Thomas George Pratt
| United States Senator |
January 12, 1850 –March 4, 1857
|Preceded by||David Stewart|
|Succeeded by||Anthony Kennedy|
|27th governor of Maryland|
January 6, 1845 –January 3, 1848
|Preceded by||Francis Thomas|
|Succeeded by||Philip F. Thomas|
|Member of the Maryland House of Delegates|
|Born||February 18, 1804|
Georgetown, Maryland, US
|Died||November 9, 1869 65) (aged|
Baltimore, Maryland, US
|Political party||Whig, Democrat|
|Spouse(s)||Adelaide MacKubin Kent|
|Alma mater||Georgetown University|
Thomas George Pratt (February 18, 1804 –November 9, 1869) was a lawyer and politician from Annapolis, Maryland. He was the 27th governor of Maryland from 1845 to 1848 and a U.S. senator from 1850 to 1857.
Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. Situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, 25 miles (40 km) south of Baltimore and about 30 miles (50 km) east of Washington, D.C., Annapolis is part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. Its population was measured at 38,394 by the 2010 census.
The governor of the State of Maryland heads the executive branch of the government of the State of Maryland, and is the commander-in-chief of the state's National Guard units. The governor is the highest-ranking official in the state and has a broad range of appointive powers in both the state and local governments, as specified by the Maryland Constitution. Because of the extent of these constitutional powers, the governor of Maryland has been ranked as being among the most powerful governors in the United States.
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.
Pratt was born in Georgetown, Maryland (now a part of Washington, D.C.), completed preparatory studies, and attended Georgetown University. He is believed to have attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) at some point, but this has yet to be proven. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, in 1823. Pratt married and had five children with Adeline MacKubin Kent, daughter of Maryland governor Joseph Kent, on September 1, 1835.
Georgetown University is a private research university in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789 as Georgetown College, the university has grown to comprise nine undergraduate and graduate schools, among which are the School of Foreign Service, School of Business, Medical School, and Law School. Located on a hill above the Potomac River, the school's main campus is identifiable by its flagship Healy Hall, a National Historic Landmark. Georgetown offers degree programs in forty-eight disciplines, enrolling an average of 7,500 undergraduate and 10,000 post-graduate students from more than 130 countries.
Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.
Upper Marlboro, officially the Town of Upper Marlboro, is the seat of Prince George's County, Maryland in the United States. The population within the town limits was 631 at the 2010 U.S. Census, although Greater Upper Marlboro is many times larger.
Pratt served as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1832 to 1835, and as a presidential elector on the Whig ticket for William Henry Harrison in 1836. He was appointed president of the Governor's Council in 1836, serving until the position was abolished the following year. Pratt was elected a member of the Maryland State Senate, the first directly elected senator from Prince George's County, Maryland, and served from 1838 to 1843. In 1844, Pratt was nominated as a candidate for governor representing the Whig party. He campaigned with the promise of resolving the serious state debt, and defeated his opponent, James Carroll, by a margin of a mere 548 votes.
The Maryland House of Delegates is the lower house of the legislature of the State of Maryland. It consists of 141 delegates elected from 47 districts. The House of Delegates Chamber is in the Maryland State House on State Circle in Annapolis, the state capital. The State House also houses the Maryland State Senate Chamber and the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of the State of Maryland. Each delegate has offices in Annapolis, in the nearby Casper R. Taylor Jr. House Office Building.
William Henry Harrison Sr. was a United States military officer and politician who served as the ninth president of the United States in 1841. He died of typhoid fever 31 days into his term, becoming the first U.S. president to die in office. His death sparked a brief constitutional crisis regarding succession to the presidency, as the U.S. Constitution was unclear as to whether Vice President John Tyler should assume the office of President or merely execute the duties of the vacant office. Tyler claimed a constitutional mandate to carry out the full powers and duties of the presidency and took the presidential oath of office, setting an important precedent for an orderly transfer of presidential power when a president leaves office intra-term.
Prince George's County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland, bordering the eastern portion of Washington, D.C. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 863,420, making it the second-most populous county in Maryland, behind only Montgomery County. Its county seat is Upper Marlboro. It is one of the richest African American-majority counties in the United States, with five of its communities identified in a 2015 top ten list.
Pratt immediately announced several long-term objectives, namely the immediate payment of the serious debt of the state. To raise state funds, Pratt put into effect direct taxes on the population by the government, an unpopular decision at the time, which nevertheless repopulated the state's treasury and allowed the repayment of the debt.
