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William Andrews Clark

Clark, William Andrews, 1839–1925, U.S. Senator and copper magnate, b. Fayette co., Pa. He moved to Montana, where he amassed a large fortune from the development of copper mines. He wielded immense power and had a long feud with Marcus Daly for control of the copper deposits and of political forces—virtually for control of Montana. Clark had political ambitions and was president of the Montana constitutional conventions of 1884 and 1889 but was defeated in the 1888 campaign to be territorial delegate to Congress. Daly blocked Clark's moves skillfully; and, although Clark claimed election as one of Montana's first Senators, the Senate instead seated his Republican opponent. In 1893 the state legislature was deadlocked, and Montana was left with only one Senator. After another deadlock in 1899, Clark was declared elected only to resign when confronted by a Senate investigation and a pending resolution to void his election. In 1901 he was duly elected and this time served his term and retired. He tied the exploitation of copper to Eastern capital, winning over such brilliant rivals as F. Augustus Heinze, and was powerful in copper development in Arizona as well as in Montana.

See W. D. Mangam, Clarks: An American Phenomenon (1941).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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