Macon, Nathaniel - História

Macon, Nathaniel - História

Macon, Nathaniel (1758-1837) Presidente da Câmara: Nathaniel Macon nasceu em Macon Manor, no condado de Edgecombe (agora Warren), Carolina do Norte; em 17 de dezembro de 1758. Freqüentou o College of New Jersey (hoje Princeton) de 1774 a 1776, serviu brevemente na milícia de New Jersey e estudou direito por três anos na Carolina do Norte. Depois de servir como soldado raso no Exército Continental de 1780 a 1782, ele se tornou senador estadual por três mandatos. Macon se opôs à Constituição dos Estados Unidos, com a preocupação de que ela desse muito poder ao governo central. Depois de ratificado e do novo governo estabelecido, ele se tornou membro da Câmara dos Representantes em 1791, escolhido como presidente da Câmara de 1801 a 1807. Ele liderou os democratas-republicanos, era amigo de Jefferson e inimigo de Hamilton e os federalistas. Macon permaneceu na Câmara dos Representantes até 1815, quando foi eleito para o Senado dos Estados Unidos. Foi senador até 1828 e foi presidente pro tempore do Senado nos últimos dois anos de seu mandato. Em 1835, ele presidiu uma convenção para revisar a constituição da Carolina do Norte. Macon morreu em Buck Springs, Carolina do Norte, em 29 de junho de 1837.


Macon, Nathaniel

Nathaniel Macon, estadista "Velho Republicano", o principal homem público da Carolina do Norte no início do século XIX, foi o sexto filho de Gideon e Priscilla Jones Macon, ele nasceu na plantação de seu pai em Shocco Creek, no que mais tarde se tornou o Condado de Warren. Os Macons eram huguenotes franceses de origem, os Joneses ingleses ou galeses. Ambas as famílias entraram na Virgínia no século XVII e pertenciam à pequena nobreza quando se mudaram para terras ao sul do rio Roanoke na década de 1730. O início da vida de Macon é conhecido apenas em linhas gerais. Embora tenha frequentado a escola com Charles Pettigrew e esteja matriculado no College of New Jersey (hoje Princeton) quando a Revolução Americana começou, ele aparentemente era, como George Washington, em grande parte autodidata. Certamente sua leitura era ampla e sua mente nem provinciana nem estreita, como alguns sugeriram. Seus discursos indicam um conhecimento astuto de terras estrangeiras e finanças públicas, e em uma carta bastante típica Macon poderia mencionar casualmente David Hume, Gustavus Adolphus e os apócrifos.

Macon entrou em campo com a milícia de Nova Jersey em 1776. Quando sua faculdade fechou, ele voltou para casa, no condado de Warren, para estudar direito (que ele nunca praticou) e história da Inglaterra. A interrupção do serviço militar não era incomum, uma vez que a Guerra Revolucionária foi travada aos trancos e barrancos e os cavalheiros serviram à vontade. (Um hiato semelhante ocorreu no serviço de James Monroe e John Marshall.) Macon reentrou no exército em 1780 em uma companhia criada e comandada por seu irmão. Normalmente, ele recusava uma comissão e a recompensa pelo alistamento. Ele provavelmente esteve presente com as forças americanas durante a desastrosa campanha de Camden. Em 1781, como um acampamento particular de vinte anos de idade, acampado no rio Yadkin, Macon recebeu a notícia de sua eleição para o Senado da Carolina do Norte, no qual ele entrou com relutância e para o qual foi reeleito até 1786. Ele foi imediatamente reconhecido como um dos membros principais. .

Após a Revolução, Macon serviu por um tempo na Câmara dos Comuns e foi identificado com Willie Jones e o sentimento antifederalista predominante na Carolina do Norte. Ele se recusou a servir no Congresso Continental em 1786, e seu irmão John votou contra a Constituição federal em ambas as convenções de ratificação da Carolina do Norte. No entanto, Macon aceitou a eleição para a Câmara dos Representantes federal e entrou no Segundo Congresso em 1791. Ele serviu na Câmara pelos próximos vinte e quatro anos, depois assumiu uma cadeira no Senado, onde permaneceu por treze anos, representando assim o Norte Carolina no Congresso dos trinta e três anos até sua aposentadoria voluntária aos setenta.

Na Câmara de 1791 a 1815, ele foi presidente da Câmara (1801–187), candidato a presidente da Câmara (1799 e 1809) e presidente do Comitê de Relações Exteriores (1809–1810). No Senado de 1815 a 1828, foi presidente do Comitê de Relações Exteriores (1818-1826) e presidente pro tempore (1826-28). Em ambas as casas, ele atuou nos principais comitês financeiros e foi presidente de vários comitês selecionados. Durante seu serviço no Congresso, ele recusou nomeações para o gabinete pelo menos duas vezes e serviu por longos períodos como curador da Universidade da Carolina do Norte e como oficial da milícia e juiz de paz no condado de Warren. Durante o primeiro terço do século XIX, ele foi a personalidade dominante do partido democrata-republicano predominante e o cidadão mais respeitado da Carolina do Norte, tanto dentro quanto fora do estado.

O orgulho de Macon era que ele nunca fez campanha para um cargo ou pediu a qualquer homem para votar. Suas habilidades legislativas e políticas não eram retóricas nem gerenciais. Sua força e influência residiam na força pessoal, integridade exemplar, perspicácia, um público satisfeito (ou estático) e adesão inabalável aos princípios fundamentais. Esses princípios, forjados na Revolução, não mudaram em uma carreira política de meio século. Eles incluíam liberdade individual, economia rígida e responsabilidade nos gastos do governo, eleições frequentes, discrição limitada nos funcionários, evasão de dívidas e papel-moeda e simplicidade republicana nas formas. Macon foi o exemplo mais puro possível de um tipo de "republicano" produzido pela Revolução Americana. Ele estava satisfeito com uma sociedade de proprietários de terras que administravam seus próprios negócios e não queriam benefícios nem encargos do governo. Ele queria um governo conduzido com honestidade, simplicidade e o máximo de liberdade para o indivíduo, comunidade e estado. Ele acreditava que a Carolina do Norte se aproximava desse ideal e travou uma batalha perdida para exigir que o governo federal o cumprisse. Para Macon, o sucesso de uma democracia dependia não do progresso e da visão dos líderes, mas do consentimento voluntário do povo. Como ele se opôs à maioria das apropriações e inovações, mesmo quando estava quase sozinho, muitas vezes foi descrito como um "radical negativo". Fiel ao espírito de "esse quam videri", Macon praticava o que pregava. Ele permanecia fielmente em seu assento quando os negócios públicos estavam sendo conduzidos, sacava do Tesouro apenas suas despesas reais de viagem, em vez da mesada máxima (como era a prática) e vivia simplesmente em Washington, muitas vezes compartilhando uma cama com um constituinte visitante.

