Charles L. Robinson
Charles Lawrence Robinson was the first Governor of Kansas. He was the first governor of a US state to be impeached, although he was found not guilty and was not removed from office. To date he is the only governor of Kansas to be impeached. Robinson was educated at Hadley and Amherst academies, at Amherst College, he studied medicine in Woodstock, in Pittsfield, where he earned his medical degree at the Berkshire Medical College in 1843. He practiced medicine in Belchertown and Fitchburg. In 1849, he traveled overland to California, he edited a daily paper in Sacramento called the Settler's and Miner's Tribune in 1850, took an active part in the riots of 1850 as an upholder of squatter sovereignty, was wounded, while under indictment for conspiracy and murder, was elected to the California legislature. He was subsequently discharged by the court without trial, he represented California's 12th State Assembly district from 1851 to 1852. He married Sara Tappen Doolittle Lawrence in 1851, they had two children.
She published Kansas, its Exterior and Interior Life, in which she describes the scenes and events of the struggle between the friends and foes of slavery in Kansas. In 1852, Charles returned to Massachusetts, conducted in Fitchburg a weekly paper called the News. In 1854, Robinson happened to attend a meeting at which Eli Thayer of the New England Emigrant Aid Society spoke about the need to oppose slavery. After the speech, the two were introduced to one another. Thayer took an immediate liking to Robinson and asked him to act as the New England Emigrant Aid Company’s official financial agent, to which Robinson agreed. In June of that year, Robinson went to Kansas Territory with Charles Branscomb to find suitable land upon which the Emigrant Aid Society could found a town dedicated to the free state cause. Robinson's efforts led to the founding of Lawrence. During the Bleeding Kansas tragedy, Robinson angered many with his passionate support for the Free-Staters, who were promoting a fight against pro-slavery advocates.
He was illegally elected Territorial Governor of Kansas under the Topeka Constitution in January 1856. From the spring of 1856 until September and several other Free-State leaders, including the son of abolitionist John Brown, were held in custody in Camp Sackett; this United States military camp was located about 3.5 miles southwest of Kansas. In 1861, Robinson took office as governor of the newly admitted State of Kansas, his impeachment was due to a political rivalry with James H. Lane, he was found not guilty. Elected to the Kansas State Senate, Robinson served from 1873 to 1881, he was Superintendent of the Haskell Institute from 1887 to 1889, regent of the University of Kansas for twelve years. Robinson died on August 17, 1894, is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Wilson, J. G.. "Robinson, Charles". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. Kansas State Historical Society Impeachment of State Officials Publications concerning Kansas Governor Robinson's administration available via the KGI Online Library Charles L. Robinson at Find a Grave National Governors Association The Political Graveyard
James Buchanan Jr. was the 15th president of the United States, serving prior to the American Civil War. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 17th United States secretary of state and had served in the Senate and House of Representatives before becoming president. Buchanan was born in Pennsylvania, to parents of Ulster Scots descent, he became a prominent lawyer in Lancaster and won election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a Federalist. In 1820, Buchanan won election to the United States House of Representatives becoming aligned with Andrew Jackson's Democratic Party. After serving as Jackson's Minister to Russia, Buchanan won election as a senator from Pennsylvania. In 1845, he accepted appointment as President James K. Polk's Secretary of State. A major contender for his party's presidential nomination throughout the 1840s and 1850s, Buchanan won his party's nomination in 1856, defeating incumbent President Pierce and Senator Stephen A. Douglas at the 1856 Democratic National Convention.
Buchanan and his running mate, John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, defeated Republican John C. Frémont and Know-Nothing Millard Fillmore to win the 1856 election. Shortly after his election, Buchanan lobbied the Supreme Court to issue a broad ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford, which he endorsed as president, he allied with the South in attempting to gain the admission of Kansas to the Union as a slave state under the Lecompton Constitution. In the process, he alienated both Republican abolitionists and Northern Democrats, most of whom supported the principle of popular sovereignty in determining a new state's slaveholding status, he was called a "doughface", a Northerner with Southern sympathies, he fought with Douglas, the leader of the popular sovereignty faction, for control of the Democratic Party. In the midst of the growing sectional crisis, the Panic of 1857 struck the nation. Buchanan indicated in his 1857 inaugural address that he would not seek a second term, he kept his word and did not run for re-election in the 1860 presidential election.
