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George W. Campbell

From Academic Kids

George Washington Campbell (February 9, 1769February 17, 1848) was an American statesman.

Born in Scotland, he immigrated to North Carolina in 1772 with his parents. He graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1794 and began studying law. He was admitted to the bar in North Carolina and began practicing in Knoxville, Tennessee.

He was elected the Congressman at-large from Tennessee in 1803, serving until 1809 (the 8th, 9th and 10th Congresses). During the 10th Congress he was the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means. He was also one of the managers appointed in 1804 to conduct the impeachment hearings for John Pickering, judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire, and later in the same year, the impeachment hearings against Samuel Chase, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

He left Congress in 1809 when he became a state Supreme Court judge, serving through 1811.

He served as a United States Senator from Tennessee twice, once from 1811 to 1814, having been elected to fill the seat of Jenkin Whiteside, and again from 1815 to 1818. His first service was from October 8, 1811 to February 11, 1814, when he resigned to accept appointment as the United States Secretary of the Treasury. He returned to the Senate on October 10, 1815. During the 15th Congress he was the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, resigning again on April 20, 1818 on this occasion to accept appointment as ambassador to Russia.

As Treasury Secretary, a Presidential Cabinet position to which he was appointed by James Madison, he faced national financial disorder brought on by the War of 1812. Congress had failed to recharter the First Bank of the United States after its charter expired in 1811, and appropriations for the war were unavailable, so Campbell had to convince Americans to buy government bonds. He was forced to meet to lenders terms, selling government bonds at exorbitant interest rates. In September, 1814 the British occupied Washington, D.C. and the credit of the government was lowered even further. Campbell was unsuccessful in his efforts to raise money through additional bond sales and he resigned that October after only eight months in office, disillusioned and in bad health.

He was the U.S. ambassador to Russia from 1818 until 1821, and a member of the French Spoilation Claims Commission in 1831.

He died in 1848 and is buried at Nashville City Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.

Campbell County, Tennessee is named in his honor.

This article incorporates facts obtained from the public domain Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.


Preceded by:
Albert Gallatin
United States Secretary of the Treasury
1814
Succeeded by:
Alexander J. Dallas

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