A pureza ideológica não diminuiu a perspicácia política de Macon (ele aconselhou Jefferson contra o impeachment abortivo de Chase, por exemplo) nem o impediu de ser cavalheiresco com os oponentes nas relações pessoais. Apesar de sua firmeza, Macon costumava ser pragmático em questões de tática política e sabia quando se comprometer e ceder a seu partido em questões menores. Seu julgamento sempre foi bem equilibrado, suas negociações moderadas. Seus discursos foram profissionais e diretos, seu primeiro discurso no Congresso teria supostamente uma frase. Com uma questão enérgica em debate, ele estourou muitas bolhas no Congresso. "Não se deixe enganar por grandes noções ou opiniões magníficas", disse Macon a um jovem seguidor. "Lembre-se de que você pertence a um estado manso e justo, que não deseja nada a não ser desfrutar honestamente os frutos de seu trabalho e aplicar seus lucros à sua própria maneira." Com essa filosofia, ele dominou o estado por décadas. Em apenas um breve período (1801-185), ele foi um dispensador de patrocínio federal e então se recusou a usá-lo politicamente.

A carreira política de Macon teve três fases: Líder republicano jeffersoniano, 1791-1807 "Tertium Quid", 1807-ca. 1815 e mais velho estadista depois disso. Quando ele entrou na Câmara dos Representantes em 1791, ele foi imediatamente identificado com o grupo oposto aos federalistas emergentes e assumiu um papel de liderança nas batalhas parlamentares da década de 1790 nas quais a coalizão Jeffersoniana foi forjada. Esses serviços levaram ao alto-falante, um cargo que, Macon disse, ele entrou sem procurar e saiu sem se arrepender. Perdendo a cadeira em um desacordo com a ala administrativa do partido, que ele sentiu que havia comprometido os princípios federalistas e usado em vez de eliminado o patrocínio federal, ele foi posteriormente identificado com o grupo "Velho Republicano". Ele se opôs aos impostos, à tarifa protetora, às melhorias internas (às custas do governo federal), a todas as despesas desnecessárias ao cumprimento honesto das funções mais essenciais do governo, a um banco nacional, ao patrocínio e discrição executivos e a qualquer compromisso com a agitação antiescravista do norte. Os princípios que John Taylor expôs e John Randolph dramatizou, Macon personificou. Permanecendo independente, nunca comparecendo ao caucus do partido e se opondo à eleição de James Madison e James Monroe, ele apoiou a administração em exercício quando poderia e nunca se engajou na oposição por causa da oposição. Ele votou com relutância no Embargo. Durante a Guerra de 1812, ele estava disposto a levantar e apoiar tropas, mas se opôs à marinha, ao alistamento nacional e à discrição do executivo.

Quando entrou no Senado em 1815, Macon já era uma figura venerável, uma estatura que aumentou à medida que os sobreviventes da Revolução e os expoentes dos puros princípios republicanos se tornavam mais raros. Embora ele estivesse evidentemente descontente com a política cada vez mais dinâmica do período pós-guerra e sentisse que a verdadeira virtude republicana estava sendo perdida, Macon, sem dúvida, teve um impacto considerável na geração seguinte como um profeta da "democracia jacksoniana" e do separatismo sulista. Cidades e condados em todo o sul foram nomeados em sua homenagem. Ele foi amplamente discutido para a vice-presidência em 1824 e recebeu os votos eleitorais da Virgínia para esse cargo. Em 1828, ele foi cortejado sem sucesso por John Quincy Adams como companheiro de chapa. Ele foi morno para com Andrew Jackson, mas deu à coalizão Jacksoniana seu apoio como um mal menor a partir de 1828, e serviu como eleitor de Van Buren em 1836. Ele evidentemente considerava o emergente Partido Democrata como a abordagem mais próxima disponível para uma coalizão de fazendeiros do sul e republicanos do norte contra a agitação antiescravista e a exploração econômica. Opondo-se à anulação e considerando a secessão o remédio adequado, ele também castigou Jackson por sua proclamação de resposta, que ele considerou tão contrária "ao que era a Constituição" quanto a anulação. Em 1835, Macon foi eleito por unanimidade presidente da convenção constitucional estadual, embora no final ele se opusesse às revisões que foram adotadas, especialmente a mudança das eleições anuais para as bienais.

A vida privada de Macon era a fonte de seus princípios públicos. Na verdade, seu republicanismo clássico postulava que os líderes deveriam possuir virtude independente do cargo e deveriam refletir e defender seu tecido social, em vez de tentar moldá-lo de acordo com seus próprios desígnios. Seu pai morreu quando ele tinha cinco anos, deixando-lhe terras e escravos que aumentaram sob a gestão de sua mãe e sob a gestão dele. Acima da média em altura, de presença impressionante, digno mas simples nos modos, tratando todas as classes com cortesia e atenção, um pilar de sua vizinhança, coloquial na conversa privada, dedicado à agricultura, cavalos, caça e uma vida ao ar livre, trabalhando em seu Própria plantação de tabaco, bebendo uísque antes das refeições e reservando vinhos finos apenas para os hóspedes, Macon era um plantador sulista patriarcal exemplar. Ele nunca se juntou a uma igreja, mas compareceu aos cultos acompanhado de seus escravos e, não surpreendentemente, é dito que achou o Batista mais a seu gosto. Residente ao longo da vida no condado mais escravista do estado, diz-se que ele possuía dois mil acres e setenta escravos e dividiu sua propriedade igualmente com suas duas filhas, Betsy e Seignora, em seus casamentos. Sua casa, Buck Spring, cerca de 19 quilômetros a nordeste de Warrenton, foi construída na parte mais isolada de suas propriedades e era modesta para um estadista tão rico e eminente. A plantação tem sido nos últimos anos objeto de um projeto de restauração. Macon casou-se com Hannah Plummer em 9 de outubro de 1783. Ela morreu em 1790, deixando as duas filhas e um filho que morreu em 1792 aos seis anos.

