Edward Livingston (1764–1836)

Edward Livingston, 1764–1836, b. Livingston Manor, was the son of Robert R. Livingston (1718–75) and brother of Robert R. Livingston (1746–1813). He also established a reputation as a jurist and political figure. As a member (1795–1801) of the U.S. House of Representatives he opposed Jay's Treaty and the Alien and Sedition Acts. President Jefferson appointed him U.S. attorney for New York in 1801, the same year he became mayor of New York City. Because one of his clerks lost or misappropriated public funds, Livingston was forced to resign and to sell his property to pay off the debt. He then went to New Orleans. In the War of 1812 he became chairman of the committee on public defense and acted as aide-de-camp to Gen. Andrew Jackson. He was elected (1820) to the Louisiana legislature, and in 1821 was appointed to prepare a new code of laws and criminal procedure. Although the code was not adopted, its completeness and reasoned unity brought him international fame. He served again (1823–29) in the U.S. House of Representatives and then in the Senate (1829–31) before resigning to become Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson—for whom he wrote many important state papers, including the famous reply to the doctrine of nullification. As minister to France (1833–35), Livingston was unable to secure payment of American claims for spoliations resulting from the Napoleonic Wars.

See biography by W. B. Hatcher (1940).

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