright was offered the Democratic vice presidential nomination in 1844, as a sop to followers of Van Buren, who had been disappointed in his hopes for renomination, but declined instead running for the position of Governor of New York. He served as Governor from 1845 to 1846, and was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection, being defeated by the Whig candidate John Young.

Wright died soon after, aged 52, in Canton, on August 27, 1847 and is interred in Old Canton Cemetery.

The people of Weybridge, Vermont erected a monument to their local son and it stands today in the center of town along Route 23. The monument is the basis for the name of the local Monument Farms Dairy.

Publications

  • Lives by Gilet, (Albany, 1874); Hammond, (Syracuse, 1848); Jenkins, (Auburn, 1847)

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Nicoll Fosdick
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 20th congressional district

March 4, 1827 – February 16, 1829
Succeeded by
Joseph Hawkins
Political offices
Preceded by
William L. Marcy
New York State Comptroller
1829 - 1833
Succeeded by
Azariah C. Flagg
United States Senate
Preceded by
William L. Marcy
United States Senator (Class 3) from New York
January 4, 1833 – November 26, 1844
Served alongside: Charles E. Dudley and Nathaniel P. Tallmadge
Succeeded by
Henry A. Foster
Preceded by
Daniel Webster
Massachusetts
Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance
1836-1841
Succeeded by
Henry Clay
Kentucky
Political offices
Preceded by
William C. Bouck
Governor of New York
1845 - 1846
Succeeded by
John Young
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SILAS WRIGHT (1795-1847), American political leader, was born at Amherst, Mass., on the 24th of May 1795. He graduated at Middlebury College, Vermont, in 1815, was admitted to the bar in 1819, and began practice at Canton, in northern New York. He was appointed surrogate of St. Lawrence|St Lawrence county in 1820, and was successively a member of the state Senate in 1824-1826, a member of the national House of Representatives in 1827-1829, comptroller of the state in 1829-1833, U.S. senator in 1833-1844, and governor of New York in 18 441846. During his public life he had become a leader of the Democratic party in New York, Martin Van Buren being his closest associate. He was an influential member of the so-called "Albany Regency," a group of Democrats in New York, including such men as J. A. Dix and W. L. Marcy, who for many years virtually controlled their party within the state. Wright's integrity in office was illustrated in 1845, when the "anti-rent troubles" (see NEW York) broke out and it seemed probable that the votes of the disaffected would decide the coming election. The governor asked and obtained from the legislature the power to suppress the disturbance by armed force, and put an end to what was really an insurrection. When the national Democratic party in 1844 nominated and elected James K. Polk to the presidency, instead of Martin Van Buren, Wright and the state organization took an attitude of armed neutrality towards the new administration. Renominated for governor in 1846, Wright was defeated, and the result was by many ascribed in part to the alleged hostility of the Polk administration. He died at Canton on the 27th of August 1847.

The best biography is that by J. D. Hammond, Life and Times of Silas Wright (Syracuse, N.Y., 1848), which was republished as vol. iii. of that author's Political History of New York.


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