Diz-se que Macon destruiu seus próprios papéis acumulados, provavelmente devido ao mesmo desgosto "republicano" pela pompa e idolatria que o levou a se opor aos gastos com um túmulo para George Washington e a proibir a construção de um monumento sobre seu próprio túmulo em Buck Primavera. Este fato desencorajou biógrafos, embora um grande número de cartas de Macon sobrevivam em depósitos e publicações espalhadas. Ele apareceu em muitos artigos, endereços e teses a respeito dele especificamente ou da política jeffersoniana e jacksoniana. William E. Dodd's Vida de Nathaniel Macon (1903) poderia ser ampliado e corrigido em muitos detalhes, mas continua sendo um trabalho substancialmente preciso e utilizável. Talvez mais valioso e praticável do que uma nova biografia seria uma edição confiável e completa dos discursos e cartas de Macon, um projeto que provavelmente poderia ser englobado em um volume.

As semelhanças de Macon são raras. Nem o estado nem a Universidade da Carolina do Norte possuem um retrato. O enorme índice da American Library Association de gravuras do século XIX nem mesmo contém uma entrada para Macon. Talvez a semelhança mais facilmente disponível seja o retrato não identificado publicado no livro de William Henry Smith Presidentes da Câmara dos Representantes. . . (1928).

Macon foi uma figura plutarquiana que ajudou a moldar o caráter de sua época e de seu estado. "O Sr. Macon foi um daqueles patriotas que ocupam um vasto espaço aos olhos da nação", elogiou o Richmond Enquirer, principal órgão do Partido Democrata, por ocasião de sua morte. Para Thomas Jefferson, ele era "o último dos romanos". John Randolph, ao fazer seu testamento, aludiu ao virginiano que ele nomeara como seu executor como "o homem mais sábio que já conheci - exceto o Sr. Macon". As gerações posteriores preferiam um estilo diferente de democracia e tendiam a concordar com o progressista John Quincy Adams, que encontrou em Macon "uma estreiteza mental que a educação não pode ampliar e coberta por uma incrustação de preconceitos que a experiência não pode remover". De Hugh T. Lefler História da Carolina do Norte (1956) foi típico de avaliações posteriores ao observar que a Carolina do Norte permaneceu "o Rip Van Winkle" dos estados até "repudiar o espírito de Macon". Até um escritor simpático, JG de Roulhac Hamilton, considerou-o "não uma força construtiva", embora um reexame detalhado da carreira de Macon possa muito bem revelar que ele era mais "progressista" nos níveis estadual e local do que se acreditava, que era um remoto poder federal nas mãos de uma maioria hostil do norte, ansiosa para mexer com o tecido social do sul e explorar a economia sulista que ele desejava negar.

De qualquer forma, o republicanismo de Macon foi uma escolha deliberada, não de inércia. Como William E. Dodd comentou maravilhado, "Ele realmente acreditava na democracia, "ao permitir que o povo governasse a si mesmo. Ele era de uma geração, classe e região que" conhecia a diferença entre as demandas das instituições populares e interesses especiais "e que deliberadamente escolheu um governo limitado como o reflexo preciso de seu tecido social . Certamente, parece que o "espírito de Macon" foi por muito tempo o espírito da Carolina do Norte, um espírito que, embora estranho ao temperamento moderno, está no cerne das origens da democracia americana. Talvez ninguém tenha servido mais ao estado abnegadamente ou melhor, exibiu suas modestas virtudes tradicionais.

Warren County Historical Society, Plantação de Buck Spring: casa de Nathaniel Macon (1974).

O catálogo de fichas da Coleção da Carolina do Norte da Universidade da Carolina do Norte, Chapel Hill, contém citações das cartas publicadas de Macon e o guia mais completo para publicações periódicas e de teses de Macon.

Recursos adicionais:

Nathaniel Macon Letters, 1815 1826 1835 (coleção no. 01246-z). A coleção histórica do sul. Biblioteca de coleções especiais de Louis Round Wilson. Universidade da Carolina do Norte em Chapel Hill. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/m/Macon,Nathaniel.html (acessado em 29 de julho de 2013).

"Macon, Nathaniel, (1757 - 1837)." Diretório Biográfico do Congresso dos Estados Unidos. Washington, D.C .: O Congresso. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=m000034 (acessado em 29 de julho de 2013).

Duppstadt, Andrew. "Nathaniel Macon e a Guerra de 1812." nc1812: Guerra do bicentenário de 1812 2012-2015. (blog) 18 de março de 2011. Departamento de Recursos Culturais do NC. http://friendsoffortmacon.org/archives/nathaniel-macon/ (acessado em 29 de julho de 2013).

Edwards, Weldon Nathaniel. Memórias de Nathaniel Macon, da Carolina do Norte. Raleigh: Raleigh Register Steam Power Press. 1862. https://archive.org/details/06012808.4078.emory.edu (acessado em 29 de julho de 2013).

Pittman, Thomas Merritt. Nathaniel Macon. Greensboro, N.C., Guilford Battle Ground Co. 1902. https://archive.org/details/nathanielmacon00pitt (acessado em 29 de julho de 2013).

Dodd, William E. "O lugar de Nathaniel Macon na história do sul." The American Historical Review 7, não. 4 (julho de 1902). 663-675. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1834563 (acessado em 29 de julho de 2013).

Créditos de imagem:

Gauley, Robert D. "Nathaniel Macon." 1911. Coleção da Câmara dos Representantes dos EUA. Office of Art & amp Archives, Câmara dos Representantes dos EUA. http://history.house.gov/Collection/Listing/2005/2005-016-005/ (acessado em 29 de julho de 2013).

"Fotografia, Nº de Acesso: H.1954.22.4." 1954. Museu de História da Carolina do Norte.

"Fotografia, Nº de Acesso: H.1954.22.5." 1954. Museu de História da Carolina do Norte.


Nathaniel Macon

Nathaniel Macon nasceu em Edgecombe (agora Warren) County, N.C., em 17 de dezembro de 1758. Em 1774 ele ingressou no College of New Jersey em Princeton e permaneceu até 1776, quando se juntou à milícia de New Jersey. Ele voltou para a Carolina do Norte no final de 1777 para estudar direito, mas voltou ao exército em 1780 após a invasão britânica do sul. Ele serviu no Senado da Carolina do Norte de 1781 a 1786. Ele se juntou aos Antifederalistas em sua oposição à Constituição em 1788. Depois de servir na Legislatura da Carolina do Norte em 1790, Macon foi eleito para a Câmara dos Representantes dos EUA em 1791. Ele serviu até 1815, quando foi eleito para o Senado, onde permaneceu até 1828.

