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Encyclopedia > George S. Boutwell

George Sewall Boutwell (January 28, 1818February 27, 1905) was an American statesman who served as U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Ulysses S. Grant. He was also a Governor of Massachusetts, Senator and Congressman and the first Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.

Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, he worked as a schoolteacher and shopkeeper before he studied law and then entered politics. He served in the Massachusetts State Legislature from 1842 until 1850, and then was a two-term Governor of Massachusetts, and served in the U.S. House from 1862 until 1869. While in Congress, he served as one of the House prosecutors chosen to present the case against the President during the Senate impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson.

He served as Treasury Secretary from March 12, 1869 until March 16, 1873. His primary achievements were reorganizing the Treasury Department, improving bookkeeping by customs houses, incorporating the United States Mint into Treasury and reducing the national debt. He also managed the Black Friday crisis of September 23, 1869, warding off gold speculators by flooding the market with Treasury gold. When Grant won a second term, Boutwell took the opportunity to resign and run for the U.S. Senate from his home state of Massachusetts. He served in that body from 1873 until 1877. Under an appointment by President Rutherford B. Hayes, he prepared the second edition of the United States Revised Statutes (1878). He opposed the acquisition by the United States of the Philippine Islands, became president of the American Anti-Imperialist League, and was a presidential elector on the William Jennings Bryan (Democratic) ticket in 1900.

He published several books on education, taxation and political economy. His book The Constitution of the United States at the End of the First Century was considered particularly significant.

Boutwell died in Groton, Massachusetts and is buried at Groton Cemetery.

Preceded by:
Hugh McCulloch
United States Secretary of the Treasury Succeeded by:
William A. Richardson
Preceded by:
George N. Briggs
Governor of Massachusetts Succeeded by:
John H. Clifford

  Results from FactBites:
George S. Boutwell Collection at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center (1217 words)
George S. Boutwell was born in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1818.
Boutwell was chairman of the committee that drafted the articles of impeachment against Andrew Johnson and a member of the committee that reported the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
BOUTWELL, George S. To WC dtd Washington, Jne.
  More results at FactBites »



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