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|Harrison Gray Otis
summoner of the Hartford Convention
Born in Boston, Harrison Gray Otis was a nephew of patriot James Otis. He graduated from Boston Latin School in 1773 and Harvard University in 1783, and was admitted to the bar in 1786. He married Sally Foster on May 31, 1790.
Otis's political career began when he was elected to the Massachusetts Legislature in 1795. He subsequently served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1797 to 1801, the Massachusetts Legislature from 1802 to 1817, the U.S. Senate from 1817 to 1822, and as Mayor of Boston from 1829 to 1831. From 1801 to 1802 he served as U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts.
Otis was chiefly responsible for summoning the Hartford Convention in 1814. He hoped the convention would provide a public platform for those New Englanders who opposed the War of 1812. Otis headed a delegation chosen by the convention to present a list of grievances to the federal government, but the war ended before the delegation was received. He subsequently defended the convention in Letters Developing the Character and Views of the Hartford Convention, published in 1820, and Letters in Defence of the Hartford Convention, published in 1824.
Otis died in Boston on October 28, 1848, and is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.
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to the Civil War, 1775/1783-1861
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This page was last updated on June 26, 2017.