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William Branch Giles

Giles, William Branch (jĪlz) [key], 1762–1830, American statesman, b. Amelia co., Va. After practicing as a lawyer in Petersburg, Va., he entered the U.S. House of Representatives as an Anti-Federalist in 1790. There he opposed the establishment of the Bank of the United States and in 1793 brought charges of corruption against Alexander Hamilton; they were rejected. Resigning in 1798, he was a member of the Virginia legislature (1798–1800), but in 1801 was again elected to Congress. From 1804 to 1815 he was a U.S. Senator. He took a leading part in the impeachment of Justice Samuel Chase, was active in factional contests within the Jeffersonian party, and vigorously directed his hostility against Albert Gallatin and James Monroe. Giles was again a Virginia legislator for several terms, was governor of Virginia (1827–30), and took part in the state constitutional convention (1829–30). His career was marred by the intense personal animosities he held. Political Miscellanies (1829) contains a number of his speeches and letters.

See biography by D. R. Anderson (1914, repr. 1965).

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

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