Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1801-07-19
Death 1869-11-11
English

Biographical notes:

Secretary of the Treasury.

From the description of Robert J. Walker letters, 1846-1848. (Mystic Seaport Museum, G W Blunt White Library). WorldCat record id: 47279343

From the description of Letters, 1846-1848. (Mystic Seaport Museum, G W Blunt White Library). WorldCat record id: 70958262

U.S. Senator, 1836-1845, and secretary of the treasury, 1845-1849.

From the description of Papers, 1842-1866. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 39522065

Robert J. Walker was a Mississippi senator between 1835 and 1845, and later served as the Secretary of the Treasury under the James Polk Administration between 1845 and 1849. He was born in Northumberland, Pennsylvania on July 19, 1801, the son of Jonathan Hoge Walker. Walker graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1819 and began practicing law in Pittsburgh after being admitted to the bar in 1821. In 1826, Walker moved to Natchez, Mississippi where he continued to practice law. While in Mississippi Walker partook in land speculation, accumulating large amounts of debt in the process. It was during these years that Walker became associated with such leading Mississippi political figures as Joseph Davis, Henry Stuart Foote, John A. Quitman, and William M. Gwin. With these men, Walker shared common political beliefs supporting Jacksonian Democracy. Walker, Foote, and Quitman had additional ties from practicing law in Natchez. In 1833, a scandal surrounding Walker's association with public land sales in Mississippi was brought to light by the anti-Jacksonian Mississippi Senator George Poindexter. Mississippi obtained 15,000 square miles of land in northern and central Mississippi from the Choctaw Indians in the 1831 treaty of Dancing Rabbit. Walker organized a group of moneyed individuals interested in purchasing sections of the land, and created a secret agreement in which no member of this organization would bid against another. Walker had a similar arrangement with small farmers and squatters not to enter into competition which ensured that they too obtained land. He charged one dollar per acre above the government minimum for this service, securing large tracts of land for the organization at very low prices. In an attempt to make this land deal a political issue, Poindexter attacked Samuel and William Gwin, as well as Walker, in an effort to harm his political rivals in Mississippi. Poindexter accused them of collusion with the speculators and of defrauding the government. Walker issued a public address in his defense and no consequential actions were taken. It was through the resulting scandal that Walker became interested in politics. Brothers Samuel and William Gwin, supporters of Andrew Jackson, were determined to see George Poindexter defeated in the election for Mississippi senator. The Gwin brothers chose Walker to oppose Poindexter, and after a vigorous campaign, won the endorsement of the Democratic Party as its senatorial candidate. Walker began his career as a Mississippi senator in 1835 and served until 1845. Walker, a Unionist Democrat and expansionist, gained political prominence during the Nullification Crisis of 1832. He supported the independent treasury system and constantly attacked the protective tariff, the distribution of the surplus, and abolitionists. He also voted to recognize the Republic of Texas in 1837, and strongly argued in favor of the Annexation of Texas in 1845. Walker's strong presidential endorsement of James Polk in 1844 would later result in his appointment to serve as the Secretary of the Treasury between 1845 and 1849. As Treasury Secretary, Walker financed the Mexican-American War and drafted the 1849 bill to establish the United States Department of the Interior. His first major achievement was the establishment of the Independent Treasury System of 1846, whereby the Treasury Department was made solely responsible for the handling of public monies. Walker's greatest work was the preparation of the famous Treasury report of December 3, 1845, regarded as the most powerful attack upon the protection system ever made in an American state paper. The resulting Walker Tariff of 1846 significantly lowered import duties. After serving in the Polk administration, Walker was appointed governor of the Kansas territory by President James Buchannan in 1857. Disagreements with fellow Democrats over the issue of slavery in Kansas led to Walker's resignation. During the Civil War, Walker supported the maintenance of the Union and traveled to Europe to sell Federal bonds to support the war effort. He died on November 11, 1869.

From the description of Papers of Robert J. Walker, 1833-1848. (University of Pittsburgh). WorldCat record id: 302424861

From the description of Papers of Robert J. Walker, 1833-1848 [electronic resource]. (University of Pittsburgh). WorldCat record id: 671395933

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

From the description of Robert James Walker letter, September 27, 1847. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34420390

Note on the fly-leaf states: "Vol. belonged to M.B.B--? Probably Mary B. Walker, wife of the Hon. Robert J. Walker, U.S. Senator, Gov. of Kansas." Walker married Mary Blechynden Bache in 1825. (D.A.B.).

From the description of Poems, 1817-1835. (Brown University). WorldCat record id: 122598578

U.S. secretary of the treasury, senator, and governor of Kansas territory.

From the description of Papers of Robert J. Walker, 1815-1936. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80759075

Robert John Walker (1801-1869) was an American economist and statesman. He was a United States Senator from Mississippi (1835-1845) and Secretary of the Treasury under President Polk, from 1845-1849.

From the guide to the Robert J. Walker Correspondence, 1845-1849, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

American statesman.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Washington City, to Col. William Cook, 1865 May 19. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270586340

Walker's name is sometimes given as Robert James. He was U.S. Senator, 1836-18(45; secretary of the treasury, 18115-1849; and governor of Kansas Territory, 1857. (For mere biographical information, see Dictionary of American Biography.)

From the guide to the Correspondence, and notes front speeches., 1845-1846, 1857, (University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection)

Born in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, Robert James Walker (1801-1869) graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1819. Following his graduation, he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1821, and moved to Natchez, Mississippi, in 1826. From 1835 to 1845, Walker served as a U.S. Senator from Mississippi and subsequently was appointed Secretary of Treasury by President James K. Polk from 1845 through 1849. After resuming his law practice, Walker was elected Governor of the Kansas Territory in 1857, though serving only for a few months. Additionally, Walker was the United States financial agent to Europe between 1863 and 1864, again returning to his law practice until his death in 1869.

Source:

Walker, Robert John., (1801-1869). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed March 11, 2011. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=W000067 .

From the guide to the Walker, Robert John, Letter AR 87-321., 1845, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Born in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, Robert James Walker (1801-1869) graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1819.

Following his graduation, he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1821, and moved to Natchez, Mississippi, in 1826. From 1835 to 1845, Walker served as a U.S. Senator from Mississippi and subsequently was appointed Secretary of Treasury by President James K. Polk from 1845 through 1849. After resuming his law practice, Walker was elected Governor of the Kansas Territory in 1857, though serving only for a few months. Additionally, Walker was the United States financial agent to Europe between 1863 and 1864, again returning to his law practice until his death in 1869.

From the description of Walker, Robert John, Letter, 1845 (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 773727527

Loading...

Loading Relationships

Information

Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6057jcr
Ark ID:
w6057jcr
SNAC ID:
74934171

Subjects:

  • Embargo
  • Speeches, addresses, etc., American--19th century
  • Customs administration--Texas
  • Elegiac poetry, American
  • Politics, government and public administration
  • Kansas. Politics and government. 1856-1861
  • Revenue
  • American poetry--1801-1850
  • Customs administration
  • Presidents--History--19th century
  • Tariff
  • U.S. Politics and government
  • Love poetry, American
  • Legislators--Correspondence
  • Land speculation
  • Customs administration--Officials and employees
  • Customs administration--United States

Occupations:

  • Public officers
  • Politicians

Places:

  • Texas (as recorded)
  • Yalobusha County (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • Natchez (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • Mississippi (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)
  • Mackinac Island (Mich.) (as recorded)
  • Yalobusha County (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Washington (D.C.) (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • Adams County (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Adams County (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • Natchez (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • Washington (D.C.) (as recorded)
  • Mississippi (as recorded)