Pennington, William, 1796-1862

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William Pennington (May 4, 1796 – February 16, 1862) was an American politician and lawyer, the Governor of New Jersey from 1837 to 1843, and served as Speaker of the House during his one term in Congress.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, he graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1813 and then studied law with Theodore Frelinghuysen. He was admitted to the bar in 1817 and served as a clerk of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (where his father was a judge) from 1817 to 1826.

As a member of the Whig party, he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1828, and then was elected Governor of New Jersey annually from 1837 to 1843. His tenure as governor was marked by the "Broad Seal War" controversy. Following a disputed election for Congressional Representatives in New Jersey, Pennington certified the election of five Whig candidates while five Democrats were certified by the Democratic Secretary of State. After a lengthy dispute, the Democrats were eventually seated.

In November 1858, Pennington was elected as a Republican to represent New Jersey's 5th congressional district in the U.S. House during the 36th Congress. Following a protracted election for speaker of the House of Representatives, 44 ballots over the course of eight weeks (December 5, 1859 through February 1, 1860), he was elected to the post. This was the third time since 1789 that the House elected a freshman congressmen as its speaker (after Frederick Muhlenberg in 1789 and Henry Clay in 1811); such a feat has not been repeated since.

In March 1861 he penned his name on the Corwin Amendment, a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution shielding state "domestic institutions" (slavery) from the constitutional amendment process and from abolition or interference by Congress. Submitted to the states for ratification shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War, it was not ratified by the requisite number of states.

After running unsuccessfully for reelection in 1860 to the 37th Congress, he returned to New Jersey. He died in Newark of an unintentional morphine overdose and was interred at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Newark.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Vroom, Peter Dumont, 1791-1873. Papers, 1820-1893. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Clement, John, 1769-1855. Papers, 1789-1899. Rutgers University
referencedIn Hornblower family. Papers, 1760-1900. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Gregory, Dudley S. (Dudley Sanford), 1800-1874. Testimonial dinner record, 1853 (inclusive). Rutgers University
referencedIn Ward, Marcus L. (Marcus Lawrence), 1812-1884. Papers, 1683-1912. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Lanman, Charles, 1819-1895. Charles Lanman Manuscripts Relating to New Jersey, 1858-1868. Newark Public Library, Main Library
referencedIn High Street Presbyterian Church (Newark, N.J.). High Street Presbyterian Church collection, 1852-1950. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Bradley, Joseph P., 1813-1892. Joseph P. Bradley papers, 1836-1943. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Ogden, Aaron, 1756-1839. Papers, 1783-1833 (inclusive). Rutgers University
referencedIn Bradley, Joseph P., 1813-1892. Papers, 1836-1937. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Dodd, Amzi, 1793-1838. Papers, 1785-1840. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Pennington, William, 1796-1862. William Pennington papers, 1795-1915 1820-1865. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Jackson, John Peter, 1805-1861. Correspondence, 1828-1860. Rutgers University
referencedIn Ogden, Aaron, 1756-1839. Papers, 1783-1833. Rutgers University
creatorOf Aaron, Samuel, 1800-1865. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1664-1956. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Williamson, Isaac H. (Isaac Halsted), 1767-1844. Papers, 1817-1846 (inclusive). Rutgers University
creatorOf Boggs family. Boggs family papers, 1737-1950. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and other cased photographs, 1840-1870. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Winthrop, Robert C. (Robert Charles), 1809-1894. Letter : "Uplands," Brookline, Mass., to William C. Pennington, 1889 August 25. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Vroom, Peter Dumont, 1791-1873. Peter D. Vroom papers, 1783-1891. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Rutgers family. Papers, 1819-1847. Rutgers University
referencedIn Boggs family. Papers, 1737-1942. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Winthrop, Robert C. (Robert Charles), 1809-1894. Letter [manuscript] : "Uplands," Brookline, Mass., to William C. Pennington, 1889 August 25. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Pennington, William, 1796-1862. Letter, 1852 June 28, Newark, N.J., to Daniel Webster [n.p.]. Dartmouth College Library
creatorOf Pennington, William, 1796-1862. Papers, 1798-1868 (bulk 1821-1837). Rutgers University
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Boggs family. family
associatedWith Boggs family. family
associatedWith Bradley, Joseph P., 1813-1892. person
associatedWith Buffalo Bill, 1864-1917. person
associatedWith Campbell, Robert, 1766-1846. person
correspondedWith Clement, John, 1769-1855. person
associatedWith Condit, Albert Pierson, 1829-1901. person
associatedWith Cox, John, fl. 1841. person
associatedWith Crane, Israel (1774-1858) person
associatedWith Cumming, Alexander M., fl. 1854. person
associatedWith Dean, Mary. person
associatedWith Dodd, Amzi, 1793-1838. person
subordinateOf Frelinghuysen, Theodore, 1787-1862 person
associatedWith Gould, Stephen, 1777-1839. person
associatedWith Gregory, Dudley S. (Dudley Sanford), 1800-1874. person
associatedWith Hays, Robert. person
associatedWith High Street Presbyterian Church (Newark, N.J.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Hornblower family. family
associatedWith Hornblower, Joseph C. (Joseph Coerten), 1777-1864. person
correspondedWith Jackson, John Peter, 1805-1861. person
associatedWith Lanman, Charles, 1819-1895. person
associatedWith Morgan, William. person
memberOf New Jersey. Legislature. General Assembly corporateBody
memberOf New Jersey. Office of the Governor corporateBody
associatedWith Ogden, Aaron, 1756-1839. person
associatedWith Pennington, Caroline Burnet, 1797-1872. person
associatedWith Pennington, Samuel, 1765-1835. person
associatedWith Pennington, William, 1869-1922. person
associatedWith Pennington, William S. (William Sanford), 1757-1826. person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Princeton University corporateBody
associatedWith Robertson, James, fl. 1824. person
associatedWith Rutgers, Anthony. person
associatedWith Rutgers family. family
associatedWith Scott, Winfield, 1786-1866. person
memberOf United States. Congress. House of Representatives corporateBody
employeeOf United States. District Court (New Jersey) corporateBody
correspondedWith Vroom, Peter Dumont, 1791-1873. person
correspondedWith Ward, Marcus L. (Marcus Lawrence), 1812-1884. person
associatedWith Webster, Daniel, 1782-1852. person
associatedWith Whig Party (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Williamson, Isaac H. (Isaac Halsted), 1767-1844. person
associatedWith Winthrop, Robert C. (Robert Charles), 1809-1894. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Trenton NJ US
Newark NJ US
District of Columbia DC US
Subject
Presidents--Nomination
Presidents--Election
Estates (law)
Cabinet officers
Inheritance and succession
Practice of law
Occupation
Lawyers--New Jersey--Newark
Legislators
Representatives, U.S. Congress--New Jersey
Law clerks
Governors--New Jersey
Speakers of the House, U.S. Congress
Lawyers--New Jersey
Function

Person

Birth 1796-05-04

Death 1862-02-16

Male

Americans

English

Information

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