Weed, Thurlow

Weed, Thurlow

(thûr`lō), 1797–1882, American journalist and political leader, b. Cairo, N.Y. After working on various newspapers in W New York, Weed joined the Rochester Telegraph and was influential as a supporter of 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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. For a short time he published the Anti-Masonic Enquirer and as a leader of the Anti-Masonic partyAnti-Masonic party,
American political organization that rose after the disappearance in W New York state in 1826 of William Morgan. A former Mason, Morgan had written a book purporting to reveal Masonic secrets.
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 opposed Martin Van BurenVan Buren, Martin,
1782–1862, 8th President of the United States (1837–41), b. Kinderhook, Columbia co., N.Y. Early Career

He was reared on his father's farm, was educated at local schools, and after reading law was admitted (1803) to the bar.
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. He wielded much political influence as editor of the Albany Evening Journal after 1830 and was a staunch opponent of the Albany RegencyAlbany Regency,
name given, after 1820, to the leaders of the first political machine, which was developed in New York state by Martin Van Buren. The name derived from the charge that Van Buren's principal supporters, residing in Albany, managed the machine for him while he
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. Becoming a Whig, Weed in 1840 helped secure the election of William H. Harrison as President. In 1844 he helped bring about the presidential nomination of Henry Clay, and in 1848 he backed Zachary Taylor. Though paying lip service to various reforms, notably the abolition of slavery, Weed was more at home with the problems of patronage and lobbying and came to be regarded as the silent boss of the Whig partyWhig party,
one of the two major political parties of the United States in the second quarter of the 19th cent. Origins

As a party it did not exist before 1834, but its nucleus was formed in 1824 when the adherents of John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay joined forces
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. After the Whig party disintegrated over the slavery issue, Weed joined (1855) the new Republican party and worked in close cooperation with William H. SewardSeward, William Henry,
1801–72, American statesman, b. Florida, Orange co., N.Y. Early Career

A graduate (1820) of Union College, he was admitted to the bar in 1822 and established himself as a lawyer in Auburn, N.Y., which he made his lifelong home.
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. Seward was his close personal friend as well as political ally, and Weed carefully shepherded Seward's career as state legislator, governor of New York, and U.S. senator. He failed, however, to secure for Seward the Republican presidential nomination in 1860. Both Weed and Seward nevertheless came to be President Lincoln's staunch supporters. During the Civil War, Weed went on a special diplomatic mission to France and England. His political power in the Republican party was destroyed by his support of the ReconstructionReconstruction,
1865–77, in U.S. history, the period of readjustment following the Civil War. At the end of the Civil War, the defeated South was a ruined land. The physical destruction wrought by the invading Union forces was enormous, and the old social and economic
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 policies of Andrew JohnsonJohnson, Andrew,
1808–75, 17th President of the United States (1865–69), b. Raleigh, N.C. Early Life

His father died when Johnson was 3, and at 14 he was apprenticed to a tailor.
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 in 1866, and he was never again able to exert great political influence. His travels were turned to account in his Letters From Europe and the West Indies (1866).

Bibliography

See The Life of Thurlow Weed (2 vol., 1883–84, including his autobiography and a memoir by his grandson); biography by G. G. Van Deusen (1947, repr. 1969).

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