Crawford, William Harris

Crawford, William Harris (1772-1834) Secretary of Treasury: Born in Virginia on February 24, 1772, Crawford moved to Georgia with his family. After he taught school in Augusta, he studied law, and began a legal practice in 1799. One of the compilers of the first digest of Georgia laws, he was elected to the Georgia Senate in 1802. Five years later, he was chosen to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. Re-elected in 1811, he was chosen president pro tempore of the Senate. Initially opposed to the war with Great Britain, he eventually gave his support. Although he declined an appointment as Secretary of War, he accepted the post of Minister to France in 1813. As Minister to France, Crawford formed a close personal friendship with General Lafayette. In 1816, Crawford was appointed Secretary of the Treasury, remaining there despite pressure to run for President. As Secretary of the Treasury, he adhered to the political and economic views of the Democratic-Republicans. In 1824, the ran for the Presidency, against John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay. The election had to be settled in the House of Representatives, which chose Adams. Charges were brought against Crawford regarding his conduct in the Treasury Department. A committee to investigate the matter, including individuals such as Daniel Webster and John Randolph, found Crawford innocent of all the charges. Nevertheless, his declining health brought his career in public service to an end. He returned to Georgia, where he served as circuit judge almost until the end of his life. Crawford died in Georgia on September 15, 1834.