US Congressman, US Senator. A 1778 graduate of Yale, he was admitted to the bar in 1781 and became a practicising attorney in Litchfield, Connecticut. From the time of the Revolution he served intermittently in the State Militia and eventually attained the rank of Major General. Entering politics at 32, he won a reputation as a sharp-witted debater and his career rise was steady. Tracy was a member of the State General Assembly from 1788 to 1793, serving as Speaker in 1793, and was elected to represent Connecticut at-large in the Third and Fourth Congresses (1793 to 1796). He resigned upon being elected to the US Senate to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Jonathan Trumbull and subsequently won two full terms, serving from 1796 until his death. During his early years in the Capitol he maintained a position as State's Attorney for Litchfield County (1794 to 1799). He was President pro tempore of the Senate during the Sixth Congress. A reactionary Federalist, Tracy was embittered by the decline of his party in the early 1800s. He opposed the Jefferson administration to the point of writing to a colleague, "A change of government [is] certain, and to that change we must wade in blood". In this spirit he became a leader of a failed New England secession movement (1803 to 1804), prompted by the Louisiana Purchase, which he believed would shift the balance of national power to favor the South. He also voted against ratifying the 12th Amendment to the US Constitution, which changed the way US Presidents and Vice Presidents are elected. Tracy died after a long illness. He has the distinction of being the first US Congressman to be buried in what is now Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards