William Vans Murray

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Portrait (1787), oil on canvas, of William Vans Murray (1760–1803), by Mather Brown (1761–1831)

William Vans Murray (February 9, 1760 – December 11, 1803) was an American lawyer, politician, and statesman. He served in the Maryland House of Delegates (1788–1790). He next was elected to the US House of Representatives from the fifth district of Maryland, serving from 1791 until 1793. He then represented the eighth district from 1793 to 1797. Murray was appointed the U.S. Minister (ambassador) to the Netherlands from 1797 until 1801. He supported the U.S. mission to France in peace negotiations.

Early life and education[edit]

William Vans Murray was born at Glasgow in Cambridge, Maryland, where he lived much of his life. In 1784, as a law student in London, Murray wrote in defense of state government in the United States of America. This eventually ran to a series of six essays, which were published in Philadelphia during the Constitutional Convention. Murray rejected the notion, advanced by Montesquieu among others, that virtue was the root of democracy. He addressed his essays to John Adams, then assigned to London as the United States ambassador, and of whom Murray was a "political disciple."[1]

Career[edit]

Murray represented the area of Cambridge when elected to the state legislature (1788–1790). He next was elected to the US House of Representatives from Maryland's Fifth District (1791–1793). He served another four years representing what was then the eighth district.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992.

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Gale
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 5th congressional district

1791–1793
Succeeded by
Samuel Smith
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 8th congressional district

1793–1797
Succeeded by
John Dennis
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Quincy Adams
U.S. Minister to the Netherlands
1797–1801
Succeeded by
William Eustis