De 1791 a 1801, Macon se opôs vigorosamente às políticas federalistas, especialmente o programa financeiro de Alexander Hamilton, o Tratado de Jay, a quase guerra com a França e as Leis de Alienígena e Sedição. Em geral, ele se opôs a qualquer interpretação constitucional ampla que expandisse o poder federal, quer apoiasse as políticas federalistas na década de 1790 ou as políticas democrático-republicanas após 1801. Ao se opor à restritiva Lei da Sedição de 1798, ele argumentou que "o povo suspeita que algo não está certo quando a discussão livre é temida pelo governo. "

Quando Thomas Jefferson foi eleito presidente em 1800 (levando consigo o Congresso), Macon foi eleito presidente da Câmara. Ele manteve o cargo até 1807. Como presidente da Câmara, nomeou todos os comitês permanentes da Câmara e desempenhou um papel notável na fixação da liderança republicana na Câmara. No entanto, quando John Randolph, nomeado de Macon como presidente do Comitê de Caminhos e Meios da Câmara, rompeu abertamente com a administração de Jefferson, a influência de Macon caiu e ele foi removido do cargo de Presidente.

Esse afastamento do presidente foi temporário e Macon permaneceu influente. Como presidente do Comitê de Relações Exteriores da Câmara, ele apoiou a política de coerção comercial de Jefferson como alternativa à guerra com a Grã-Bretanha ou a França. Embora ele finalmente tenha favorecido a Guerra de 1812, ele se opôs à tributação para sustentá-la ou à construção naval e ao recrutamento de mão de obra para processá-la.

Macon lutou contra as tentativas de recarga do Banco dos Estados Unidos em 1811 e 1816 e se opôs consistentemente a tarifas protecionistas e melhorias internas. Um defensor fervoroso da escravidão, ele se opôs ao Compromisso de Missouri porque "transigir é reconhecer o direito do Congresso de interferir" nos direitos dos estados. Quando ele atingiu a idade de 70, Macon renunciou ao Senado. Ele presidiu a convenção constitucional da Carolina do Norte (1835), mas não votou pela constituição emendada. Ele morreu em 29 de junho de 1837.


O lugar de Nathaniel Macon na história do sul

Muitos que estão bem familiarizados com a história do sul não estão quase totalmente familiarizados com o caráter histórico de Nathaniel Macon. Ele é freqüentemente mencionado pelos melhores autores como um norte-caroliniano, como um georgiano ou simplesmente como um democrata do sul. Sua participação no desenvolvimento político do Sul é vagamente conhecida, embora cada estado do sul tenha uma cidade ou um condado, ou ambos, chamados por seu nome. A razão de sua morte tão completamente fora da mente dos homens é dupla: primeiro, os sulistas não foram estudantes de história, segundo, o próprio Macon ordenou que todos os seus papéis fossem queimados antes de sua morte. O velho líder um tanto errático estava determinado a encobrir seus rastros e quase conseguiu.

Nathaniel Macon nasceu na “mansão Macon”, no condado de Warren, Carolina do Norte, em 17 de dezembro de 1758. Ele era descendente de uma família huguenote que havia sido enobrecida, dizem, em 1321. Um ramo da família veio para a América em 1680, estabeleceu-se perto de Middle Plantation na Virgínia e logo foi considerado uma das primeiras famílias da província.2 No início dos anos 30, o pai de Nathaniel emigrou para a Carolina do Norte e antes de 1760 ele se tornou um dos homens mais ricos do “lado sul de Roanoke. ” O Macon mais velho estava para o norte da Carolina do Norte o que o Jefferson mais velho estava para o norte da Virgínia - dominador da floresta e guerreiro indígena, uma espécie de Markgraf, sempre pronto para um empreendimento árduo. O jovem Macon, como o jovem Jefferson, ficou órfão em tenra idade e com uma boa fortuna. Ele foi enviado para Princeton, onde tantos jovens sulistas se preparavam para a crise que se aproximava. Na faculdade, Macon “serviu em uma excursão” no exército revolucionário, mas voltou no outono de 1776 para a Carolina do Norte, onde se ocupou por três anos no estudo de direito e história. Dois dias antes da queda de Charleston, ele se juntou a uma companhia de voluntários do condado de Warren e foi eleito tenente, mas recusou a honra, preferindo servir como soldado raso. Sua empresa estava em Camden e foi uma das poucas empresas que manteve uma exibição de ordem e parecia pronta para o serviço no Yadkin alguns dias depois. De fevereiro de 1781 a dezembro de 1785, Macon estava na legislatura estadual como senador de Warren, ele foi identificado com a democracia de Willie Jones em oposição ao partido aristocrático do leste sob Johnston, Hooper e Iredell em 1786, ele foi eleito um delegado para o Congresso Continental e foi “ordenado” a Nova York pelo governador, mas como Willie Jones nisso, ele desobedeceu à ordem - ele se opôs ao envio de delegados pelo estado ao antigo Congresso. A nova Constituição nacional encontrou sua oposição determinada, mas em 1791 ele apareceu na Filadélfia como membro da Câmara dos Representantes da Carolina do Norte, onde permaneceu sem interrupção até 1815, quando foi transferido para o Senado. Ninguém jamais tentou derrotar sua eleição para o Senado e, portanto, ele permaneceu no cargo até que se aposentasse por conta própria, nomeando seu sucessor. De 1828 a 1837, ele viveu em uma aposentadoria isolada em sua plantação, doze milhas ao norte de Warrenton e duas milhas ao sul de Roanoke. Em 1835, ele serviu como presidente da convenção que deu à Carolina do Norte sua segunda constituição. Um ano depois, ele manifestou grande interesse na eleição da chapa Van Buren e se alegrou com o triunfo de seu candidato. Ele morreu em 28 de junho de 1837 e foi enterrado no topo da colina mais árida de sua grande plantação. Uma enorme pilha de pederneira, cercada por carvalhos macios, agora marca o local.

Este é um breve esboço da vida pública de Macon. Desejo agora apontar as políticas políticas de sua carreira e sua influência na incorporação dessas políticas ao credo político do sul.

