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William H. Crawford: Wikis


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William Harris Crawford

In office
October 22, 1816 – March 6, 1825
President James Madison (1816-1817)
James Monroe (1817-1825)
Preceded by Alexander J. Dallas
Succeeded by Richard Rush

In office
August 1, 1815 – October 22, 1816
President James Madison
Preceded by James Monroe
Succeeded by John C. Calhoun

Born February 24, 1772(1772-02-24)
Amherst County, Virginia, U.S.
Died September 15, 1834 (aged 62)
Crawford, Georgia, U.S.
Political party Democratic-Republican
Profession Lawyer, Politician, Judge, Farmer, Teacher

William Harris Crawford (February 24, 1772 – September 15, 1834) was an American politician and judge during the early 19th century. He served as United States Secretary of War from 1815 to 1816 and United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1816 to 1825, and was a candidate for President of the United States in 1824.


Political career

In 1803, Crawford was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives as a member of the Democratic-Republican Party. In 1807, Crawford joined the 10th United States Congress mid-term as the junior U.S. Senator from Georgia when the Georgia legislature elected him to replace George Jones, an appointee who had held the office for a few months after the death of Abraham Baldwin.

Crawford was elected President pro tempore in 1811. When Vice President George Clinton died on April 20, 1812, Crawford, as President pro tempore, became "Acting Vice President" until March 4, 1813.

In 1813, President James Madison appointed Crawford as the U.S. minister to France during the waning years of the First French Empire; Crawford held that ministerial post until 1815, shortly after the end of the War of 1812.

Upon Crawford's return, Madison appointed him as Secretary of War. After slightly more than a year of satisfactory service in that post (and after disclaiming interest in the 1816 Democratic-Republican nomination for President), Crawford moved within the Cabinet to become Secretary of the Treasury. He remained in that position through the rest of Madison's term and Monroe's entire administration which ended in 1825.

Crawford was again a leading candidate for the Democratic-Republican presidential nomination in 1824, but a massive stroke in 1823 ended his chances. The Democratic-Republican Party split apart that year, and one of the splinter groups nominated Crawford. Despite Crawford's improved health (and the support of former presidents Madison and Thomas Jefferson), he finished third in the electoral vote, behind John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. He thus was still in the running when the Presidential election ended up in the House of Representatives, but his stroke made him a non-factor there.

Refusing Adams's request that he remain at the Treasury, Crawford then returned to Georgia, where he was appointed as a state superior court judge. Crawford remained an active judge until his death a decade later.

Personal life

Crawford was born in Amherst County, Virginia, but his family moved south to Appling County, Georgia, when he was a boy. As a young man, he worked as a farmer and a schoolteacher for about 10 years, then began to practice law in Lexington, Georgia, in 1799.

His cousin George W. Crawford served as Secretary of War under President Zachary Taylor.

Crawford was buried in Crawford Cemetery in Crawford, Georgia.

The 50 cent treasury note bearing Crawford's portrait.


The town of Crawfordsville, Indiana, as well as Crawford County, Illinois; Crawford County, Indiana, Crawford County, Iowa; Crawford County, Missouri; Crawford County, Arkansas; Crawford County, Michigan; Crawford County, Wisconsin; Crawfordville, Georgia; Crawford County, Georgia, and Crawford, Georgia are named for Crawford. Crawford is buried in Crawford, Georgia.

In 1875, Crawford appeared on the 50 cent bill.


  • Garraty, John A. and Mark C. Carnes. American National Biography, vol. 5, "Crawford, William Harris". New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.

External Link

United States Senate
Preceded by
George Jones
United States Senator (Class 2) from Georgia
Served alongside: John Milledge, Charles Tait
Succeeded by
William B. Bulloch
Honorary titles
Preceded by
John Pope
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
March 24, 1812–March 23, 1813
Succeeded by
Joseph Bradley Varnum
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Joel Barlow
U.S. Minister to France
Succeeded by
Albert Gallatin
Political offices
Preceded by
James Monroe
United States Secretary of War
Succeeded by
John C. Calhoun
Preceded by
Alexander J. Dallas
United States Secretary of the Treasury
Served under: James Madison, James Monroe

Succeeded by
Richard Rush
Party political offices
Preceded by
James Monroe
Democratic-Republican Party presidential candidate(1)
1824 (lost)
Succeeded by
Notes and references
1. The Democratic-Republican Party split in 1824, fielding four separate candidates: Crawford, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Henry Clay.


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