Thomas R. Whitney

Last updated

Thomas Richard Whitney (May 2, 1807 – April 12, 1858) was a nineteenth-century politician and writer from New York.



Born in New York City, New York, Whitney was the son of a silversmith. He pursued classical studies and worked as a jeweler, engraver and watchmaker before turning to journalism and politics as editor of the New York Sunday Times. He later published his own paper, the Sunday Morning News, and a magazine, The Republic.

He was a member of the Silver Gray (pro-Millard Fillmore and anti-William H. Seward) faction of the Whig Party, and served as Clerk of the city's Board of Assistant Aldermen. He ran unsuccessfully for the New York State Assembly in 1852. He served as a Whig member of the New York State Senate (4th D.) in 1854 and 1855. [1]

He later became a member of the American Party, also called the Know Nothing Party, and authored 1856's popular A Defence of the American Policy, a book which provided an explanation of the Know Nothing platform and policy objectives. As a Know Nothing, in 1854 Whitney was elected to the 34th United States Congress, and he served from March 4, 1855, to March 3, 1857. During the extended balloting for Speaker of the House in December 1855, Whitney consistently received one vote, that of Henry Mills Fuller.

Whitney became ill during his term in Congress, and traveled to South America in an effort to regain his health. He died in New York City on April 12, 1858, about three weeks after returning home. He was interred in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. [1]



  1. 1 2 United States Congress. "Thomas R. Whitney (id: W000425)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress .
  2. Wilson & Fiske 1900.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1856 United States presidential election</span> 18th quadrennial U.S. presidential election

The 1856 United States presidential election 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 Know Nothing nominee Millard Fillmore. The main issue was the expansion of slavery as facilitated by the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854. Buchanan defeated President Franklin Pierce at the 1856 Democratic National Convention for the nomination. Pierce had become widely unpopular in the North because of his support for the pro-slavery faction in the ongoing civil war in territorial Kansas, and Buchanan, a former Secretary of State, had avoided the divisive debates over the Kansas–Nebraska Act by being in Europe as the Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coles Bashford</span> American politician and pioneer, Governor of Wisconsin (1816–1878)

Coles Bashford was an American lawyer and politician who became the fifth governor of Wisconsin, and one of the founders of the U.S. Republican Party. His one term as governor ended in a bribery scandal that ended in him fleeing Wisconsin, but he was later instrumental in the government of the newly formed Arizona Territory.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry B. Anthony</span> United States journalist and politician

Henry Bowen Anthony was a United States newspaperman and political figure. He served as editor and was later part owner of the Providence Journal. He was the 21st Governor of Rhode Island, serving between 1849 and 1851 as a member of the Whig Party. Near the end of the 1850s, he was elected to the Senate by the Rhode Island Legislature and was re-elected 4 times. He would be twice elected to the Senate's highest post as President pro tempore during the Grant administration, and served until his death in 1884.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Lemuel James</span> American politician

Thomas Lemuel James was an American journalist, government official, and banker who served as the United States Postmaster General in 1881.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Abbott Lawrence</span> American industrialist and politician (1792–1855)

Abbott Lawrence was a prominent American businessman, politician, and philanthropist. He was among the group of industrialists that founded a settlement on the Merrimack River that would later be named for him, Lawrence, Massachusetts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Andrew Jackson Donelson</span> American diplomat (1799–1871)

Andrew Jackson Donelson was an American diplomat and politician. He served in various positions as a Democrat and was the Know Nothing nominee for US vice president in 1856.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">34th United States Congress</span> 1855-1857 U.S. Congress

The 34th United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C., from March 4, 1855, to March 4, 1857, during the last two years of Franklin Pierce's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the 1850 United States census. The Whig Party, one of the two major parties of the era, had largely collapsed, although many former Whigs ran as Republicans or as members of the "Opposition Party." The Senate had a Democratic majority, and the House was controlled by a coalition of Representatives led by Nathaniel P. Banks, a member of the American Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1854–55 United States House of Representatives elections</span> House elections for the 34th U.S. Congress

The 1854–55 United States House of Representatives elections were held in 31 states for all 234 seats between August 4, 1854 and November 6, 1855, during President Franklin Pierce's term. Each state legislature separately set a date to elect representatives to the House of Representatives before the 34th Congress convened its first session on December 3, 1855.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Gardner</span> American politician

Henry Joseph Gardner was the 23rd Governor of Massachusetts, serving from 1855 to 1858. Gardner, a Know Nothing, was elected governor as part of the sweeping victory of Know Nothing candidates in the Massachusetts elections of 1854.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Everhart</span> American politician (1785–1868)

William Everhart was an entrepreneur and wealthy businessman from Pennsylvania. He was responsible for developing much of West Chester and stimulating its economic growth. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1853 to 1855.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edward Joy Morris</span> American politician and diplomat (1815-1881)

Edward Joy Morris was an American politician and diplomat. He served as a Whig member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania's 1st congressional district from 1843 to 1845 and as a Republican member for Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district from 1857 to 1861. He served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1841 to 1842 and again in 1856. He served as United States Chargé d'affaires to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies from 1850 to 1853 and as Minister Resident to the Ottoman Empire from 1861 to 1870.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Theodore Eisfeld</span>

Theodore Eisfeld was a conductor, most notably of the New York Philharmonic Society, which became the New York Philharmonic.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Amasa J. Parker</span> American judge

Amasa Junius Parker was an attorney, politician and judge from New York. He is most notable for his service as a member of the New York State Assembly (1834), a U.S. Representative (1837-1839), and a justice of the New York Supreme Court.

Benjamin Sprague Cowen was a U.S. Representative from Ohio.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Samuel Galloway</span> American politician (1811–1872)

Samuel Galloway was a U.S. Representative from Ohio.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Know Nothing</span> 1850s US nativist political party

The Know Nothing movement was a nativist political movement in the United States in the mid-1850s. The national political organization of the Know Nothings was officially known as the "Native American Party" prior to 1855; thereafter, it was simply known as the "American Party". Members of the movement were required to say "I know nothing" whenever they were asked about its specifics by outsiders, providing the group with its colloquial name.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Robert T. Conrad</span> American politician, lawyer and writer

Robert Taylor Conrad was an American politician, lawyer and writer from Pennsylvania who served as mayor of Philadelphia from 1854 to 1856. He was the first mayor of Philadelphia after the Consolidation Act of 1854.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Lunt</span> American editor, lawyer, author, and politician

George Lunt was an American editor, lawyer, author, and politician. George's ancestor, Henry Lunt, was one of the original settlers of Newbury (1635). His grandfather's exploits with John Paul Jones were chronicled by James Fenimore Cooper.

Joseph Blunt (February 1792 – June 16, 1860, was an American lawyer, author, editor, and politician from New York. In 1858, he was appointed New York County district attorney.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1854–55 United States Senate elections</span>

The 1854–55 United States Senate elections were held on various dates in various states. As these U.S. Senate elections were prior to the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, senators were chosen by state legislatures. Senators were elected over a wide range of time throughout 1854 and 1855, and a seat may have been filled months late or remained vacant due to legislative deadlock. In these elections, terms were up for the senators in Class 3.


New York State Senate
Preceded by New York State Senate
4th District

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by