Stewart, William Morris

Stewart, William Morris,

1827–1909, American lawyer and political leader, b. Wayne co., N.Y. After migrating to California in 1850 he engaged in mining and held several state elective offices. He moved to Nevada, where his knowledge of mining law made him prominent, and upon Nevada's admission to the Union (1864) he became one of its first two senators. He served until 1875 and again from 1887 until 1905, when he retired. A strong supporter of the remonetization of silver, his political allegiance alternated between the Silver party and the Republican party. He wrote the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution in the form that was finally passed, was one of the first legislators to urge reclamation of land by irrigation, and played an important part in the passage of the National Mining Laws of 1866 and 1872.

Bibliography

See G. R. Brown, ed., Reminiscences of William Morris Stewart (1908).

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Stewart, William Morris

(1827–1909) lawyer, public official; born in Goshen, N.Y. He dropped out of Yale to join the California gold rush (1850), and after a period of prospecting, he settled down to practice law. He made a fortune in legal fees by representing the successful claimants to the Comstock Lode in Nevada in 1859, and went on to serve as Republican U.S. senator from Nevada (1864–75, 1887–1905). Always at the service of the silver interests, he endorsed Democrat William Jennings Bryan for president in 1896 on the basis of Bryan's support of a silver standard for currency. He was an early supporter of federal aid to reclaim arid lands for agriculture.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.