The most serious problems of Pratt's administration came with relations to the northern neighbor state of Pennsylvania, which refused to comply with the Fugitive Slave Law. In 1847, when Maryland requested the return of several escaped slaves, Pennsylvania's governor bluntly refused, and, with the support of his attorney-general, went as far as to declare certain acts issued by the Maryland General Assembly to be unconstitutional. Two more incidents of this nature occurred during Pratt's tenure as governor, one involving the death of a slaveholder who was ambushed in Pennsylvania by abolitionists as he and his party returned to Maryland with their re-captured slaves. It was during this time that Pratt began to move away from the Whig party and more towards the Democratic Party.
Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.
The Maryland General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maryland that convenes within the State House in Annapolis. It is a bicameral body: the upper chamber, the Maryland State Senate, has 47 representatives and the lower chamber, the Maryland House of Delegates, has 141 representatives. Members of both houses serve four-year terms. Each house elects its own officers, judges the qualifications and election of its own members, establishes rules for the conduct of its business, and may punish or expel its own members.
In terms of transportation, Pratt favored the extension of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad into Ohio, rather than supporting canals. Pratt also strongly encouraged peaceful and speedy resolution over the dispute between Great Britain and the United States regarding the Oregon Territory, stating that "no part of the Union would, in the event of war, be more exposed than Maryland".
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first common carrier railroad and the oldest railroad in the United States, with its first section opening in 1830. It came into being mostly because the city of Baltimore wanted to compete with the newly constructed Erie Canal and another canal being proposed by Pennsylvania, which would have connected Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. At first this railroad was located entirely in the state of Maryland, with an original line built from the port of Baltimore west to Sandy Hook.
Canals, or navigations, are human-made channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicles.
The Territory of Oregon was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from August 14, 1848, until February 14, 1859, when the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Oregon. Originally claimed by several countries, the region was divided between the UK and US in 1846. When established, the territory encompassed an area that included the current states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as parts of Wyoming and Montana. The capital of the territory was first Oregon City, then Salem, followed briefly by Corvallis, then back to Salem, which became the state capital upon Oregon's admission to the Union.
Pratt's term as governor expired in 1848, and he briefly returned to practicing law in Annapolis, Maryland. The state legislature, however, nominated him in 1850 to assume the U.S. Senate seat left vacated by Reverdy Johnson, who had resigned to become Attorney General of the United States in the cabinet of President Zachary Taylor. He was reelected in 1851 and served from January 12, 1850, to March 4, 1857. As senator, Pratt supported Democrat James Buchanan in the 1856 presidential election, following the dissolution of the Whig party. The Silver Gray or Old Line faction of the Whigs, and the American Party, however, supported former President Millard Fillmore, who won in Maryland,and the American candidate, Anthony Kennedy, succeeded Pratt as senator.
Reverdy Johnson was a statesman and jurist from Maryland. He gained fame as a defense attorney, defending notables such as Sanford of the Dred Scott case, Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter at his court-martial, and Mary Surratt, alleged conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. A former Whig, he was a strong supporter of the Union war effort. At first he opposed wartime efforts to abolish slavery until 1864, and supported 13th Amendment.
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When the American Civil War began, Pratt was eyed suspiciously by Maryland authorities, as he was staunchly pro-slavery, but mostly pro-South, and even gave a son to the Confederate Army. In 1863, Pratt tried to vote in the November election. He was not allowed to vote because he would not take a loyalty oath. Pratt and his secretary Col. Nicholson were arrested because of the refusal on November 21, 1863. He was imprisoned at Fort Monroe,but was later released. He moved to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1864, resuming the practice of law. The same year, Pratt served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. In 1866, he attended the National Union Convention in Philadelphia. Pratt was one of the attorneys for Jefferson Davis during his trial at Fortress Monroe. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate in 1867, and died in Baltimore in 1869. He is interred in St. Anne’s Cemetery of Annapolis.
The United States presidential election of 1856 was the 18th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 4, 1856. In a three-way election, Democrat James Buchanan defeated Republican nominee John C. Frémont and American Party nominee Millard Fillmore.
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| Governor of Maryland |
January 6, 1845 –January 3, 1848
Philip F. Thomas
| U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Maryland |
January 12, 1850 –March 4, 1857
Served alongside: James A. Pearce