Romulus Mitchell Saunders

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Romulus Mitchell Saunders (3 March 1791 – 21 April 1867) was an American politician from North Carolina.

Saunders was born near Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina. He was the son of William Saunders and Hannah Mitchell Saunders, attended Hyco and Caswell Academies and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was a lawyer, legislator, Speaker of the North Carolina House of Commons, U.S. Representative from 1821 to 1827, North Carolina Attorney General, North Carolina Superior Court Judge, and the unsuccessful Democratic Party nominee for Governor in 1840 (losing soundly to John Motley Morehead). President James K. Polk appointed him minister to Spain (1846–1849).

Saunders served on the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees for forty-five years. Saunders first married Rebecca Peine Carter on 27 December 1812. They had five children-James, Thomas Franklin, Camillus, Anne Pine and Rebecca. After her death, he married Anne Heyes Johnson (daughter of Supreme Court Justice William Johnson (judge)) on 26 May 1823. They had six children—Louis McLane, William Johnson, Sarah E.,Margaret Madeline, Jane Claudia, and Julia A. His daughter, Jane Claudia Saunders Johnson, was the wife of Confederate General Bradley Tyler Johnson.) He died 21 April 1867, and is buried in the Old City Cemetery, Raleigh, North Carolina.

According to biographer H. G. Jones, "He was a man of considerable ability and talent, but he was rough-hewn in his appearance and speech, often intemperate in his statements, and intensely partisan in his associations. He was popular among the rank-and-file Democrats, but his inveterate pursuit of public office eventually diminished his influence among party leaders."

Saunders Hall on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill is often thought to have been named after Romulus M. Saunders. Instead, it is named for William L. Saunders.

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Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Washington Irving
U.S. Minister to Spain
1846–1849
Succeeded by
Daniel M. Barringer