Quando a Revolução chegou ao fim, os líderes proeminentes do antigo regime na Carolina do Norte começaram a se afirmar novamente na política estadual. Eles foram excluídos da participação ativa nos assuntos públicos por duas considerações: (1) um interesse muito zeloso pela causa americana, em caso de derrota final, traria a ruína total sobre eles e suas famílias (2) os radicais, sansculottes como eram chamados mais tarde, estavam na sela e olhavam de soslaio para os conservadores ricos que estavam constantemente condenando todas as formas republicanas de governo, especialmente as mais democráticas. Os líderes dos conservadores, quando seus esforços organizados começaram a ser sentidos pela segunda vez, foram Johnston e Hooper, já mencionados, ambos intimamente ligados a monarquistas proeminentes? O líder dos radicais e o ditador virtual do estado era Willie Jones, um fazendeiro rico que vivia como um príncipe, mas que falava e votava como um jacobino. Aqueles que se mantiveram distantes da Revolução, mercadores das cidades orientais e muitos dos conservadores, juntaram-se aos conservadores em 1782-1785, e esses elementos formando um partido compacto e poderoso desejavam substituir o antigo regime real por um forte governo nacional , ideia que prometia algum freio ao poder do Estado então nas mãos de seus adversários políticos. Os exilados ou emigrados naturalmente olhavam para esses nacionais em busca de proteção contra os líderes de estado furiosos, e com a promessa de tal ajuda, eles voltaram para suas propriedades. Os radicais - Whigs, como Macon sempre insistiu em chamá-los - estavam determinados a que os mornos líderes da Revolução e seus novos aliados, os conservadores, não adquirissem a ascendência. Uma dura lei de confisco foi dirigida contra todos os que haviam tomado parte na causa britânica ou cuja conduta durante a guerra havia sido questionada seriamente. E uma vez que toda a máquina do governo estadual estava sob o controle do último partido, era natural que eles continuassem a exaltar o estado e condenar toda tentativa de seus oponentes de formar uma “união mais permanente de todos os estados”. O estado foi criação dos Whigs - seus inimigos ou detratores eram pouco melhores para eles do que os próprios conservadores.

Essa era a divisão dos partidos na Carolina do Norte e em geral no sul, quando Macon entrou na legislatura em 1781. Ele era um radical por natureza: ingressou no partido Jones, do qual seu irmão já era um líder proeminente. Era uma espécie de festa da Virgínia, segundo o padrão de Jefferson de 1776. Jones e os Macons eram eles próprios praticamente virginianos. Eles deram à Carolina do Norte uma constituição em 1776 com o modelo de seu estado-mãe. Reforma, democracia do tipo mais simples, eram as idéias que defendiam. Um item mais louvável de seu credo nesta época caótica era o que exigia um sistema financeiro sólido baseado em ouro e prata. Isso eles não puderam levar a efeito, mas seus esforços sinceros lhes renderam grande honra. Fazia parte de seu esquema de organização estatal e, junto com isso, defendiam tarifas protecionistas, melhorias públicas, incentivo ao comércio exterior e às relações sexuais e um melhor sistema de educação pública. A célebre política americana de uma época posterior foi, portanto, apresentada cedo na Carolina do Norte. Nessa escola, Macon serviu de aprendizado e, aos 27 anos, aposentou-se em sua casa recém-construída perto de Roanoke para observar o curso dos acontecimentos. Um apelo desta aposentadoria para servir ao estado no Congresso Continental não foi atendido, como se viu. Quando a nova Constituição foi apresentada à Carolina do Norte, ele se esforçou ao máximo para derrotá-la. Seus maiores oponentes, Willie Jones e Thomas Person, eram seus amigos e vizinhos. Toda a parte alta da Carolina do Norte, como toda a parte baixa da Virgínia, se opunha violentamente a qualquer plano de união nacional - o país que forneceu à Revolução o maior número de tropas em relação à população, e no qual, dizia-se, quase não vivia um único Tory 1788 mais determinado em sua oposição a todas as formas de nacionalismo. Toda a ampla área de Richmond a Raleigh e de Norfolk à nova casa de Patrick Henry além de Danville era fortemente anti-federalista. Seus líderes mais velhos eram Henry e Jones, seu mais jovem, Macon e John Randolph.

Mas quando a Constituição foi finalmente adotada, Macon voltou a entrar na política e foi um dos primeiros defensores da construção estrita do “contrato” entre os estados. Ele logo se tornou seu campeão, e isso se tornou para ele uma espécie de fetiche. A integridade do estado dependia da mais rígida adesão à letra daquele instrumento. Em 1796-1798 ele defendeu o aumento da milícia dos estados sempre que os federalistas propunham aumentar o exército a milícia então e em 1807 era sua única dependência para a defesa nacional sua reorganização e equipamento completo eram temas perpétuos com ele. A principal acusação de inconsistência alguma vez feita contra ele foi a de 1807-1808, quando, em face da guerra com a Inglaterra, ele votou por um aumento de seis mil homens para o exército dos Estados Unidos. Ele se opôs ao Projeto de Lei da Sedição principalmente com o fundamento de que ele usurparia a prerrogativa do estado. “Que os Estados”, disse ele, “continuem a punir, quando necessário, a licenciosidade da imprensa, como é que o Congresso deve agora conceber que têm o poder de aprovar leis sobre o assunto? Este governo depende das legislaturas estaduais para sua existência. Eles só precisam se recusar a eleger senadores no Congresso e tudo se vai. ” As Resoluções da Virgínia e do Kentucky expressaram sua opinião inteiramente e ele lhes deu seu apoio sincero na Carolina do Norte, embora a legislatura as votasse com desprezo por baixo da mesa. Mas os federalistas estavam então no controle.

