Gadsden, James(gădz`dən), 1788–1858, American railroad promoter and diplomat, b. Charleston, S.C.; grandson of Christopher Gadsden. He served in the War of 1812, under Andrew Jackson against the Seminole, and, later, as commissioner to remove the Seminole to their reservation in Florida. He was a promoter of railroads and advocated a Southern rail system, the purpose of which would be to control the trade of the South and the West, thereby freeing those regions from their dependency on the North. To further this end he promoted Southern commercial conventions, and at a convention in Memphis in 1845 he boldly urged the construction of a railroad to the Pacific. In 1853, when his friend Jefferson Davis was Secretary of War in Pierce's cabinet, Gadsden was appointed minister to Mexico to negotiate for territory along the border. The result was the Gadsden PurchaseGadsden Purchase
, strip of land purchased (1853) by the United States from Mexico. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) had described the U.S.-Mexico boundary vaguely, and President Pierce wanted to insure U.S.
..... Click the link for more information. . He was recalled (1856) for exceeding his instructions.
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Gadsden, James(1788–1858) soldier, businessman, diplomat; born in Charleston, S.C. (grandson of Christopher Gadsden). He graduated from Yale (1806) and served in both the War of 1812 and conflicts with the Seminole Indians. He was president of the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Railroad (1840–50) (renamed the South Carolina Railroad in 1842) and was a major proponent of a southern route from the eastern U.S.A. to the Pacific. While U.S. ambassador to Mexico (1853–56), he was authorized to purchase a huge section of northern Mexico in order to provide for a direct southern route. He succeeded in buying a smaller tract of land for $10 million, known as the Gadsden purchase (1853).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.