Albert Gallatin Gets Disqualified
This is the second time I am writing a two part article for Founder of the Day.
The first time did not feel right and I decided to avoid it as much as possible. However, Albert Gallatin played such a fundamental role in the development of the United States that I decided a two part article was the only way to properly discuss his career.
Check back tomorrow for part two.
Albert Gallatin was a late bloomer in Founding Father circles.
Gallatin did not arrive in America until after the Revolutionary War began and only received his first office after the Constitution was ratified.
However, due to his knowledge of economics he rocketed up the Democratic-Republican ranks in Pennsylvania until being elected as an early Senator. But, he had only been an American for eight years…
In 1780, the American Revolution was still in the throes of war.
A ship arrived in Boston and off stepped 19-year-old Albert Gallatin.
Gallatin studied many of the Enlightenment writers who were popular during his schooling. He sailed for America in search of the republican values which were being fought for at the time.
Gallatin quickly tired of city life and tried his hand as a trader in the woods of Maine.
A year later, Albert briefly returned to Boston, teaching French at Harvard University. Still unsatisfied, he began working with a land speculator on the western frontier.
During this time, Gallatin received American citizenship from the State of Virginia.
Upon his 21st birthday, the young man received a princely inheritance. He used this money to purchase a substantial estate in western Pennsylvania where he would live for most of his life.
By 1789, Gallatin earned enough respect from his community to gain election to Pennsylvania’s convention which was responsible for drafting a new State constitution.
Albert’s performance was recognized, and he was sent to the State’s House of Representatives. It was here that he became known as an expert in finances.
Gallatin became a vocal Anti-Federalist who disagreed with Alexander Hamilton’s decisions as Secretary of the Treasury. The people of Pennsylvania liked what he had to say, and Albert was elected to the United States Senate.
Gallatin’s time in the Senate was brief and full of controversy.
Albert’s Federalist opponents claimed (rightfully) that he was not a citizen for the required nine years in order to be elected to the Senate. After a vote of Congress, Gallatin was removed from the office.
This affair was significant in early United States history as, until this point, Senate sessions were held behind closed doors. The idea was that representatives could speak freely without fear of being attacked in the papers.
However, the Federalists in power did not want to appear to be ejecting members of the minority party in an aristocratic attempt to consolidate power. Therefore, Gallatin’s impeachment was the first discussion to be held publicly.
The Senate would never again close its doors to the American people.
Please check back tomorrow for the conclusion of Gallatin’s life, as he becomes Secretary of Treasury and becomes one of the most powerful men in the country.
For a great biography of Albert Gallatin, try ‘America’s Swiss Founding Father’ which you can pick up through the affiliate link below.
I will be taking the Culper Spy Ring Tour in Setauket, NY on Saturday, October 20th. Now is a good time to follow me on Instagram as I will be posting pictures throughout the day.