Quando Macon se tornou presidente da Câmara dos Representantes no Congresso, como resultado da elevação de Jefferson à presidência, ele teve uma oportunidade melhor de expressar seus princípios a esse respeito. Na longa e acirrada polêmica sobre a revogação da Lei do Judiciário, ele participou ativamente, não apenas como Presidente da Câmara, mas como defensor da revogação em plenário. Seu discurso mais característico foi proferido nesta ocasião. Nele, ele combateu a posição federalista de que a revogação era inconstitucional, ele também estabeleceu um princípio que não era novo no legislativo nacional, mas que era radical ao extremo, a saber, que o legislativo estadual poderia instruir com autoridade seus senadores no Congresso e recomendar aos seus Representantes como eles devem votar em questões importantes. Isso teria colocado os senadores dos Estados Unidos substancialmente no terreno de embaixadores de seus respectivos estados, não muito diferente dos representantes dos estados alemães no Bundesrath Imperial em Berlim. Randolph, amigo de Macon, deu um passo além e declarou que seu estado também poderia instruir os representantes. To meet this, James A. Bayard of Delaware replied that he was as much a representative of Virginia as was Randolph himself. This policy of the two most important southern leaders was not without influence throughout the south and west. It was the foundation-stone of the Jacksonian democracy in so far as it put the will of the sovereign people as expressed in the legislatures above all other authority. Macon also favored expansion and growth of the state courts to meet the increasing demands of the country. Although Macon was not an enemy to the Supreme Court, as were Jefferson and Randolph, he was in himself a standing protest against John Marshall’s great constructive decisions. He opposed the impeachment measures which ruined Randolph and taught Jefferson that there were limitations to the powers of a great popular majority.

It has been said that secession began with Jefferson in 1798, was accentuated by Randolph, and became a creed with the southern states after 1832 in other words, that Jefferson, John Randolph, and Calhoun were the apostles of this great dogma. This was in the main correct, but Macon was as important as Randolph in this development. He stood for the state as it was in 1789, and for a doctrine which was the legacy of the province, a legacy of intensely angry political struggles during the Revolution he stood, as he said, for a state which could at will withdraw its Senators from Congress, and which did receive representatives from foreign courts, accredited to its chief magistrates as late as 1793? Ten years before Randolph was heard of he was an advocate of the essential features of Randolph’s policy in the House of Representatives. It was the latter who became the political complement of the former, not the reverse. But Randolph’s strange personality and his telling stageacting first brought Macon’s doctrine prominently before the nation. These two men acquiring great influence and becoming, as it were, god-fathers to the younger generation of southern politicians, outlined thus the policy of nullification during the early years of Jefferson’s first administration. Can we be surprised then at Macon’s sending Jackson in 1833 an angry protest against the proclamation on nullification? He wrote Samuel P. Carson Feb. 9, 1833: “I have never believed a State could nullify and remain in the Union, but I have always believed that a State might secede when she pleased, provided she would pay her proportion of the public debt and this right I have considered the best guard to public liberty and to public justice that could be desired. The proclamation contains principles as contrary to what was the Constitution as Nullification. It is the great error of the administration which, except that, has been satisfactory in a high degree. A government of opinion established by sovereign States for special purposes can not be maintained by force.”

One of the severest criticisms of Macon’s career, so far as students have criticised at all, has been that he constantly voted against all naval appropriations, even when war was imminent. The key to this part of his policy is to be found in his determination to prevent the least increase of power in the hands of the easterners. A navy, he thought, would be manned and controlled by Connecticut and Massachusetts, in other words, by the most capable seamen in the country. He was an agrarian who believed that the products of the plantation would find their way to European markets without our aid. It was immaterial to him whether Old or New England carried his tobacco to London. He would not have given a dollar to secure the carrying trade of the Atlantic.

The first speech he made in Congress on an important bill was in favor of a protective tariff for the encouragement of the infant cotton industry. This was in 1792. He prophesied that cottongrowing would become a source of great wealth to the United States. It is interesting to notice that this early attempt at protection to infant industries failed, because influential members of Congress thought cotton planting would destroy the fertility of the soil and ultimately impoverish the nation. Almost as many members from the south as from the north voted against the cotton protective tariff. But Macon, more alert than some have thought, was in closer touch with the interests of his state and he declared that the people there had “already gone largely in the cultivation of that plant.” Three years later, however, when Nicholas J. Roosevelt and Jacob Mark presented a petition to Congress asking for protection for an “ infant ” iron industry which they were promoting, he opposed it, notwithstanding his friend Gallatin favored the scheme. Macon said : “The best policy of all such cases is to leave that kind of business to the industry of our citizens they will work the mines if it is to their interest to do so.” It was the question here as to whose ox was to be helped out of the ditch.

At the extra session of Congress in 1797, when the bill providing for a large increase of the navy for the protection of commerce was pending, Macon was able to get an amendment passed which provided that the proposed frigates, when built and manned, should not be sent without the waters of the United States. This amendment was defeated in the Senate, but Macon and his friends were so persistent and powerful in their opposition that the plan was about to fail, and Samuel Sewall of Massachusetts declared: “ Gentlemen who depend upon agriculture for every thing need not put themselves to the expense of protecting the commerce of the country commerce is able to protect itself if they will only suffer it to do so. Let those States which live by commerce be separated from the Confederacy. Their collected industry and property are equal to their own protection and let other parts of the Confederacy take care of themselves.”

When Jefferson’s non-importation measure was brought before Congress in February 1806, Macon opposed all that part of it which recommended the building of war vessels and coast fortifications, but favored the proposition for gun boats : “I believe them better adapted,” said he, “to the defense of our harbors than any other. If we were now at war with any other nation, however gentlemen may be surprised at the declaration, I think we should do well to lend our navy to another nation also at war with that which we might be at war for I think such a nation would manage it more to our advantage than ourselves.” A curious policy to be sure was this, but it was in accord with his general attitude toward naval armaments. The Southern agriculturalists had, from the beginning, opposed all such outlay, claiming that it was useless and believing, without saying as much however, that every ship built at the national expense to protect trade added to the power which was one day to grapple with their section in a fearful struggle for supremacy. In view of this final termination of the intense rivalry between the sections, Macon’s political foresight was not so poor as might at first appear. During the trying period of non-importation and embargo, he had his idea of agricultural supremacy clearly in view. He opposed every measure of the first Republican administration which seemed to obscure this issue.

In this policy Randolph joined him, though as much from motives of enmity to the President as from jealousy of New England. But Macon and Randolph were both staunch advocates of this so-called “mud-turtle” plan of Southern politicians. Randolph spoke out distinctly their view of things when he said in the debate on non-importation : “What is the question in dispute ? The carrying trade. What part of it ? The fair, the honest and useful trade that is engaged in carrying our own productions to foreign markets and bringing back their productions in exchange? No, Sir, it is that carrying trade which covers enemy’s property and carries the coffee, the sugar, and other West Indian products to the mother country. No, Sir, if this great agricultural nation is to be governed by Salem and Boston, New York and Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk and Charleston, let gentlemen come out and say so. I, for one, will not mortgage my property and my liberty to carry on this trade.” When Randolph declared he would never vote a shilling for a navy and Macon said, “ lend your navy to a foreign enemy of our enemy,” they were opposing New England and speaking for their own section, for their own agrarian interests. Commerce and great cities had no more attractions for Macon than for Randolph or Jefferson.