Buchanan supported the North during the Civil War and publicly defended himself against charges that he was responsible for the war. He died in 1868 at age 77, was the last president to be born in the eighteenth century, he is the only president to remain a lifelong bachelor. Buchanan wished and aspired to be a president who would rank in history with George Washington, by using his tendencies toward neutrality and impartiality. Historians fault him, for his failure to address the issue of slavery and the secession of the southern states, bringing the nation to the brink of civil war, his inability to address the divided pro-slavery and anti-slavery partisans with a unifying principle on the brink of the Civil War has led to his consistent ranking by historians as one of the worst presidents in American history. Historians who participated in a 2006 survey voted his failure to deal with secession as the worst presidential mistake made. James Buchanan Jr. was born in a log cabin in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania, in Franklin County, on April 23, 1791, to James Buchanan, Sr. a businessman and farmer, Elizabeth Speer, an educated woman.
His parents were both of Ulster Scot descent, his father having emigrated from Milford, County Donegal, Ireland, in 1783. One of eleven siblings, Buchanan was the oldest child in the family to survive infancy. Shortly after Buchanan's birth the family moved to a farm near Mercersburg, in 1794 the family moved to Mercersburg itself. Buchanan's father became the wealthiest person in town, having attained success as a merchant and real estate investor. Buchanan attended the village academy and, starting in 1807, Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Though he was nearly expelled at one point for poor behavior, he pleaded for a second chance and subsequently graduated with honors on September 19, 1809; that year, he moved to Lancaster, which, at the time, was the capital of Pennsylvania. James Hopkins, the most prominent lawyer in Lancaster, accepted Buchanan as a student, in 1812 Buchanan was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar after an oral exam. Though many other lawyers moved to Harrisburg, after it became the capital of Pennsylvania in 1812, Lancaster would remain Buchanan's home town for the rest of his life.
Buchanan's income rose after he established his own practice and by 1821 he was earning over $11,000 per year. Buchanan handled various types of cases, including a high-profile impeachment trial in which he defended Pennsylvania Judge Walter Franklin. Buchanan began his political career in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a member of the Federalist Party; the legislature met for only three months a year, Buchanan's notoriety as a legislator helped him earn clients for his legal practice. Like his father, Buchanan believed in federally-funded internal improvements, a high tariff, a national bank, he emerged as a strong critic of the leadership of Democratic-Republican President James Madison during the War of 1812. When the British invaded neighboring Maryland in 1814, he served in the defense of Baltimore after enlisting as a private in Henry Shippen's Company, 1st Brigade, 4th Division, Pennsylvania Militia, a unit of yagers or light dragoons. Buchanan is the only president with military experience who did not, at some point, serve as an officer.
An active Freemason, he was the Master of Masonic Lodge No. 43 in Lancaster, a District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. By 1820, the F
Wilson Shannon was a Democratic politician from Ohio and Kansas. He served as the 14th and 16th Governor of Ohio, was the first governor of Ohio born in the state. Shannon was the second governor of the Kansas Territory. Shannon was born in Belmont County in the Northwest Territory, the son of an Irish immigrant, George Shannon, who fought in the Revolutionary War. Wilson Shannon's elder brother, Thomas Shannon, served a partial term in the United States House of Representatives from 1826–1827, his oldest brother, George Shannon, was the youngest member of the Clark Expedition. After attending Ohio University, Franklin College and Transylvania University, Shannon was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in 1830, he was prosecuting attorney for Belmont County from 1833 to 1835. Shannon ran for the U. S. House of Representatives in 1832, losing by only 37 votes. Shannon served as a prosecutor in Belmont County before winning election to the governorship in 1838, he lost a re-election bid to the Whig candidate, Thomas Corwin, in 1840, but defeated Corwin for a second term two years later.
Shannon resigned on April 15, 1844, to take up an appointment from President John Tyler as Minister to Mexico. Shannon spent a year in the post before being recalled. Shannon went to California in the 1849 gold rush but returned and won election to the House of Representatives in 1852, he served a single term before taking up an appointment from President Franklin Pierce as Governor of the Kansas Territory in 1855. Shannon was commissioned by President Pierce on August 10, 1855, he took the oath of office on September 7, 1855, served until June 24, 1856, having been sworn into office a second time on June 13, 1856. He served from July 7 through August 18, 1856, when he was removed from office by the President. Shannon was known for his Southern sympathies, so much so that he was described by a contemporary as "an extreme Southern man in politics, of the border ruffian type." Shannon utilized federal troops to bring peace to areas of the territory where violence was commonplace. However, the problems of government administration he experienced while Minister to Mexico plagued him in Kansas, he stumbled into one political crisis after another.
