Historical Highlights

Speaker of the House Langdon Cheves of South Carolina

June 26, 1857
Speaker of the House Langdon Cheves of South Carolina Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
On this date, former Speaker of the House Langdon Cheves died in Columbia, South Carolina. Born on September 17, 1776, in what is now Abbeville County, South Carolina, Cheves was raised in Charleston. In 1810 he won election to the House of Representatives, succeeding Robert Marion of South Carolina in the 11th Congress (1809–1811). Cheves was a trusted lieutenant of Speaker Henry Clay of Kentucky, with whom he devised the legislative strategy that led the U.S. into war with Great Britain in 1812. Speaker Clay appointed Cheves chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Naval Establishments during the 12th Congress (1811–1813)—positions from which he sought to bolster U.S. military preparedness. When Clay resigned in 1814 to serve on the peace commission to end the war, the House elected Cheves as Speaker for the remainder of the 13th Congress (1813–1815). Cheves opted not to oppose the popular Clay for the Speakership when he returned in 1815—and retired to private life. Cheves later served as head of the Bank of the United States from 1819 to 1822, saving the institution from financial ruin before returning to the affairs of his rice plantation in South Carolina.

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