In connection with this subject, Macon’s attitude toward slavery is to be considered. His view of the question may best be seen in his attitude to the prohibition of the importation of slaves into the United States. This measure came up in 1807. By the compromises on which the national Constitution is based, this traffic might be forever forbidden after January 1, 1808. But the economic conditions of the South had changed since 1787 and South Carolina, supported by the silent good-will of her sister states, now claimed that Congress could not constitutionally abolish the slave trade against the will and wish of a sovereign state. So much for the growth of the idea of state supremacy, a growth fostered by everlasting disputes between the South and the East, a growth dependent on the economic change just mentioned—cotton-growing based on plenteous slave labor. It was a question of dollars and cents, Macon thought, not of human freedom, which animated both sides in Congress. The prosperity of the South depended now on slavery, on agricultural development that of the East on commerce which the Southern members so constantly decried and often crippled. The growth of the slave power was to the East what the advancement of commerce was to the South—success of a rival bent on controlling the Union in its own interest. The morality of the question was a secondary consideration though, as in a similar question of recent date, the speeches of the leaders were filled with moral and humanitarian professions. Macon said in committee of the whole : “I still consider this a commercial question. The laws of nations have nothing more to do with it than the laws of the Turks or the Hindoos. If this is not a commercial question, I would thank the gentlemen to show what part of the Constitution gives us any right to legislate on this subject.” Macon regretted sincerely the existence of the “dread institution,” yet he was as sincerely determined to maintain it as a right of the state and a check against the supremacy of the East. Both he and Randolph now maintained that a state could, if it desired, continue the slave trade independently of the Union, and they began to see that the equal growth of the South with the North depended on the expansion of the slave power. Here the second part of Macon’s life-long policy, agricul-turalism, became identical with the first, state sovereignty.

Macon did a great deal to put Jefferson in the presidential chair. North Carolina was the home of a strong Adams party, and it was with no little pains that the Republicans overcame the influence of the wealthy families enlisted under the banner of Federalism. Soon after the inauguration, Macon was given control of the federal patronage in his state this led to very cordial and confidential relations between the President and the Speaker of the House. And when Jefferson sounded Congress in 1802 with regard to his aggressive policy on the Mississippi, he received immediate assurance that he would be supported in any reasonable scheme he might set in motion for acquiring the control of lower Louisiana. The purchase of Louisiana, as all the world knows, was as much a piece of good luck as it was the result of Jefferson’s policy of expansion. When Macon heard of the favorable turn of things in Paris he wrote the President that “the acquisition of Louisiana has given general satisfaction, though the terms are not correctly known. But if it is within the compass of the present revenue, the purchase, when the terms are known, will be more admired than even now.” And then he adds what must have given his correspondent genuine satisfaction and which indicates Macon’s own political policy, “if the Floridas can be obtained on tolerable terms we shall have nothing to make us uneasy, unless it be the party madness of some of our dissatisfied citizens.” From this time on he never lost sight of the acquisition of Florida as one of the items of sound policy. There was much talk a little later about giving Louisiana to Spain in exchange for Florida, but Macon seems not to have given assent to any such plan. He was much interested in the acquisition of southern territory because he saw the significance of these possessions, first for the southern states and then for the Union. The balance of power between the two sections of the country was what he desired to see maintained even at that early stage.

January 1811, when the question of the admission of the new territory of Orleans was agitating the country, Macon expressed publicly his policy with regard to gaining southern territory “much as the Southern country is desired and great is the convenience of possessing it”—were the terms he used. Not as territory, “not as a dependency,” but as independent southern states did he wish to hold that country. The same ideas prevailed with him in 1819 when Florida was annexed. But another question had the attention of Congress and the country—the organization and control of Missouri. In a letter to Bartlett Yancey, of North Carolina, touching this subject, he regrets very much the loss of “ Stone’s motion which would have given two degrees more to the people of the South.” With the failure, as Macon regarded it, of the South in the Missouri Compromise, his active participation in the expansion of the slave power closed. Randolph and Macon remained firm in their attitude toward this question and both voted against the Missouri Compromise. But the time had long since passed when Southern congressmen gave sincere attention to the counsels of Macon and Randolph men were then filled with the ideas which Clay represented. It was not until 1832, when both were retired forever from active politics, that Southerners with Calhoun as their leader returned to what Macon always stood for, state supremacy, and only in 1837-1842 was it that their scheme of aggressive expansion became the creed of the great South Carolinian.

A paper on Macon would scarce be complete without considering his influence and power in pressing upon the nation the ideas he represented. In 1796 he became the undisputed leader of the Jefferson party in North Carolina in 1799 the last attempt to defeat him was made. The same year he established in Raleigh the first and greatest partizan newspaper the state has ever had. Joseph Gales was its editor. Macon and Gales and their companions in politics waged a fierce and successful war of words in North Carolina in 1800. They carried the state for their party, but they could not prevent the election of four powerful Federalist congressmen in 1801. But these were defeated in 1803 through the industry and ability of Gales rather than of Macon. All parties recognized Macon’s right to leadership in his state from 1803 to 1828 and his authority was never questioned in his own party after 1803 except temporarily in 1808, when he opposed Madison’s candidacy, preferring Gallatin instead.

