Appointed by President Millard Fillmore
Edward Everett was born on April 11, 1794, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the fourth child of clergyman and jurist Oliver Everett and his wife, Lucy Hill Everett. Everett graduated from Harvard University with the highest honors in 1811. In 1814, he received a Master's of Divinity, and at only 20 years of age, became minister at Boston's Brattle Street Unitarian Church. In 1815, Harvard offered Everett a professorship in Greek literature, which he accepted with the understanding that he could undertake additional studies in Europe. In 1817, Everett received his doctorate at Göttingen University, making him the first American to earn a Ph.D., a degree not offered in the United States. In 1819, he started teaching at Harvard as well as editing North American Review, the nation's leading literary magazine, which he used to champion the cause of Greek independence. During this period, Everett became one of the nation's leading public orators, winning acclaim for his 1824 Phi Beta Kappa address at Harvard to an audience that included Lafayette.
In 1824, Everett was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served as a National Republican and Whig until 1835. As chair of the Committee on Foreign Relations from 1827 to 1829, he supported the Adams administration while developing a strong interest in diplomacy. By the early 1830s, he had become a leading member of the Whig Party, a protectionist, and a social conservative who advocated compromise with the South to protect the Union. In 1834, he was elected governor of Massachusetts and served four one-year terms.
Throughout his career, Everett was a protégé of his mentor Daniel Webster. In 1841, Webster became secretary of state in the Harrison administration, and knowing that Everett was interested in a diplomatic post, appointed him minister to Great Britain. Everett proved to be highly effective in London, in part because the British respected a man of such intellectual attainments and urbanity. During 1842, Webster negotiated the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in Washington, which resolved the northeast boundary dispute. During the negotiations, Everett served as his earpiece in London, sending home valuable intelligence that helped Webster under-stand what he could and could not hope for in a settlement.
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Publication information: Book title: American Statesmen: Secretaries of State from John Jay to Colin Powell. Contributors: Edward S. Mihalkanin - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 188.
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