Daniel Webster Biography

U.S. Representative, Government Official, Lawyer (1782–1852)
Daniel Webster was an American lawyer and Whig Party leader who served as a congressman and secretary of state.


Daniel Webster was born on January 18, 1782, in Salisbury, New Hampshire. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1801, Webster became a successful lawyer in Boston. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1812, and later, in 1827, won a seat in the U.S. Senate. A leader of the Whig Party—a group that opposed President Andrew Jackson and the Democrats—Webster ran for the U.S. presidency in 1836. Four years later, in 1840, he was named secretary of state by President William Henry Harrison. When Harrison died in 1841 and John Tyler took over the presidency, every Whig Party member of the presidential cabinet but Webster resigned from their post. In 1842, Webster successfully established the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, resolving a dispute between the United States and Great Britain regarding the Maine-Canada border. Webster returned to the position of secretary of state in 1850, when he was appointed by President Millard Fillmore. Among his actions under Fillmore, Webster oversaw the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act. He died in 1852 in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

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