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 George Sewall Boutwell

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George Sewall Boutwell

  • Birth 28 Jan 1818 Brookline, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 27 Feb 1905 Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Burial Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Memorial ID 7087408

US Congressman, US Senator, Massachusetts Governor, Presidential Cabinet Secretary. Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in his teens he contributed to the support of his family by working as a mercantile clerk. Though his schooling was limited, to advance himself he left his home in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, to work in a store in Groton. There he began a program of self-education and wrote political articles for newspapers. He was an antislavery Democrat in the Massachusetts state legislature, where his humble beginnings and acumen in journalism helped him gain popularity with the Free Soil party and much of the liberal Massachusetts public. Seven terms in the state house and a Free Soil-Democratic coalition won him the governorship in 1851. He also served as a member of the board of overseers of Harvard University. Later embracing the young Republican party, he won a Federal appointment on Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency. On July 17, 1862, he was made commissioner of internal service. He invented an internal revenue service (not the one known today) and the following year wrote A Manual of the Direct and Excise Tax System of the United States. He was one of the more practical men among the Radical Republicans then beginning to influence national government and, along with Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, knew Radical war aims would never be fully realized without adequate financing. His success in upholding this position won him recognition and election to Congress in 1863. In the House he worked with the Radical wing of his party for war and reconstruction legislation that was punitive to former slave states slowly being brought back under Federal control. At the end of the war, a member of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, he opposed President Andrew Johnson over postwar policy toward the South. His long postbellum career was memorable for his part in Johnson's impeachment hearings (where he was one of the 7 managers of the prosecution's case); his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury under President Ulysses S. Grant; his term in the United States Senate, filling the vacancy caused by the resignation of Henry Wilson; his revision and codification of United States statutes; and his leaving the Republican party in 1898 over its position on annexation of the Philippine Islands. In 1884 he declined the job as Secretary of the Treasury offered by President Chester Arthur. When he died he was president of the Anti-Imperialist League, an organization opposed to the United States handling of recent Spanish territorial gains.

Bio by: Ugaalltheway


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 16 Jan 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7087408
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for George Sewall Boutwell (28 Jan 1818–27 Feb 1905), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7087408, citing Groton Cemetery, Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .