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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesVirginia

William Cabell RIVES

(1793-1868)
Senate Years of Service:
1832-1834; 1836-1837; 1837-1839; 1841-1845
Party:
Jacksonian; Jacksonian; Democrat; Whig

RIVES, William Cabell, a Representative and a Senator from Virginia; born at ‘Union Hill,’ Amherst County, Va., May 4, 1793; attended Hampden-Sidney College in Virginia and graduated from the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va., in 1809; studied law; admitted to the bar about 1814 and commenced practice in Charlottesville, Albemarle County; delegate to the State constitutional convention in 1816; member, State house of delegates 1817-1820, 1822-1823; moved to ‘Castle Hill,’ Albemarle County, in 1821; elected to the Eighteenth and to the three succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1823, until his resignation in 1829; Minister to France 1829-1832; elected as a Jacksonian to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Littleton W. Tazewell and served from December 10, 1832, to February 22, 1834, when he resigned; again elected to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Tyler and served from March 4, 1836, to March 3, 1839; chairman, Committee on Naval Affairs (Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Congresses); subsequently reelected as a Whig on January 18, 1841, for the term beginning March 4, 1839, and served until March 3, 1845; chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations (Twenty-seventh Congress); again Minister to France 1849-1853; member of the peace convention of 1861 held in Washington, D.C., in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending war; delegate from Virginia to the Confederate Provisional Congress in Montgomery, Ala., and Richmond, Va., in 1861; member of the house of representatives from Virginia in the Second Confederate Congress; died on his plantation, ‘Castle Hill,’ near Charlottesville, Va., April 25, 1868; interment in the private burial ground on the family estate.

Bibliography

Dictionary of American Biography; McCoy, Drew R. “Legacy: The Strange Career of William Cabell Rives.” In The Last of the Fathers: James Madison and the Republican Legacy, pp. 323-69. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989; Wingfield, Russell S. “William Cabell Rives.” Richmond College Historical Papers 1 (June 1915): 57-72.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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