Thomas Corwin

Thomas Corwin

Infobox US Cabinet official
name=Thomas Corwin

title=United States Secretary of the Treasury
term_start=July 23, 1850
term_end=March 6, 1853
predecessor=William M. Meredith
successor=James Guthrie
birth_date=birth date|1794|7|29|mf=y
birth_place=Bourbon County, Kentucky, U.S.
death_date=death date and age|1865|12|18|1794|7|29
death_place=Washington, D.C., U.S.
party=Whig, Republican
spouse=Sarah Ross Corwin
profession=Politician, Lawyer

Thomas Corwin, also known as Tom Corwin and The Wagon Boy (July 29, 1794ndash December 18, 1865) was a politician from the state of Ohio who served as a prosecuting attorney, a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, United States House of Representatives, and United States Senate, and as Governor of Ohio and Secretary of the Treasury.

Corwin, whose brother Moses Bledso Corwin and nephew Franklin Corwin were also U.S. Representatives, was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, and moved with his parents to Lebanon, Ohio, in 1798. During the War of 1812, he served as a wagon boy in General William Henry Harrison's Army.

He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1817, commencing practice in Lebanon; he was prosecuting attorney of Warren County from 1818 to 1828.

In 1822-1823 and 1829, he was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, where he made a spirited speech against the introduction of the whipping post into Ohio.cite book|title=Famous American Statesmen & Orators|editor=Alexander K. McClure|publisher=F. F. Lovell Publishing Company|location=New York|date=1902|volume=VI|pages=43] In 1830 he was elected as a Whig to the U.S. House of Representatives and served from March 4 1831, until his resignation, effective May 30 1840, having become a candidate for Governor of Ohio. Known for his sharp wit, debating skills and endless campaigning, he was elected Governor in 1840, defeating incumbent Wilson Shannon. Shannon defeated Corwin in a rematch just two years later. Corwin was also a member of the United States Senate, having been appointed by the Ohio General Assembly as a Whig and served from March 4 1845 to July 20 1850.

Thomas Corwin, as quoted by Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock --cquote|The world has a contempt for the man who amuses it. You must be solemn, solemn as an ass. All the great monuments on earth have been erected over the graves of solemn asses.

He resigned from the Senate to become President Millard Fillmore's Secretary of the Treasury shortly after the death of President Zachary Taylor. Like his immediate predecessor, William M. Meredith, Corwin believed in a protective tariff, but he did not want to make sudden or drastic changes in the free-trade tariff law of 1846. He objected to that law's provisions, which taxed some imported raw materials at a higher rate than the imported manufactured goods made from those materials, stating in a report to Congress that "such provisions certainly take from the manufacturer and artisan that encouragement which the present law was intended to afford." As a longtime Whig, however, Corwin was unsuccessful in passing any tariff legislation in a Congress controlled by Democrats. He retired as Secretary at the end of Filmore's administration.

He was again elected to the House of Representatives in 1858, and returned to that body as a Republican and served from March 4 1859 to March 12 1861.

He resigned only a few days into the 37th Congress after being appointed by the newly inaugurated President Abraham Lincoln to become Minister to Mexico, where he served until 1864. Corwin, well-regarded among the Mexican public for his opposition to the Mexican-American War while in the Senate, helped keep relations with the Mexicans friendly throughout the course of the Civil War, despite Confederate efforts to sway their allegiances.

After resigning from his post as Minister, he settled in Washington, D.C., and practiced law until his death at age 71. His interment was in Lebanon Cemetery, Lebanon, Ohio.

Thomas Corwin is perhaps best known for his successful sponsorship during the 36th Congress in early 1861 of the proposed Corwin amendment to the United States Constitution which remains to this day technically still pending for ratification before the state legislatures. That amendment would have prohibited any amendments to the Constitution from interfering with slavery in the United States. When it was approved by Congress and sent out to the state legislatures for consideration, it was a last-ditch effort to avert the outbreak of the Civil War.


* [ Information about Thomas Corwin, from the U.S. Treasury Department]

External links


U.S. Senator box
before=Benjamin Tappan
after=Thomas Ewing
alongside=William Allen and Salmon P. Chase
years=March 4, 1845ndash July 20, 1850

NAME= Corwin, Thomas
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Corwin, Tom; The Wagon Boy
SHORT DESCRIPTION=American politician
DATE OF BIRTH=July 29, 1794
PLACE OF BIRTH=Bourbon County, Kentucky
DATE OF DEATH=December 18, 1865
PLACE OF DEATH=Washington, D.C.

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