Henry Marie Brackenridge

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Brackenridge, Henry Marie,

1786–1871, American writer, b. Pittsburgh; son of Hugh Henry Brackenridge. Admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1806, he moved to St. Louis, where he was a lawyer and journalist. Among his writings are Views of Louisiana (1814), part of which was one of the sources of Washington Irving's Astoria, and a pamphlet South America (1817), which puts forth a policy similar to the Monroe Doctrine. Sent to South America to study political conditions, he recounted his experiences in Voyage to South America (1819). His Recollections of Persons and Places in the West (1834) is a valuable historical source.
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Brackenridge, Henry Marie

(1786–1871) lawyer, author; born in Pittsburgh, Pa. (son of Hugh Henry Brackenridge). He was raised by his unusual father, who nurtured his frontier roots with his own legal and literary interests; by age seven he had made a voyage down the Ohio River to a village where he learned French, and by age 20 he was admitted to the bar in Pittsburgh. His knowledge of natural history informed the books that were spawned by his travels; his Views of Louisiana drew on his years of practicing law there (1810–14); his Voyage to South America (1819) grew out of his 1818 trip as a member of a government commission—he had previously urged the policy that became the Monroe Doctrine. He served in the Maryland legislature and held administrative and judicial offices in Florida (1821–32); removed from the bench by President Andrew Jackson, he attacked Jackson in a pamphlet. He served briefly in the U.S. House of Representatives (Dem.-Rep., Pa.; 1840–41) but devoted the final decades of his life to writing memoirs, histories, and political and legal texts.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.