Wright, Silas

Wright, Silas,

1795–1847, American political leader, b. Amherst, Mass. He was admitted (1819) to the bar and began practicing law at Canton, N.Y. Becoming involved in state politics, in the 1820s he opposed the faction headed by De Witt Clinton and became one of the leaders 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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. Having served (1824–27) in the state senate, he became (1827) a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and was (1829–33) comptroller of New York state. In the U.S. Senate (1833–44), Wright consistently supported President Andrew Jackson, voted for the annexation of Texas, upheld the Independent Treasury SystemIndependent Treasury System,
in U.S. history, system for the retaining of government funds in the Treasury and its subtreasuries independently of the national banking and financial systems. In one form or another, it existed from the 1840s to 1921.
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, and opposed slavery. In 1844 the Democratic convention chose him as its vice presidential candidate, but Wright refused the nomination, ran for governor of New York instead, and defeated Millard FillmoreFillmore, Millard,
1800–1874, 13th President of the United States (July, 1850–Mar., 1853), b. Locke (now Summer Hill), N.Y. Because he was compelled to work at odd jobs at an early age to earn a living his education was irregular and incomplete.
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 in a close contest. Wright vetoed a canal improvement bill, opposed calling the constitutional convention of 1846, and used the militia in the antirent riots.


See biography by J. A. Garraty (1949, repr. 1970).

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