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William L. Marcy Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: December 12, 1786 in Southbridge, Massachusetts
Died: July 4, 1857 in Ballston Spa, New York
Biography | show moreshow less
Marcy (1786-1857) served as U.S. Senator from New York (1831-1832), Governor of New York (1833-1839), Polk's Secretary of War (1845-1849) and Pierce's Secretary of State (1853-1857). As Secretary of State, Marcy, who would be instrumental in opening trade with Japan, negotiated twenty-four treaties, including the important Gadsden Treaty with Mexico and the Reciprocity Treaty with Great Britain, and pacts with the Netherlands, Denmark and the Argentine Confederation in addition to Peru. In 1832, he had commented "To the victors belong the spoils" justifying the replacement of defeated party government workers with those of the victorious party, coining the term "spoils system". He was a leader of the "Hunker" faction of the Democratic Party, which sought compromise on the slavery issue. Marcy's loss to William Seward in the gubernatorial election of 1838 represented a fundamental shift in New York politics.

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