William L. Marcy (1853–1857) - Secretary of State [cite this] ↑Franklin Pierce Home Page William Learned Marcy was born in 1786 in Worcester County, Massachusetts. He graduated from Brown University in 1808, studied the law, was admitted to the New York state bar, and opened a law practice in Troy, New York. During the War of 1812, Marcy became an ensign in the 155th New York Regiment and distinguished himself in battle before returning home to resume his law practice. Over the next fifteen years, Marcy served as Troy’s city recorder, as an adjutant-general of the state, as comptroller of the state, and as an associate justice on the state supreme court. In 1831, Marcy won a seat in the United States Senate but resigned it after only two years to serve as New York’s governor. He served three terms in Albany before losing the election of 1838. He was then tapped by President Martin Van Buren to join the Mexican Claims Commission. After returning to his law practice in 1842, Marcy worked for only two years as an attorney before President James K. Polk nominated him to head the War Department. Marcy accepted the cabinet position and served as secretary of war from 1845 to 1849. Though he returned to New York following that stint, Marcy was back in Washington, D.C., within four years, this time serving in President Franklin Pierce’s cabinet as secretary of state. After leaving office in March 1857, William Learned Marcy died four months later in July 1857. Franklin Pierce Essays Life in Brief Life Before the Presidency Campaigns and Elections Domestic Affairs Foreign Affairs Life After the Presidency Family Life The American Franchise Impact and Legacy [ print all essays ] Franklin Pierce Home Citation Information Consulting Editor Jean H. Baker Professor Baker is a professor of history at Goucher College. Her writings include: Sisters: The Lives of America’s Suffragists (Hill and Wang, 2005) James Buchanan (Times Life Books, 2004) The Civil War and Reconstruction (Co-authored with Michael F. Holt and David Herbert Donald, W.W. Norton, 2001) American President has changed! Click here to take a short survey and tell us what you think!