Webster, Daniel

Orator, Politician


Daniel Webster was born on January 18, 1782, in Salisbury, New Hampshire. He attended Dartmouth College, going on to study law. After setting up a practice in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he practiced law in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1813, he was elected to the US House of Representatives, serving until 1817. In 1819, he helped saved the charter of Dartmouth College when it was challenged in the Supreme Court case of Dartmouth College v. Woodward.

Webster is best remembered for his excellent oratorical skills, and his arguments influenced Chief Justice Marshall's constitutional views. Webster returned to the US House of Representatives from 1823 to 1827. In the House, he supported the general idea of having a strong central government; he took a strong state's rights position on some issues.

When he was elected to the Senate in 1827, Webster's basic platform promoted nationalism built upon prosperity from industrialization. He served in the US Senate until 1841, when he was appointed Secretary of State. Webster served as Secretary of State from 1841 to 1843, and again from 1850 to 1852; under Presidents Harrison, Tyler and Fillmore. He also ran for President, in 1836, 1840 and 1852: He lost all three times.

Webster died on October 24, 1852, in Marshfield, Massachusetts.