Kendall, Amos

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Kendall, Amos

Amos Kendall (kĕn´dəl), 1789–1869, American journalist and statesman, b. Dunstable, Middlesex co., Mass. He edited (1816–29) at Frankfort, Ky., the Argus of Western America, one of the most influential Western papers of the day. At first a supporter of Henry Clay, he shifted allegiance to Andrew Jackson and helped to build Jackson's political strength. In 1829 he went to Washington, D.C., and was appointed by President Jackson fourth auditor of the Treasury. His real importance was as one of the ablest and most influential members of the Kitchen Cabinet—a group of intimate advisers to President Jackson. He helped draft many of Jackson's more important state papers, was chief counselor to Jackson in the controversy over rechartering the Bank of the United States, and vigorously defended administration policies in the newspapers. He was appointed (1835) U.S. Postmaster General by Jackson, and he remained at the post under President Van Buren, thoroughly reorganizing a badly managed department. He became (1845) business manager for Samuel F. B. Morse and played an important role in the development of telegraph service. Kendall opposed secession and urged vigorous prosecution of the war against the South, although he was often critical of President Lincoln's policies.

See his autobiography, ed. by his son-in-law, William Stickney (1872, repr. 1949).

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