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Josiah Quincy

Josiah QuincyAKA Josiah Quincy III

Born: 4-Feb-1772
Birthplace: Boston, MA
Died: 1-Jul-1864
Location of death: Boston, MA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Educator, Politician
Party Affiliation: Federalist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: President of Harvard, 1829-45

American lawyer and author, born in Boston on the 4th of February 1772. He studied at Phillips Academy, Andover, graduated at Harvard in 1790, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1793, but was never a prominent advocate. He became a leader of the Federalist party in Massachusetts; was an unsuccessful candidate for the national House of Representatives in 1800; served in the Massachusetts Senate in 1804-05; and was a member in 1805-13 of the national House of Representatives, where he was one of the small Federalist minority. He attempted to secure the exemption of fishing vessels from the Embargo Act, urged the strengthening of the American navy, and vigorously opposed the erection of Orleans Territory (Louisiana) into a state in 1811, and stated as his deliberate opinion, "that if this bill passes, the bonds of this Union are virtually dissolved; that the States that compose it are free from their moral obligations to maintain it; and that, as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some to prepare definitely for a separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must." This is probably the first assertion of the right of secession on the floor of Congress. Quincy left Congress because he saw that the Federalist opposition was useless, and thereafter was a member of the Massachusetts Senate until 1820; in 1821-22 he was a member and speaker of the state House of Representatives, from which he resigned to become judge of the municipal court of Boston. In 1823-28 he was mayor of Boston, and in his term Faneuil Hall Market House was built, the fire and police departments were reorganized, and the city's care of the poor was systematized. In 1829-45 he was president of Harvard College, of which he had been an overseer since 1810, when the board was reorganized; he has been called "the great organizer of the university"; he gave an elective (or "voluntary") system an elaborate trial; introduced a system of marking (on the scale of 8) on which college rank and honors, formerly rather carelessly assigned, were based; first used courts of law to punish students who destroyed or injured college property; and helped to reform the finances of the university. During his term Dane Hall (for law) was dedicated, Gore Hall was built, and the Astronomical Observatory was equipped. His last years were spent principally on his farm in Quincy, where he died on the ist of July 1864.

    High School: Phillips Academy Andover
    University: Harvard University (1790)
    Administrator: President, Harvard University (1829-45)

    Mayor of Boston (1823-28)
    Massachusetts State House of Representatives (1821-22)
    Massachusetts State Senate (1813-20)
    US Congressman, Massachusetts 1805-13
    Massachusetts State Senate (1804-05)

Is the subject of books:
Life of Josiah Quincy, 1867, BY: Edmund Quincy

Author of books:
The History of Harvard University (1840, 2 vols.)
The History of the Boston Athenaeum (1851)
A Municipal History of the Town and City of Boston (1852)
Memoir on the Life of John Quincy Adams (1858)
Essays on the Soiling of Cattle (1859)


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