James Ross (Pennsylvania politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
James Ross
James Ross (politician) by Charles P. Filson (cropped).JPG
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
March 1, 1799 – December 1, 1799
Preceded by John Laurance
Succeeded by Samuel Livermore
United States Senator
from Pennsylvania
In office
April 24, 1794 – March 4, 1803
Preceded by Albert Gallatin
Succeeded by Samuel Maclay
Personal details
Born (1762-07-12)July 12, 1762
Delta, Pennsylvania
Died November 27, 1847(1847-11-27) (aged 85)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Political party Federalist

James Ross (July 12, 1762 – November 27, 1847) was a lawyer who represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate from 1794 to 1803.

Biography[edit]

Born near Delta, York County, Pennsylvania, he was the son of Joseph and Jane (Graham) Ross. At eighteen, after having received a classical education, he moved to Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and taught at what would become Washington and Jefferson College. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1784 focusing on land law. A Federalist, he was a member of the convention that drafted a new constitution for Pennsylvania in 1789-1790.[1]

President George Washington appointed him to negotiate with the rebels of the Whiskey Rebellion, successfully defusing the situation without violence.[2] On April 1, 1794, the Pennsylvania legislature elected him to the United States Senate to replace Albert Gallatin, who was removed by the legislature. There, he authored a new law for the public lands and fought President Thomas Jefferson's administration. He was elected to a second term in the Senate in 1797.

In 1800, with the 1800 Presidential Election on the horizon, Ross introduced a controversial bill whereby, after the electoral votes were counted in Congress, the ballots would be turned over to a committee chaired by the Chief Justice and consisting of twelve members, six from each house of Congress. The committee, acting behind closed doors, would be able to discard electoral votes deemed fraudulent after investigation. A group of horrified Republican Senators leaked the bill to arch-Republican Philadelphia printer William Duane, who published the contents in his Aurora on February 19, 1800. The Federalists quickly dropped the bill.[3]

On January 15, 1803, amidst the controversies over Spain's revocation of the American right of deposit at New Orleans and French acquisition of Louisiana, Ross moved to afford Jefferson the ability to raise 50,000 troops to seize New Orleans. Jefferson did not want to have to use these troops, but the motion gave United States Minister to France Robert R. Livingston leverage in his negotiations, which resulted in the Louisiana Purchase.[4]

He ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Pennsylvania in 1799,[5] 1802,[6] and 1808.[7]

During the late 1810s he is listed as the Pittsburgh City Council President.

He died in Allegheny, which is now part of Pittsburgh. Ross Street in Downtown Pittsburgh (bordering the Pittsburgh City-County Building and the Allegheny County Courthouse), the Pittsburgh suburb of Ross Township, the Fox Chapel borough street James Ross Place, and Ross County, Ohio, are named in his honor.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sanford W. Higginbotham, The Keystone in the Democratic Arch: Pennsylvania Politics, 1800-1816 (Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1952), p. 19.
  2. ^ Sanford W. Higginbotham, The Keystone in the Democratic Arch: Pennsylvania Politics, 1800-1816 (Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1952), p. 19.
  3. ^ Ray Walters, Alexander James Dallas, Lawyer, Politician, Financier, 1759-1817(New York: De Capo Press, 1969), pp. 92-95.
  4. ^ George Dangerfield, Chancellor Robert R. Livingston of New York, 1746-1813 (New York: Harcourt, 1960), pp. 350-57.
  5. ^ Sanford W. Higginbotham, The Keystone in the Democratic Arch: Pennsylvania Politics, 1800-1816 (Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1952), p. 26.
  6. ^ Sanford W. Higginbotham, The Keystone in the Democratic Arch: Pennsylvania Politics, 1800-1816 (Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1952), p. 46.
  7. ^ Sanford W. Higginbotham, The Keystone in the Democratic Arch: Pennsylvania Politics, 1800-1816 (Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1952), pp. 155-75.

External links[edit]

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Albert Gallatin
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Pennsylvania
1794–1803
Served alongside: Robert Morris, William Bingham, J. Peter Muhlenberg, George Logan
Succeeded by
Samuel Maclay
Political offices
Preceded by
John Laurance
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
March 1, 1799 – December 1, 1799
Succeeded by
Samuel Livermore