In May 1856, a large proslavery force entered Lawrence and destroyed many buildings and printing presses in what became known as the "Sacking of Lawrence." Shannon failed to intervene to protect their property. In retaliation, John Brown and a small group of followers moved along Pottawatomie Creek, 40 miles south of Lawrence, killing five proslavery settlers; the "Pottawatomie massacre", as it came to be known, brought more violence into the territory. Shannon lost complete control of the territory and left for St. Louis on June 23, 1856, leaving Daniel Woodson as acting governor. While at Lecompton, Shannon offered President Pierce his resignation on August 18, 1856, but Pierce had determined to fire him. In his resignation he wrote that he had received unofficial information of my removal from office, finding myself here without the moral power which my official station confers, being destitute of any adequate military force to preserve the peace of the country, I feel it due to myself, as well as to the government, to notify you that I am unwilling to perform the duties of government of this territory any longer.
You will therefore consider my official connection at an end. Shannon returned east, he met John Geary, the next territorial governor, on September 7 at Glasgow, though their meeting was brief. Despite his troubled term as territorial governor of Kansas, Shannon served the longest continuous term of any Kansas territorial governor, more than nine and one-half months of an eleven-month term. Shannon returned to Kansas soon after leaving office, he set up a law practice in Lecompton, a practice in Lawrence and Topeka. To visitors he stated: "Govern Kansas in 1855 and'56! You might as well attempt to govern the devil in hell." Shannon died in Lawrence on August 30, 1877, is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence. Shannon, the first county seat of Anderson County, was named for Shannon; the town ceased to exist in 1860. Shannon Political Family Gladstone, T. H; the Englishman in Kansas, 1857. Nichols, Alice. Bleeding Kansas, 1954. Socolofsky, Homer E. Kansas Governors, 1990. ISBN 0-7006-0421-9 Wilson Shannon at Find a Grave "Shannon, Wilson".
Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900. United States Congress. "Wilson Shannon". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress; the National cyclopaedia of American biography: being the history... 8. New York: James T White and Company. 1900. Pp. 340–341
Samuel C. Pomeroy
Samuel Clarke Pomeroy was a United States senator from Kansas in the mid-19th century. He served in the United States Senate during the American Civil War. Pomeroy served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. A Republican, he was the mayor of Atchison, from 1858 to 1859, the second president of the Atchison and Santa Fe Railroad, the first president to oversee any of the railroad's construction and operations. Pomeroy succeeded Cyrus K. Holliday as president of the railroad on January 13, 1864. Samuel C. Pomeroy was born on January 1816 at Southampton, Massachusetts, he attended Amherst College. Pomeroy opposed the politics of slavery, in 1854 he became an affiliate of the New England Emigrant Aid Company; that fall, he led a group of settlers to Kansas to help found the city of Lawrence. On April 4, 1861, the Kansas legislature elected Pomeroy to be one of Kansas's first federal senators. In 1863, during the Civil War, Pomeroy escorted Frederick Douglass to the War Department building to meet War Secretary Edwin Stanton.
Afterwards, Douglass attended a meeting with President Abraham Lincoln. In 1864, Pomeroy was the chair of a committee supporting Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase for the Republican nomination for President of the United States over the incumbent, Abraham Lincoln. Pomeroy spoke in support of Chase's candidacy in the Senate; the Pomeroy committee issued a confidential circular to leading Republicans in February 1864 attacking Lincoln, which had the unintended effect of galvanizing support for Lincoln and damaging Chase's prospects. On December 18, 1871, at the urging of Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden and after learning of the findings of the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871, Pomeroy introduced the Act of Dedication bill into the Senate that led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park. During the 1880 presidential election Pomeroy was John W. Phelps' running mate on the revived Anti-Masonic Party. During the Kansas senatorial election of 1873, it was alleged that Senator Pomeroy paid $7,000 to Mr. Alexander M. York, a Kansas state senator, to secure his vote for reelection to the Senate by the Kansas State Legislature.
