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Smith, Gerrit

Born: 1797 AD
Died: 1874 AD

1797 – Gerrit Smith, born on the 6th of March in Utica, Oneida County, New York. He was a leading United States social reformer, abolitionist, politician, and philanthropist.

1818 – After graduating at Hamilton College, he assumed the management of the vast estate of his father, Peter Smith, long a partner of John Jacob Astor, and greatly increased the family fortune.

1828 – He became an active worker in the cause of temperance, and in his home village, Peterboro, he built one of the first temperance hotels in the country.

1835 – He became an abolitionist, after seeing an anti-slavery meeting at Utica broken up by a mob.

1840 – He took a leading part in the organization of the Liberty party.

1840 – 1858 – He was a candidate for the governorship of New York on an anti-slavery platform.

1848 – 1852 – He was nominated for the Presidency by the remnant of this organization that had not been absorbed by the Free Soil party.

1848 – An "Industrial Congress" at Philadelphia also nominated him for the Presidency.

1853 – He was elected to the National House of Representatives as an independent, and issued an address declaring that all men have an equal right to the soil; that wars are brutal and unnecessary; that slavery could be sanctioned by no constitution, state or federal; that free trade is essential to human brotherhood; that women should have full political rights; that the Federal government and the states should prohibit the liquor traffic within their respective jurisdictions; and that government officers, so far as practicable, should be elected by direct vote of the people.

1874 – He died on the 28th of December, while on a visit to relatives in New York City.