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Charles Francis Adams. Albumen silver print, c. 1860, by Mathew B. Brady. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Adams, Charles Francis (18 August 1807–21 November 1886), politician and diplomat, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Quincy Adams (1767–1848) and Louisa Catherine Johnson (Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams). In 1827, two years after graduating from Harvard, Adams read law at the office of ...

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Andrews, Israel DeWolf ( May 1813?–17 February 1871), diplomat and politician, was born either in Eastport, Maine, or on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, the son of Israel Andrews and Elizabeth DeWolf. His paternal grandfather had emigrated to Nova Scotia from Danvers, Massachusetts, in 1738. By the time Andrews was four, his family lived in Eastport. Thomas Keefer reported that Andrews was a frontier trader, mostly of contraband, as a young man and that experience sparked his interest in reciprocal trade between the provinces and the United States. His schooling is unknown, but he was a clear, persuasive writer at ease with statistical data, and he moved easily in the journalistic, commercial, and political circles of his time....

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Armstrong, Anne Legendre (27 December 1927–30 July 2008), politician and diplomat, was born Anne Legendre in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Armant Legendre, a coffee importer of Creole heritage, and Olive Legendre. Anne attended the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia, where she was class president and valedictorian, and graduated from Vassar College in 1949. In 1950 she married Tobin Armstrong after meeting him on a visit to the King Ranch in south Texas. Tobin was a prominent rancher, and Anne moved to Kenedy County, Texas, following the marriage, which produced five children. Throughout her career, she maintained a role in the ranch’s affairs....

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Baker, Howard Henry, Jr. (15 Nov. 1925–26 June 2014), politician and diplomat, was born in Huntsville, Tennessee, to Howard Henry Baker, Sr., a lawyer and politician who subsequently served in the US House of Representatives (1951–1964), and Dora Ladd Baker. The Baker family were staunch Presbyterians, members of the Republican Party since the Civil War, and longtime defenders of civil rights for the minority African American population. Young Baker’s paternal grandfather was a prominent judge, and his maternal grandmother was the first female sheriff in Tennessee....

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Bowles, Chester Bliss (05 April 1901–25 May 1986), businessman, politician, and diplomat, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Allen Bowles, a paper manufacturer, and Nellie Harris. His grandfather, Samuel Bowles (1826–1878), a man Chester frequently identified as his inspiration and role model, transformed the Springfield ...

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Breckinridge, Clifton Rodes (22 November 1846–03 December 1932), politician and diplomat, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, the son of John Cabell Breckinridge, a politician and soldier, and Mary Cyrene Burch. Conscious from an early age that he was heir to a great family political dynasty—the Breckinridges of Kentucky—Clifton Breckinridge struggled to live up to that heritage throughout his life....

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Cassius Marcellus Clay. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109862).

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Clay, Cassius Marcellus (19 October 1810–22 July 1903), antislavery politician and diplomat, was born in White Hall, Kentucky, the son of Green Clay, a land speculator, and Sally Lewis. Green Clay was one of the wealthiest landowners and slaveholders in Kentucky, and young Cassius was raised in comfort and affluence. He attended Transylvania University (1829–1831) and Yale College (1831–1832), where he received his bachelor’s degree. After returning to Transylvania to study law in 1832–1833, Clay married Mary Jane Warfield in 1833. The marriage produced ten children....

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Davezac, Auguste Genevieve Valentin ( May 1780–15 February 1851), politician and diplomat, was born in Aux Cayes, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), the son of Jean Pierre Valentin Joseph D’Avezac, a wealthy planter, and Marie Rose Valentine D’Avezac de Castera. Sent to France by his father for education at the military college of La Flèche, he thus escaped the violence of revolution and slave insurrection that wracked his island home in the late 1790s. Early in the nineteenth century he migrated to Virginia, where he engaged briefly in the practice of medicine. He married Margaret Andrews of Accomac County in 1804, before moving on to New Orleans to join his mother and other family members, who had settled there after flight from Saint-Domingue. The number of his children is unknown. The marriage of his sister Louise to ...

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William Lewis Dayton. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-20882).

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Dayton, William Lewis (17 February 1807–01 December 1864), politician and diplomat, was born at Baskingridge, New Jersey, the son of Joel Dayton, a shoemaker, and Nancy Lewis. After attending a local academy, he matriculated at Princeton College, graduating in 1825 as an “ordinary member” of his class. While teaching school he studied law in Somerville and was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1830. In 1833 he married Margaret Elmendorf Van Der Veer; they had seven children....

