Pierre Soulé

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Pierre Soulé
United States Senator
from Louisiana
In office
January 21, 1847 – March 3, 1847
March 3, 1849 – April 11, 1853
Preceded by Alexander Barrow
Henry Johnson
Succeeded by Solomon W. Downs
John Slidell
Personal details
Born (1801-08-31)August 31, 1801
Castillon-en-Couserans, France
Died March 26, 1870(1870-03-26) (aged 68)
New Orleans, Louisiana, US
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Henrietta Armantine Mercier
Profession Politician, Lawyer

Pierre Soulé (August 31, 1801 – March 26, 1870) was a US politician and diplomat from Louisiana during the mid-19th century. He is best known for his role in writing the Ostend Manifesto, which was written in 1854 as part of an attempt to annex Cuba to the United States. Southern slaveholders were interested in expanding their territory to the Caribbean and into Central America. The Manifesto was roundly denounced, especially by anti-slavery elements, and Soulé also was severely criticized.

Pierre Soulé

Early life and education[edit]

Soulé was born in 1801 Castillon-en-Couserans, a village in the French Pyrénées. He was exiled from France as a young man for revolutionary activities, allowed to return, then imprisoned several years later for his continued opposition to the government. In 1825 he escaped prison, and fled first to Great Britain, then to Haiti, and finally to the United States. He settled in New Orleans and became a lawyer.

In 1847, Soulé sat briefly in the United States Senate as a Democrat elected by the state legislature. He was returned to the Senate, serving from 1849 to 1853. He resigned to take an appointment as U.S. Minister to Spain, a post he held until 1855.

In late 1852, while in Washington, D.C., he provided some support and assistance to the agent responsible for rescuing Solomon Northup.[1]

Soulé opposed Southern secession before the American Civil War, but supported his state, Louisiana, after the war began. In 1861, he supported the organization of the Allen Rifles and gave an impassioned speech at a big barbecue in Thibodaux in Lafourche Parish.[2]

On May 18, 1861, Soulé was captured by Federal troops, charged with "plotting treason against the United States government," and imprisoned in Fort Warren, Massachusetts.[3] Soulé was able to escape back into Confederate territory.

After the war ended in 1865, he went into exile in Havana. He eventually returned, and he died in New Orleans.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Solomon Northrup, Twelve Years a Slave, Darby and Miller, Buffalo, 1854, page 196.
  2. ^ John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, p. 76
  3. ^ Winters, p. 133
United States Senate
Preceded by
Alexander Barrow
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Louisiana
January 21, 1847 – March 3, 1847
Served alongside: Henry Johnson
Succeeded by
Solomon W. Downs
Preceded by
Henry Johnson
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Louisiana
March 3, 1849 – April 11, 1853
Served alongside: Solomon W. Downs and Judah P. Benjamin
Succeeded by
John Slidell
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Daniel M. Barringer
United States Ambassador to Spain
April 7, 1853 – February 1, 1855
Succeeded by
Augustus C. Dodge