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U.S. Congressman and Senator
Nathaniel Macon was born at Macon Manor, North Carolina, on December 17, 1758. He studied at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) from 1774 to 1776, when the college was closed because of the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. From 1777 to 1780 he studied law at the Bute County (North Carolina) Courthouse, and served in the North Carolina Senate from 1781 to 1785. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1791 to 1815, and the U.S. Senate from 1815 to 1828.
As a Congressman, Macon was a champion of states' rights and personal liberty, believing that the Constitution gave too much power to the federal government. An unwavering advocate of slavery, he consistently opposed all liberal legislation introduced in Congress. During his time in the House, Macon denounced the financial policies of Alexander Hamilton, opposed the Jay Treaty of 1795 and the Alien and Sedition Acts, and advocated a continuation of the United States-French alliance of 1778. As Speaker of the House from 1801 to 1807, he approved the Louisiana Purchase and the purchase of Florida. In 1809, Macon introduced resolutions recommending the complete exclusion of foreign war vessels from United States ports and the suppression of illegal trade carried on by foreign merchants under the U.S. flag, but the subsequent bill encompassing the resolutions was defeated. In 1812 Macon voted for the declaration of war against Great Britain.
While in the Senate, Macon opposed the Bank Act of 1816, the policies of John C. Calhoun and Henry Clay, and the Missouri Compromise. In 1824 he received the electoral vote of Virginia for the vice-presidency, and from 1826 to 1828 he was President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
Macon died at Buck Springs, North Carolina, on June 29, 1837.
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This page was last updated on April 18, 2017.