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Albert Gallatin

Abraham Alfonse Albert Gallatin, born de Gallatin (January 29, 1761 – August 12, 1849) was an American politician, diplomat, ethnologist and linguist. He is known for being the founder of New York University and for serving in the Democratic-Republican Party at various federal elective and appointed positions across four decades. He represented Pennsylvania in the Senate and the House of Representatives before becoming the longest-tenured United States Secretary of the Treasury and serving as a high-ranking diplomat.

Gallatin was born in Geneva in present-day Switzerland and spoke French as a first language. He immigrated to the United States in the 1780s, settling in western Pennsylvania. He served as a delegate to the 1789 Pennsylvania constitutional convention and won election to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. An opponent of Alexander Hamilton's economic policies, Gallatin was elected to the United States Senate in 1793. However, he was removed from office on a party-line vote after a protest raised by his opponents suggested he did not meet the required nine years of citizenship. Returning to Pennsylvania, Gallatin helped calm many angry farmers during the Whiskey Rebellion.

Gallatin returned to Congress in 1795 after winning election to the House of Representatives. He became the chief spokesman on financial matters for the Democratic-Republican Party, leading opposition to the Federalist economic program. Gallatin's mastery of public finance led to his choice as Secretary of the Treasury by President Thomas Jefferson, despite Federalist attacks that he was a "foreigner" with a French accent. Under Jefferson and James Madison, Gallatin served as secretary from 1801 until February 1814. Gallatin retained much of Hamilton's financial system, though he also presided over a reduction in the national debt prior to the War of 1812. Gallatin served on the American commission that agreed to the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812. In the aftermath of the war, he helped found the Second Bank of the United States.

Declining another term at the Treasury, Gallatin served as Ambassador to France from 1816 to 1823, struggling with scant success to improve relations with the government during the Bourbon Restoration. In the election of 1824, Gallatin was nominated for Vice President by the Democratic-Republican Congressional caucus. Gallatin never wanted the position and was humiliated...
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