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Andrew Stevenson

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Dec 16, 2021

Andrew Stevenson (January 21, 1784 – January 25, 1857) was a Democraticpolitician in the United States. He served in the United States House of Representatives representing Virginia, as Speaker of the House, and as Minister to the United Kingdom.

American politician (1784–1857)
For other people named Andrew Stevenson, see Andrew Stevenson (disambiguation).
Andrew Stevenson
United States Minister to the United Kingdom
In office
July 13, 1836  October 21, 1841
President Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
Preceded by Aaron Vail (as chargé d’affaires)
Succeeded by Edward Everett
11th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
December 3, 1827  June 2, 1834
Preceded by John W. Taylor
Succeeded by John Bell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia‘s 11th district
In office
March 4, 1833  June 2, 1834
Preceded by John M. Patton
Succeeded by John Robertson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia‘s 9th district
In office
March 4, 1823  March 3, 1833
Preceded by William Lee Ball
Succeeded by William P. Taylor
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia‘s 23rd district
In office
March 4, 1821  March 3, 1823
Preceded by John Tyler
Succeeded by None; district eliminated
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Richmond City
In office
January 1819  December 3, 1821
Preceded by John Robertson
Succeeded by Jacqueline B. Harvie
In office
December 4, 1809  November 11, 1816
Preceded by William Wirt
Succeeded by John Robertson
Personal details
Born (1784-01-21)January 21, 1784
Culpeper County, Virginia
Died January 25, 1857(1857-01-25) (aged 73)
Albemarle County, Virginia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)
    Mary Page White

    (m. 1809; died 1812)

      Sarah Coles

      (m. 1816; died 1848)

        Mary Schaff

        (m. 1849)

        Children John White Stevenson
        Alma mater The College of William & Mary
        Profession Law

        . . . Andrew Stevenson . . .

        Andrew Stevenson was born in Culpeper County, Virginia on January 21, 1784. He was the son of James Stevenson (1739–1809) and Frances Arnette (née Littlepage) Stevenson (1750–1808).

        He was educated at the College of William and Mary, studied law, and attained admission to the bar in 1809. Stevenson practiced in Richmond.[1]

        Stevenson was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1809 to 1816 and 1818 to 1821. He served as Speaker of the House of Delegates from 1812 to 1815. In 1814 and 1816, he was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress.[1]

        In 1820, Stevenson won election to the 17th U.S. Congress as a Democratic-Republican. When the party fragmented during the contentious 1824 presidential election, he first aligned himself with the Crawford faction during the 18th Congress, and then, for the remainder of his time in Congress, identified with the Jacksonians.[1] He was elected Speaker of the House on December 3, 1827, the opening day of the 20th Congress. Reelected three times (1829, 1831 and 1833) he served until his resignation on June 2, 1834.[2]

        Sarah Coles, Stevenson’s second wife

        In June 1834, Stevenson resigned from Congress to accept appointment from Andrew Jackson as Minister to the United Kingdom. In June of that year, the United States Senate denied him confirmation by a vote of 23 to 22.[3] Jackson’s opponents in Congress argued that Jackson had offered Stevenson the appointment in 1833, and that when Congress convened later that year, Stevenson had organized the House, including committee assignments and chairmanships, in accordance with Jackson’s preferences. In the Anti-Jacksonian view, this amounted to a quid pro quo that allowed executive branch interference with the prerogatives of the legislative branch. Following his denial by the Senate, he returned to Virginia and resumed the practice of law and in addition, he presided over the 1835 Democratic National Convention.[1]

        In February 1836, PresidentAndrew Jackson renominated Stevenson for Minister to Great Britain. The second time around, he was confirmed 26 votes to 19, and served from 1836 to 1841.[3]

        His term as Minister to the United Kingdom was marked by controversy: the abolitionist cause was growing in strength, and some sections of public opinion resented the choice of Stevenson, who was a slaveowner, for this role.[4] The Irish statesman Daniel O’Connell was reported to have denounced Stevenson in public as a slave breeder, generally thought to be a more serious matter than simply being a slaveowner.[5] Stevenson, outraged, challenged O’Connell to a duel, but O’Connell, who had a lifelong aversion to dueling, refused, and suggested that he had been misquoted. The controversy became public and the repeated references to slave breeding caused Stevenson a good deal of embarrassment; there was a widespread view that if O’Connell’s charges were false Stevenson would have done better to simply ignore them rather than engaging in a public squabble.[6]

        . . . Andrew Stevenson . . .

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        . . . Andrew Stevenson . . .