York publicly disclosed the alleged bribe was an attempt to pin a bribery charge against the senator. Pomeroy lost the election to John J. Ingalls. State Senator York was one of the brothers of Dr. William York, one of the murder victims of the Bloody Benders Family. Pomeroy took to the Senate floor on February 10, 1873 to deny the allegations as a "conspiracy... for the purpose of accomplishing my defeat," and urged the creation of a special committee to investigate the allegations. The payment of the $7,000 was never disputed by witnesses, but instead of being a bribe it was described to the committee as a payment meant to be passed along to a second individual as seed money to start a national bank; the Special Committee on the Kansas Senatorial Election issued its report on March 3, 1873, which determined there was insufficient evidence to sustain the bribery charge, instead was part of a "concerted plot" to defeat Senator Pomeroy. Senator Allen G. Thurman of Ohio disagreed with the special committee's findings, stating his belief in Pomeroy's guilt and calling attempts to explain the payment as something other than a bribe as "so improbable in view of the circumstances attending the senatorial election, that reliance cannot be placed upon them."
However, Thurman chose not to pursue the matter further, as March 3 coincided with Senator Pomeroy's last day in office. This whole matter was alluded to in detail in the satire The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, in which the prominent character Senator Dillworth is based on Pomeroy
James K. Polk
James Knox Polk was the 11th president of the United States from 1845 to 1849. He was speaker of the House of Representatives and governor of Tennessee. A protégé of Andrew Jackson, he was a member of the Democratic Party and an advocate of Jacksonian democracy. Polk is chiefly known for extending the territory of the United States during the Mexican–American War. After building a successful law practice in Tennessee, Polk was elected to the state legislature and to the United States House of Representatives in 1825, becoming a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson. After serving as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, he became Speaker in 1835, the only president to have been Speaker. Polk left Congress to run for governor, he was a dark horse candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 1844. In the general election, Polk defeated Henry Clay of the rival Whig Party. Polk is considered by many the most effective president of the pre–Civil War era, having met during his four-year term every major domestic and foreign policy goal he had set.
After a negotiation fraught with risk of war, he reached a settlement with the United Kingdom over the disputed Oregon Country, the territory for the most part being divided along the 49th parallel. Polk achieved a sweeping victory in the Mexican–American War, which resulted in the cession by Mexico of nearly all the American Southwest, he secured a substantial reduction of tariff rates with the Walker tariff of 1846. The same year, he achieved his other major goal, re-establishment of the Independent Treasury system. True to his campaign pledge to serve only one term, Polk left office in 1849 and returned to Tennessee. Scholars have ranked Polk favorably for his ability to promote and achieve the major items on his presidential agenda, but he has been criticized for leading the country into war against Mexico and for exacerbating sectional divides. A slaveholder for most of his adult life, he owned a plantation in Mississippi and bought slaves while President. A major legacy of Polk's presidency is territorial expansion, as the United States reached the Pacific coast and became poised to be a world power.
James Knox Polk was born on November 1795 in a log cabin in Pineville, North Carolina. He was the first of 10 children born into a family of farmers, his mother Jane named him after James Knox. His father Samuel Polk was a farmer and surveyor of Scots-Irish descent; the Polks had immigrated to America in the late 1600s, settling on the Eastern Shore of Maryland but moving to south-central Pennsylvania and to the Carolina hill country. The Knox and Polk families were Presbyterian. While Polk's mother remained a devout Presbyterian, his father, whose own father Ezekiel Polk was a deist, rejected dogmatic Presbyterianism, he refused to declare his belief in Christianity at his son's baptism, the minister refused to baptize young James. James' mother "stamped her rigid orthodoxy on James, instilling lifelong Calvinistic traits of self-discipline, hard work, individualism, a belief in the imperfection of human nature," according to James A. Rawley's American National Biography article. In 1803, Ezekiel Polk led four of his adult children and their families to the Duck River area in what is now Maury County, Tennessee.
The Polk clan dominated politics in the new town of Columbia. Samuel became a county judge, the guests at his home included Andrew Jackson, who had served as a judge and in Congress. James learned from the political talk around the dinner table. Polk suffered from frail health as a particular disadvantage in a frontier society, his father took him to see prominent Philadelphia physician Dr. Philip Syng Physick for urinary stones; the journey was broken off by James's severe pain, Dr. Ephraim McDowell of Danville, operated to remove them. No anesthetic was available except brandy; the operation was successful, but it might have left James impotent or sterile, as he had no children. He recovered and became more robust, his father offered to bring him into one of his businesses, but he wanted an education and enrolled at a Presbyterian academy in 1813. He became a member of the Zion Church near his home in 1813, enrolled in the Zion Church Academy, he entered Bradley Academy in Murfreesboro, where he proved a promising student.
