John Forsyth (Georgia)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John Forsyth
13th United States Secretary of State
In office
July 1, 1834 – March 4, 1841
President Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
Preceded by Louis McLane
Succeeded by Daniel Webster
33rd Governor of Georgia
In office
November 7, 1827 – November 4, 1829
Preceded by George M. Troup
Succeeded by George R. Gilmer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1813 – November 23, 1818
Preceded by New appointment
Succeeded by Robert R. Reid
In office
March 4, 1823 – March 3, 1827
Preceded by Robert R. Reid
Succeeded by converted to districts
United States Senator
from Georgia
In office
November 23, 1818 – February 17, 1819
Preceded by George Troup
Succeeded by Freeman Walker
In office
November 9, 1829 – June 27, 1834
Preceded by John M. Berrien
Succeeded by Alfred Cuthbert
12th Attorney General of Georgia
In office
Preceded by John Hamil
Succeeded by Alexander M. Allen
Personal details
Born (1780-10-22)October 22, 1780
Fredericksburg, Virginia, U.S.
Died October 21, 1841(1841-10-21) (aged 60)
Washington D.C., U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Clara Meigs Forsyth
Alma mater College of New Jersey
Profession Politician, Lawyer

John Forsyth Sr. (October 22, 1780 – October 21, 1841) was a 19th-century American politician from Georgia. He represented Georgia in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Forsyth also served as the 33rd Governor of Georgia. As a strong supporter of the policies of Andrew Jackson, he was appointed Secretary of State by Jackson in 1834, and continued in that role until 1841 during the presidency of Martin Van Buren.

Early life[edit]

Forsyth was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia. His father, Robert Forsyth, was the first U.S. Marshal to be killed in the line of duty in 1794.[1] He was an attorney who graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1799. He married Clara Meigs, daughter of Josiah Meigs, in 1801 or 1802. One of his sons, John Forsyth, Jr., later became a newspaper editor.

Political Life[edit]

Forsyth served in the United States House of Representatives (1813–1818 and 1823–1827), the United States Senate (1818–1819 and 1829–1834), and as the 33rd Governor of Georgia (1827–1829). He was the United States Secretary of State from 1834 until 1841. In this role he led the government's response to the Amistad case.[2] He was a loyal follower of Andrew Jackson[3] and opposed John C. Calhoun in the issue of nullification. Forsyth was appointed as Secretary of State in reward for his efforts. He led the pro-removal reply to Theodore Frelinghuysen about the Indian Removal Act of 1830.[4][5] He supported slavery and was a slaveholder himself.[6]

Death and legacy[edit]

Forsyth died in Washington, D.C., and was buried in Congressional Cemetery. Forsyth County, Georgia,[7] Forsyth, Georgia,[8] and Forsyth Park[9] in Savannah are named for him.[10] He died the day before his 61st birthday.

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Brown, Russell K. (Fall 2008). "Killed in the Line of Duty: Marshal Robert Harriss, Jr., of Summerville, Georgia". Georgia Historical Quarterly. 92 (3). Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Unger, Harlow G. (2012). John Quincy Adams. Boston: Da Capo Press. p. 292. ISBN 9780306822650. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  3. ^ Howe, Daniel Walker (2007). What Hath God Wrought : The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. Oxford University Press: New York. p. 346. ISBN 9780195078947. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  4. ^ Cheathem, Mark Renfred (2014). Andrew Jackson, Southerner. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. p. 154. ISBN 978-0807150986. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Morris, Michael (Winter 2007). "Georgia and the Conversation over Indian Removal". Georgia Historical Quarterly. 91 (4). Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  6. ^ Finkelman, Paul; Kennon, Donald R. (2010). In the shadow of freedom : the politics of slavery in the national capital. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0821419342. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  7. ^ "Forsyth County historical marker". Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  8. ^ "Forsyth historical marker". Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  9. ^ "Forsyth Park historical marker". Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  10. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 128. 
  11. ^ "Amistad (1997)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 13 May 2018. 


External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
New seat from congressional apportionment
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1813 – November 23, 1818
Succeeded by
Robert R. Reid
Preceded by
Robert R. Reid
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1823 – March 3, 1827
Succeeded by
Converted to districts
Preceded by
Redistricted from At Large District
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 2nd congressional district

March 4, 1827 – November 7, 1827
Succeeded by
Richard Henry Wilde
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
George Troup
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Georgia
November 23, 1818 – February 17, 1819
Served alongside: Charles Tait
Succeeded by
Freeman Walker
Preceded by
John M. Berrien
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Georgia
November 9, 1829 – June 27, 1834
Served alongside: George Troup and John P. King
Succeeded by
Alfred Cuthbert
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
George W. Erving
United States Minister to Spain
May 18, 1819 – March 2, 1823
Succeeded by
Hugh Nelson
Political offices
Preceded by
George Troup
Governor of Georgia
Succeeded by
George R. Gilmer
Preceded by
Louis McLane
U.S. Secretary of State
Served under: Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren

July 1, 1834 – March 3, 1841
Succeeded by
Daniel Webster