Alexander James Dallas
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Dallas, Alexander James(dăl`əs), 1759–1817, U.S. secretary of the treasury (1814–16), b. Jamaica, West Indies. He went (1783) to Philadelphia, practiced law, and was secretary of state (1791–1801) and U.S. district attorney (1801–14) in Pennsylvania. Appointed secretary of the treasury by President MadisonMadison, James,
1751–1836, 4th President of the United States (1809–17), b. Port Conway, Va. Early Career
A member of the Virginia planter class, he attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), graduating in 1771.
..... Click the link for more information. , Dallas succeeded to the office near the close of the War of 1812, when treasury affairs were in an extremely critical conditon. He pushed Congress to levy taxes heavier than any previously borne in the United States and asked for the reestablishment of the Bank of the United StatesBank of the United States,
name for two national banks established by the U.S. Congress to serve as government fiscal agents and as depositories for federal funds; the first bank was in existence from 1791 to 1811 and the second from 1816 to 1836.
..... Click the link for more information. . Under Dallas's administration confidence in U.S. currency was restored. After securing Madison's veto on the first bank bill, which did not suit him, Dallas largely dictated the second bill, which John C. CalhounCalhoun, John Caldwell
, 1782–1850, American statesman and political philosopher, b. near Abbeville, S.C., grad. Yale, 1804. He was an intellectual giant of political life in his day. Early Career
Calhoun studied law under Tapping Reeve at Litchfield, Conn.
..... Click the link for more information. forced through Congress; it became law in 1816.
See biographies by his son George Mifflin Dallas (1871) and R. Walters, Jr. (1943, repr. 1969).
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Dallas, Alexander James(1759–1817) lawyer, public official; born on the island of Jamaica. The son of a physician, he attended Edinburgh University, worked as a merchant clerk, returned to the West Indies, and began practicing law there. In 1783 he emigrated to the United States, settling in Philadelphia. A journalist as well as a lawyer of repute, he became U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania in 1801, serving 13 years. From 1814–16 he was secretary of the treasury in the Madison administration.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.