In January 1816, Polk was admitted into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a second-semester sophomore. The Polk family had connections with the university a small school of about 80 students. Polk's roommate was William Dunn Moseley. Polk joined the Dialectic Society where he took part in debates, became its president, learned the art of oratory. In one address, he warned that some American leaders were flirting with monarchical ideals, singling out Alexander Hamilton, a foe of Jefferson. Polk graduated with honors in
Allegheny Portage Railroad
The Allegheny Portage Railroad was the first railroad constructed through the Allegheny Mountains in central Pennsylvania, United States. 36 miles long overall, both ends connected to the Pennsylvania Canal, the system was used as a portage railway, haulting river boats and barges over the divide between the Ohio and the Susquehanna Rivers. The railroad was authorized as part of the Main Line of Public Works legislation in 1824, it had five inclines on either side of the drainage divide running athwart the ridge line from Blair Gap through along the kinked saddle at the summit into Cresson, Pennsylvania. The endpoints connected to the Canal at Johnstown on the west through the relative flats to Hollidaysburg on the east; the Railroad utilized cleverly designed wheeled barges to ride a narrow-gauge rail track with steam-powered stationary engines lifting the vehicles. The roadbed of the railroad did not incline monotonically upwards, but rose in long, saw-toothed stretches of slightly-sloped flat terrain suitable to animal powered towing, alternating with steep cable railway inclined planes using static steam engine powered windlasses, similar to mechanisms of modern ski lifts.
Except for peak moments of severe storms, it was an all-seasons operation. Along with the rest of the Main Works, it cut transport time from Philadelphia to the Ohio River from weeks to just 3–5 days. Considered a technological marvel in its day, it played a critical role in opening the interior of the United States beyond the Appalachian Mountains to settlement and commerce, it included the first railroad tunnel in the United States, the Staple Bend Tunnel, its inauguration was marked with great fanfare. Construction of the Old Portage Railroad from Hollidaysburg to Johnstown, thirty six miles long, began in 1831 and took three years to complete, it included a tunnel 900 feet long as well as a viaduct over the Little Conemaugh River upstream from Johnstown. The vertical ascent from Johnstown was 1,172 feet; the vertical ascent from Hollidaysburg was 1,399 feet. The project was financed by the State of Pennsylvania as a means to compete with the Erie Canal in New York and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Maryland.
The work was done through private contractors. The railroad utilized eleven grade lines and ten cable inclined planes, five on either side of the summit of the Allegheny Ridge to carry loaded canal boats on flatbed railroad cars. Trains of two-three cars were pulled on grade lines by mules. On incline planes, stationary steam engines pulled up and lowered down cars by hemp ropes switching to wire ropes in 1842; the entire Main Line system connecting Philadelphia and Pittsburgh via the Philadelphia-Columbia railroad, the Columbia-Hollidaysburg canal, the Portage railroad linking Hollidaysburg to Johnstown, a canal from Johnstown to Pittsburgh, was 400 miles long. A typical ride took 4 days instead of the former 23-day horse-wagon journey; the Old Portage Railroad was in operation for twenty years being considered "the wonder of America." Charles Dickens wrote a contemporary account of travel on the railroad in Chapter 10 of his American Notes. In the 1850s, the Main Line of Public Works and its portage railroad was rendered obsolete by the advance of railway technology and railroad engineering.
Early in 1846 the Legislature chartered the Pennsylvania Railroad to cross the entire state in response to plans by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to reach the Ohio Valley through Virginia. In December 1852 trains started to run between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh shortening the travel time from 4 days to 13 hours. Construction on the New Portage Railroad, a 40-mile realignment to cross the Allegheny Ridge bypassing inclines, started in 1851 and cost $2.14 million. The PRR raised sufficient investment and had enough quick success that they bought the existing Portage railroad and other parts of the Main Line of Public Works from the state on July 31, 1857; the PRR used the rest as local branches. The line reopened as a freight bypass line in 1904. Pennsylvania Railroad successor Conrail abandoned this line to Hollidaysburg and most of the branch trackage along the Juniata River in 1981 and removed the rails. Today, the remains of the railroad are preserved within the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service.
