Allen, William,1704–80, American jurist, b. Philadelphia. He and his father-in-law, Andrew Hamilton, decided the choice of Philadelphia instead of Chester as provincial capital, and he helped finance the building of Independence Hall. Allen was (1750–74) chief justice of Pennsylvania, secured (1763) postponement of the sugar duties, and helped (1765) Benjamin Franklin in his efforts to have the Stamp Act repealed. He wrote The American Crisis (1774), containing a plan for colonial reconciliation with England. When it was not accepted, he made his home in England. Allentown, Pa., was named for him.
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Allen, William(1803–79) U.S. representative, governor; born in Edenton, N.C. He moved to Ohio (1819) and was admitted to the bar in 1827. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives (Dem., Ohio; 1833–35) and in the U.S. Senate (Dem., Ohio; 1837–49). An ardent expansionist, he was chairman of the committee on foreign relations. He acted as a spokesperson for President James Polk during the deliberations on the start of the Mexican War. An antiwar Democrat during the Civil War, he later served as governor of Ohio (1874–76). Ohio placed his statue in the U.S. Capitol.
Allen, William (McPherson)(1900–85) , aircraft manufacturer; born in Lolo, Montana. A Harvard educated lawyer, he worked for the legal counsel of Boeing Aircraft, joining the company's board of directors in 1931. First as president and then chairman and chief executive officer, from 1945 to 1972 he guided Boeing as it became the world's largest commercial jet transport producer.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.