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HARPER, Robert Goodloe

HARPER, Robert Goodloe
Library of Congress


HARPER, Robert Goodloe, a Representative from South Carolina and a Senator from Maryland; born near Fredericksburg, Va., in January 1765; moved with his parents to Granville, N.C., about 1769; received his early education at home and later attended grammar school; joined a volunteer corps of Cavalry when only fifteen years of age and served in the Revolutionary Army; made a surveying tour through Kentucky and Tennessee in 1783; graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1785; studied law in Charleston, S.C., teaching school at the same time; admitted to the bar in 1786 and commenced practice in Ninety-Sixth District, S.C.; moved to Charleston, S.C., in 1789; member, State house of representatives 1790-1795; elected from South Carolina to the Third Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Alexander Gillon; reelected to the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Congresses and served from February 1795 to March 1801; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1800 to the Seventh Congress; chairman, Committee on Ways and Means (Fifth and Sixth Congresses); one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1798 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against William Blount; moved to Baltimore, Md., and engaged in the practice of law; served in the War of 1812, attaining the rank of major general; assisted in organizing the Baltimore Exchange Co. in 1815 and was a member of the first board of directors; member, State senate of Maryland; elected from Maryland to the United States Senate for the term beginning March 4, 1815, and served from January 1816 until December 1816, when he resigned; unsuccessful Federalist candidate for vice president in 1816; traveled extensively in Europe in 1819 and 1820; took a prominent part in the ceremonies on the occasion of Lafayette's visit to Baltimore in 1824; died in Baltimore, Md., January 14, 1825; interment in the family burial ground on his estate, "Oakland"; reinterment in Greenmount Cemetery, Baltimore, Md.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 4 items.

Filson Club Historical Society

Louisville, KY
Papers: 1815. 1 letter.

Hagley Museum and Library

Greenville, DE
Papers: Items in Benjamin Henry Latrobe papers, 1788-1820. Microtext edition published for the Maryland Historical Society, 1979, on 315 microfiche. Finding aid.

Johns Hopkins University
Milton S. Eisenhower Library

Baltimore, MD
Papers: 15 letters (1803-1823) in Edward M. Greenway collection, 1737-1876.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1796-1823. 1 container. Finding aid. Also 5 microfilm reels of originals in the Maryland Historical Society; and correspondence in Charles Simms papers, 1731-1822.

Maryland Historical Society

Baltimore, MD
Papers: Correspondence and papers (1747-1835) in various collections including 4 boxes in Harper-Pennington papers, 1784-1825; 19 items (1795-1828); letters in Bayard papers, 1796-1801, including letters to constituents reporting on acts of Congress; 55 items in Carroll-Harper papers, 1749-1896; 38 items relating to constitutionality of the admission of Louisiana to the Union, trial dates, and other cases and legal affairs in Harper letters, 1817-1912; and 35 items in Harper-Speed letters, 1820-1824. Available on 5 microfilm reels. Finding aid.

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: 34 letters and documents (1789-1821) in various collections. Finding aid.

Pierpont Morgan Library

New York, NY
Papers: 1788-1823. 4 items.

University of Maryland
McKeldin Library

College Park, MD
Papers: 1 printed speech (1814) celebrating "the recent triumphs of the course of mankind in Germany" in Maryland manuscripts collection.

University of South Carolina
South Caroliniana Library

Columbia, SC
Papers: Correspondence in Pierce Butler letterbook, 1790-1794.

Virginia Historical Society

Richmond, VA
Papers: Miscellaneous items. Finding aid.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives

New Haven, CT
Papers: In Washington family papers, 1751-1870; and Burr family papers, 1750-1853.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Cox, Joseph W. Champion of Southern Federalism: Robert Goodloe Harper of South Carolina. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1972.

Harper, Robert G. The Case of the Georgia Sales on the Mississippi Considered. Philadelphia: Richard Folwell, 1799.

___. Observations on the Dispute Between the United States and France. 2d ed. Philadelphia: Thomas Bradford, 1797.

___. Select Works of Robert Goodloe Harper. Baltimore: O.H. Neilson Co., 1814.

Harper, Robert G., and Robert Walsh, Jr. Correspondence Respecting Russia between Robert Goodloe Harper, Esq., and Robert Walsh, Jun. Philadelphia: W. Fry, 1813.

Marks, Bayly Ellen, ed. Robert Goodloe Harper Family Papers. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1972. Microfilm. 5 reels and guide.

Papenfuse, Eric Robert. The Evils of Necessity: Robert Goodloe Harper and the Moral Dilemma of Slavery. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1997.

Sommerville, Charles W. Robert Goodloe Harper. Washington: Neale Co., 1899.

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Committee Assignments

  • House Committee - Ways and Means - Chair
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