Macon, Nathaniel

Macon, Nathaniel

(mā`kən), 1758–1837, American political leader, b. near the present Warrenton, N.C. He served in the American Revolution and later became a political figure in North Carolina and an ardent champion of states' rights. He opposed the U.S. Constitution because he thought it gave too much power to the federal government. In the early years of the republic he was a national figure, serving as U.S. Representative (1791–1815; speaker of the House, 1801–7) and U.S. Senator (1815–28; president pro tempore of the Senate, 1826–28). He was a stout Jeffersonian, although briefly in Jefferson's second administration he sided with a small faction called the QuidsQuids,
in U.S. political history, an extreme states' rights group of Jeffersonian Republicans led by John Randolph of Virginia. Feeling that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison had retreated from the states' rights position they had taken in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
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, who favored James Monroe rather than James Madison as the presidential candidate to succeed Jefferson. From the time that he opposed the Alien and Sedition Acts to the end of his career he stood for Jeffersonian ideas of personal liberty and states' rights. He opposed protective tariffs, the reestablishment of the Bank of the United States, most of the plans for internal improvement, and (ironically enough) Macon's Bill No. 2, which bears his name (see Embargo Act of 1807Embargo Act of 1807,
passed Dec. 22, 1807, by the U.S. Congress in answer to the British orders in council restricting neutral shipping and to Napoleon's restrictive Continental System. The U.S.
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). Some of his correspondence was edited by Kemp P. Battle (1902).

Bibliography

See biography by W. E. Dodd (1908, repr. 1970).

Macon, Nathaniel

(1757–1837) U.S. representative/senator; born in Edgecombe, N.C. Although he came north to serve in the New Jersey militia in 1777, he opposed the Constitution. He served in the North Carolina senate (1780–84) before going to the U.S. House of Representatives (Rep., N.C.; 1791–1815) and Senate (1815–28). A defender of slavery, he led the Republican opposition to any Federalist proposals, becoming known for his negative votes. After his retirement he championed states' rights and Van Buren's candidacy.