The site was established on 1,296 acres in 1964 and is about 12 miles west of Altoona, in Blair and Cambria counties. The park service operates a visitor center with interpretive exhibits near the old line. Nearby is the Samuel Lemon House, a tavern located alongside the railroad near Cresson, a popular stop for railroad passengers; the NPS maintains a length of reconstructed track, an engine house with exhibits, a picnic area, hiking trails. A skew arch bridge, a masterwork of cut stone construction, is another feature of the site near the Lemon House; the bridge is 60.4 feet long on the south elevation, 54.9 feet long on the north elevation, 22.2 feet high. It was the only bridge on the line, built to carry a road; the Staple Bend Tunnel is preserved in a separate unit of the historic site, 5 miles e
Robert J. Walker
Robert John Walker was an American lawyer and politician. An active member of the Democratic Party, he served as a member of the U. S. Senate from Mississippi from 1835 until 1845, as Secretary of the Treasury from 1845 to 1849 during the administration of President James K. Polk, as Territorial Governor of Kansas in 1857; as senator, Walker vigorously supported the annexation of Texas. As Secretary of the Treasury, he held responsibility for the management of funds relating to the Mexican–American War, was involved in a bank scandal, he contributed to a bill called the Walker tariff, which reduced rates to some of the lowest in history. Walker was appointed Governor of Kansas in 1857 by President James Buchanan but resigned shortly after due to his opposition to the administration-sponsored pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution. After his retirement from politics, Walker supported the United States during the American Civil War and continued to practice law in Washington, D. C. Born in Northumberland, Pennsylvania to Revolutionary War veteran and Pennsylvania judge, Jonathan Hoge Walker and his wife Lucretia Duncan Walker, he and his brother Duncan grew up in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania from 1806 to 1814, where Jonathan Walker served as presiding judge of the judicial district.
Judge Walker become the first Judge of the U. S. District Court served until his death. Educated at the Bellefonte Academy, Robert Walker graduated in 1819 at the top of his class at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a member of the Philomathean Society, he had five children, including Duncan Stephen Walker. Admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in Pittsburgh in 1821, Walker practiced law in Pittsburgh from 1822 until 1826 when he moved to Natchez, where his father had died in 1824 at the home of his brother Duncan Walker. Robert Walker joined his brother, Duncan Walker, in a lucrative law practice. Walker and his uncle speculated in cotton and slaves. However, his brother Duncan moved to Texas in 1834 for health reasons, where he became involved in land speculation and the growing independence movement. For his involvement in the abortive Texas Revolution of 1835, Duncan Walker was imprisoned in Mexico, traveled to Cuba after his release, where he died on December 31, 1835. Robert Walker became politically prominent during the Nullification Crisis of 1832 arguing the federal government's right to coerce rebellious states and earning praise from former President James Madison.
In 1836 Walker became the Union candidate for U. S. Senate from Mississippi and won election over the incumbent George Poindexter, who had criticized him for rigging bids to purchase land that Mississippi had acquired from the Choctaw as a result of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. Walker served in the United States Senate as a Unionist Democrat from 1835 to 1845, winning re-election by a 2 to 1 margin over Sergeant S. Prentiss, as well as convincing Mississippi legislators to adopt resolutions denouncing nullification and secession as treason. An ardent expansionist, Walker supported the administration of President Andrew Jackson and voted for recognition of the Republic of Texas in 1837 and in January 1844 proposed annexation of Texas, subject to gradual emancipation and colonization of its black population, for which John C. Calhoun criticized him. Nonetheless, Walker proposed the joint annexation resolution of 1845, he worked for the nomination and election of James K. Polk in 1844, in part because President Martin Van Buren opposed annexation.
Walker favored the award of public lands to new states and proposed a Homestead bill in 1836. He endorsed a low tariff, he opposed the Bank of the United States, repeal of the Missouri Compromise of 1850. As a Mississippi senator and slaveholder himself, Walker passionately defended slavery, while opposing the African slave trade and favoring gradual emancipation and the efforts of the American Colonization Society, he stressed its economic benefits, claimed slaves/ African Americans would fall into turpitude or insanity without firm masters. However, in 1838 Walker freed some of his slaves. Walker claimed that independent Texas had to be annexed to prevent it from falling into the hands of Great Britain, which would use it to spread subversion throughout the South, he warned northerners that if Britain succeeded in undermining slavery, the freedmen would go north, where "the poor-house and the jail, the asylums of the deaf and dumb, the blind, the idiot and insane, would be filled to overflowing."
Upon the recommendation of Vice President George M. Dallas, newly-elected President Polk nominated Walker to become U. S. Secretary of the Treasury, fellow Senators confirmed him. Walker served in that position throughout the Polk administration, was an influential member of the President's Cabinet. Walker was involved in a prominent Treasury report of December 3, 1845, which attacked the tariff protection system for manufactures yet supported a tariff for revenue; the Walker Tariff of 1846 was based upon the principles of this paper and was in fact the secretary's own work. He drafted the 1849 bill to establish the Unite