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Dodge, Augustus Caesar (02 January 1812–20 November 1883), politician and diplomat, was born in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, son of Henry Dodge and Christina McDonald. His father was a soldier and politician, who served the territory and state of Wisconsin as governor, congressional delegate, and U.S. senator. At age fifteen, after minimal formal schooling, young Dodge moved with his family to Galena, Illinois, to take advantage of the prosperity being generated by the lead mining industry in the area. Here he worked at numerous and varied jobs. He was with his father during the Winnebago War and later served him as aide-de-camp during the ...

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Donelson, Andrew Jackson (25 August 1799–26 June 1871), presidential aide, diplomat, and politician, was born near Nashville, Tennessee, the son of Samuel Donelson, who kept a store in partnership with his brother-in-law Andrew Jackson, and Mary Smith. In 1805 Jackson became his namesake’s guardian, Donelson’s father having died and his mother having remarried. Raised at the “Hermitage,” Donelson studied at Cumberland College in Nashville and later at the U.S. Military Academy. In 1820, after only three years, he graduated from West Point, second in his class. He subsequently served Jackson, by then territorial governor of Florida, as aide-de-camp. Donelson left the army in 1822 to study law at Transylvania University in Kentucky. Admitted to the bar the following year, he established a practice in Nashville. In 1824 he married a cousin, Emily Tennessee Donelson, whose dowry included both land and slaves. Establishing their home adjacent to the Hermitage, the couple eventually had four children....

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Eaton, John Henry (18 June 1790–17 November 1856), politician and diplomat, was born in Halifax County, North Carolina, the son of John Eaton, a carriage maker and state assemblyman, and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown). Eaton attended the University of North Carolina in 1803–1804 and then studied law. Circa 1809 he moved to Franklin, Tennessee, where he inherited nearly 5,000 acres of land from his father and became a prosperous planter and lawyer. He married Myra Lewis, a ward of ...

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Eustis, George, Jr. (29 September 1828–15 March 1872), politician and diplomat, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of George Eustis, Sr., and Clarisse Allain. His father, a prominent attorney and Jacksonian Democrat, served as Louisiana attorney general and chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court and was a founder of the Pontchartrain Railroad Company and what became Tulane University. His mother was from a prominent French-speaking Creole family. George, Jr., attended Jefferson College in St. James Parish, Louisiana, and Harvard College (1844–1845) and was admitted to the Louisiana bar....

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Eustis, James Biddle (21 August 1834–09 September 1899), lawyer, politician, and diplomat, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of George Eustis, a wealthy lawyer who served as chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, and Clarisse Allain. The Eustis family had roots in Massachusetts, and after receiving his early education in New Orleans, James studied in Brookline, Massachusetts, the site of the family’s summer home. He earned an LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1854 and returned to his native city, where he was admitted to the bar in 1856. He began the practice of law in his father’s office and soon became a leading figure in the legal profession and in the public life of New Orleans. In 1857 he married Ellen Buckner; they had seven children, five of whom survived infancy....

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Eustis, William (10 June 1753–06 February 1825), politician and diplomat, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Benjamin Eustis, a housewright, and Elizabeth Hill. Eustis graduated from Harvard in 1772 and then studied medicine with Joseph Warren of Boston. During the Revolution, he served as surgeon to Gridley’s and Knox’s artillery regiments and as a hospital surgeon. In 1782, while attached to the General Hospital at West Point, Eustis was among the coterie of disgruntled officers who petitioned Congress over the financial plight of the army. General Washington was able to mollify the discontent with his Newburgh Address and prevented the budding rebellion among his officers. From this officer corps at West Point and Newburgh developed the Society of Cincinnati, which Eustis called a “band of friends and brothers.” He served as vice president of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati from 1786 to 1810 and again in 1820....

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Forsyth, John (22 October 1780–21 October 1841), politician and diplomat, was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the son of Robert Forsyth, a businessman and farmer, and Fanny Johnston Houston. John was reared in Augusta, Georgia, where the Forsyth family had made its home in 1785. In 1799 he graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), returned to Augusta, studied law, and in 1802 started his practice. In May he married Clara Meigs, daughter of ...

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Gerard, James Watson (25 August 1867–06 September 1951), diplomat, politician, and philanthropist, was born in Geneseo, New York, the son of James Watson Gerard, a respected lawyer and author, and Jenny Jones Angel. He studied at Columbia University (A.B., 1890; A.M. in political science, 1891) and the New York Law School (LL.B., 1892). Admitted to the New York bar in 1892, he began a long association with Bowers & Sands, a law firm founded by his grandfather. In 1901 he married Mary “Molly” Daly, daughter of ...