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American History Moment

William Crawford

William Crawford was a tall, handsome, engaging Southerner who stood a good chance of becoming the sixth President of the United States in 1824. Unfortunately, a series of paralyzing strokes he suffered in 1823 changed the course of history. William Crawford was born in Virginia in 1772 and grew to adulthood in Georgia.  In 1803 he was elected to the Georgia legislature. In 1807 he went to Washington to fill the unexpired term of deceased Senator Abraham Baldwin.  In the Senate, Crawford quickly earned a reputation for wisdom and sound judgment and made many influential friends.  He was elected to a full term as senator in 1811. Crawford favored states’ rights, a moderate protective tariff and the re-chartering of the National Bank. He resigned his senate seat to serve as Minister to France from 1813 to 1815. In 1815, President James Madison appointed Crawford as Secretary of War and later as Secretary of the Treasury. Crawford was a leading candidate for the presidential nomination in 1816, but he declined in favor of James Monroe, who was elected and named Crawford as Secretary of the Treasury. In 1824, Crawford was a presidential candidate, along with Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and John Quincy Adams. At the time of the election, Crawford was paralyzed and nearly blind. His nomination was merely a gesture of respect and friendship. He received forty-one electoral votes and ran a distant third in the race. William Crawford returned to Georgia where he served as a judge until his death in 1834.

From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution