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John Forsyth (1834–1837) - Secretary of State

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John Forsyth was born October 22, 1780, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and graduated from the College of New Jersey (Princeton) in 1799. He studied law and was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1802. Forsyth was appointed Georgia's attorney general in 1808 and served his state in the U.S. House of Representatives (1813-1818). He was then elected to Senate (1818-1819) before serving the administration of President James Monroe as minister plenipotentiary to Spain (1819 -1823). Forsyth returned to the Senate (1823-1827) before becoming Governor of Georgia (1827-1829). He would go on to serve as secretary of state in the presidential administrations of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren (1834-1841), before dying, in Washington, D.C., on October 21, 1841.

For further reading: Duckett, Alvin. John Forsyth: Political Tactician. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1962.

Bemis, Samuel Flagg, and Robert Ferrell eds. The American Secretaries of State and Their Diplomacy. 19 vols. New York: Cooper Square Publishers, 1963-1980.

Citation Information

Consulting Editor

Daniel Feller

Professor Feller is a history professor and the Editor/Director of The Papers of Andrew Jackson at the University of Tennessee. His writing include:

The Jacksonian Promise: America, 1815–1840 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995)

The Public Lands in Jacksonian Politics (University of Wisconsin Press, 1984)