Richard Rush

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Rush, Richard,

1780–1859, Amercian statesman and diplomat, b. Philadelphia; son of Benjamin RushRush, Benjamin,
1745?–1813, American physician, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Byberry (now part of Philadelphia), Pa., grad. College of New Jersey (now Princeton, 1760), M.D. Univ. of Edinburgh (1768).
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. He studied law and became (1811) attorney general of Pennsylvania, resigning the same year to become comptroller of the U.S. Treasury, and from 1814 to 1817 was U.S. attorney general. While serving temporarily as secretary of state (1817), he helped negotiate the Rush-Bagot ConventionRush-Bagot Convention
, 1817, agreement between the United States and Great Britain concerning the Canadian border. It consisted of the exchange of notes signed by Richard Rush, Acting Secretary of State of the United States, and Charles Bagot, British minister in Washington.
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 and in the same year was made minister to Great Britain. He signed (1818) a convention with the British providing for joint occupation of the Oregon country. His preliminary negotiations with George Canning, British foreign minister, on policy toward Latin America led to the enunciation (1823) of the Monroe DoctrineMonroe Doctrine,
principle of American foreign policy enunciated in President James Monroe's message to Congress, Dec. 2, 1823. It initially called for an end to European intervention in the Americas, but it was later extended to justify U.S.
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. From 1825 to 1829 he was secretary of the treasury under John Quincy AdamsAdams, John Quincy,
1767–1848, 6th President of the United States (1825–29), b. Quincy (then in Braintree), Mass.; son of John Adams and Abigail Adams and father of Charles Francis Adams (1807–86).
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, and in 1828 was Adams' vice presidential candidate in his unsuccessful bid for reelection. Rush spent from 1836 to 1838 in England obtaining the Smithson bequest for the establishment of the Smithsonian InstitutionSmithsonian Institution,
research and education center, mainly at Washington, D.C.; founded 1846 under the terms of the will of James Smithson of London, who in 1829 bequeathed his fortune to the United States to create an establishment for the "increase and diffusion of
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. Later, he was (1847–49) minister to France.

Bibliography

See biography by J. H. Powell (1942).

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Rush, Richard

(1780–1859) lawyer, diplomat; born in Philadelphia (son of Benjamin Rush). He graduated from the college of New Jersey (now Princeton) (1797). Admitted to the bar in 1800, he was the attorney-general for Pennsylvania (1811), comptroller of the U.S. treasury (1811–14), and U.S. attorney general (1814–17). Briefly secretary of state (1817), he negotiated the Rush-Bagot Agreement (which prohibited fortifications on the Great Lakes). As ambassador to Great Britain (1817–25), he was both well-liked and effective, settling issues resulting from the War of 1812 and the disputed Oregon territory; he also played an important role in setting forth the Monroe Doctrine. He was secretary of the treasury (1825–29), and after unsuccessfully running for vice-president on the ticket of John Quincy Adams, in 1828 he retired from political life for many years. From 1836 to 1838 he was in England as a lawyer who helped to secure the bequest of James Smithson that set up the Smithsonian Institution. He returned to public service to serve as ambassador to France (1847–49).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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