War of 1812 Brigadier General, Presidential Cabinet Secretary, US Diplomat, Michigan Territorial Governor, US Senator. Born in Exeter, New Hampshire, he moved to Ohio at age 18, where he read law and eventually entered the Ohio Bar Association. During the War of 1812 he was commissioned as Brigadier General, and led his men at the October 5, 1813 Battle of the Thames. On October 29, 1813 he was appointed by President James Madison as Governor of the Michigan Territory, a post he would serve in for the next eighteen and a half years. Mid way though 1831 he was appointed by President Andrew Jackson as United States Secretary of War, replacing John Henry Eaton, who had resigned in the face of a social scandal. He served in the post until 1836, and his tenure was marked by President Jackson's removal of Native Americans from eastern areas that is epitomized by the "Trail of Tears", the 1832 Black Hawk war, and the Seminole Wars in Florida. In 1836 he was appointed as United States Minister to France, serving in that duty until he was elected as a United States Senator from Michigan to the United States Senate in 1845. In 1848 he resigned to run for United States President, losing the election to Zachary Taylor in 1848. Re-elected to the United States Senate, he served again from Michigan from 1849 to 1857, when James Buchanan appointed him United States Secretary of State. Mired in the sectional crisis that gripped the nation in that time, he eventually resigned his post in December 1860 in protest over President Buchanan's refusal to re-enforce the threatened United States Army garrison in Charleston, South Carolina, and his refusal to protect American interests militarily. He remained on the sidelines during the subsequent Civil War, and died in Detroit, Michigan in 1866.
Bio by: RPD2