In national affairs his period of power was from 1801 to 1812. It began with his almost undisputed election to the speakership of the House. In the chair he was the equal of any who had occupied it he used its almost despotic powers more often than any predecessor had done. He was without a Republican competitor in 1803 and with his faithful friend Randolph as chairman of the committee on ways and means, there was no defeating measures of which he approved. He was positive enough to make his wishes known by setting aside the precedent of the Speaker’s voting only in the case of a tie and having his vote registered as that of a member of the House. The present plan of presidential balloting, which required an amendment to the Constitution, was passed by his vote. Between 1803 and 1807 he allowed his friendship for Randolph and his dislike of Jefferson’s supposed leaning toward Madison to lead him astray. He favored openly the candidacy oi Monroe for President and opposed much of the non-importation plans of the administration he even winked at Randolph’s foolish scheme of feigning sickness in 1806 in order, as chairman of the committee on ways and means, to defeat Jefferson’s foreign policy just referred to. This caused a breach between the President and the Speaker, a breach which resulted in the complete isolation of Macon. He was succeeded by Varnum in 1807. Jefferson commanded the Northern Republicans whom his conciliatory policy had called into prominence, and he still held enough of the Southerners to carry through all essential schemes. Randolph’s bizarre actions and wild speeches soon caused Macon to regret the political side of their David-and-Jonathan friendship, and before 1809 we find him voting in the main with the administration. At the opening of Congress in 1809 he was the choice of all Southern Republicans for Speaker and missed the election by only twenty votes. This returning popularity brought immediate recognition on the part of an administration floundering about in a slough of despondency. The way out of the bogs of embargo was being so earnestly sought after, that Macon, as a popular leader of the “old Republicans,” became one of the first characters of the country. Any bill he championed was likely to pass, but he did not bring one forward until after the Embargo Act had been repealed and a solution of all foreign difficulties was sought by Madison in 1810.

As a result of the very large vote for the speakership Macon was made chairman of the committee on foreign relations for the first session of the eleventh Congress. He at once introduced a series of resolutions looking to the settlement of our difficulties with the warring powers of Europe. The resolutions were debated somewhat at Vength and finally changed to the famous Macon Bill No. 1, which was undoubtedly an administration measure and which Gallatin had much to do with framing, but not all. After more than a month of debate the bill finally passed the House, January 27, 1820. Its main features were : (1) To exclude English and French war and merchant ships from American ports (2) to restrict importations from England and France except such as came in American vessels (3) to admit only such imports as should come direct from the country producing them. The bill also repealed the non-intercourse laws and limited the duration of the proposed act to March 4, 1810.

The purpose of Macon’s plan was to make England and France feel America’s power and to set the nation that refused to recognize our rights as neutrals clearly in the wrong before all sections of the country. But the Senate dominated by anti-Gallatin men defeated Macon’s bill in order to humiliate its reputed author. Macon Bill No. 2 was then introduced but with this Macon had nothing whatever to do, not even voting for it on its final passage, May 1. This bill promised free trade with either England or France in case either repealed its restrictive laws on neutral commerce. The nation which refused to change its policy was to be allowed no imports whatever into the United States. This plan was little more than a bid to France to come to America’s assistance and thus to isolate England completely, for no one expected the latter country to yield to our demands. The Macon bills occupied Congress throughout the session. Being the mouthpiece of the government, besides a most popular leader, Macon was practically the first character in Congress and among the first in the country.

With the beginning of the War of 1812 and the appearance in Congress of Calhoun, Clay, Lowndes, Cheves—the younger generation of politicians—Macon’s influence in national affairs came practically to an end. He remained easily first in North Carolina, however, as long as he lived.

Macon’s place and influence in Southern history is alongside that of John Randolph he was before Randolph in his advocacy of state supremacy and more influential at all times because more practical and reasonable he was a Southern agrarian of the Jeffersonian type and in this he was in full accord with Randolph his policy of southern expansion was a dim outlining of Calhoun’s aggressive plan of 1842 and this attitude of his compelled him to espouse the cause of slavery since slavery was the basis of Southern wealth, and necessary as a weapon with which to fight the free states. His influence was based on the control of his own state and on the confidence which his unimpeachable sincerity and honesty inspired.

This essay was originally published in the American Historical Review, Vol 7, No. 4, July 1902.


Nathaniel Macon

Nathaniel Macon (December 17, 1757 – June 29, 1837) was an American politician who represented North Carolina in both houses of Congress. He was the fifth Speaker of the House, serving from 1801 to 1807. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1791 to 1815 and a member of the United States Senate from 1815 to 1828. He opposed ratification of the United States Constitution and the Federalist economic policies of Alexander Hamilton. Thomas Jefferson dubbed him "Ultimas Romanorum"—“the last of the Romans”.

During his political career he was spokesman for the Old Republican faction of the Democratic-Republican Party that wanted to strictly limit the United States federal government. Along with fellow Old Republicans John Randolph and John Taylor, Macon frequently opposed various domestic policy proposals, and generally opposed the internal improvements promoted by Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun.

An earnest defender of slavery, Macon voted against the Missouri Compromise in 1820. In the 1824 presidential election, he received several electoral votes for vice president, despite declining to run, as the stand-in running-mate for William Harris Crawford. He also served as president of the 1835 North Carolina constitutional convention.

After leaving public office, he served as a trustee for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and protested President Andrew Jackson's threat to use force during the Nullification Crisis.


Nathaniel Macon: King of the Tar Heels

N athaniel Macon was quite possibly the most important man in the history of the Tar Heel State, North Carolina. Jefferson called him the “last of the Romans”—meaning a republican who favored limited government, frugality, and selfless service—and Macon’s friend and political ally, John Randolph of Roanoke, described him as the wisest man he ever knew. Most Americans have probably never heard of Macon. Modern history texts rarely mention him, if at all.

Among the Founding Fathers, he was everything that politically correct interpretations of American history try to avoid. Nathaniel Macon championed states’ rights, supported secession, denounced the Constitution, presided over a large tobacco plantation, served with distinction in the Revolution in defense of his state and region, and opposed every measure that tended to increase centralization and federal power. He lived a simple life, and though a genuine Southern aristocrat, was never pretentious. Macon was the personification of the Old South, and an American hero.

The first Macon, a French Huguenot named Gideon Macon, arrived in Virginia of the American Colonies before 1680 and became a prominent tobacco planter in the tidewater region of Virginia. His grandson, Gideon Macon, moved to North Carolina in the 1730s, established a tobacco plantation, and built the family home, Macon Manor. The Macon family was well connected in both Virginia and North Carolina. For example, George Washington’s wife, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, was descended from this line. Gideon Macon and his wife, Priscilla Jones, had six children. The last, Nathaniel Macon was born in 1758, and was only five when his father died. Nathaniel was bequeathed around five hundred acres, three slaves, and all of his father’s blacksmith tools. From 1766 to 1773, Macon was educated by Charles Pettigrew, grandfather of the famous Confederate general by the same name, and later attended the College of New Jersey, otherwise known as Princeton University.

He left the college when the War for American Independence began in 1775 and enlisted with the New Jersey militia. He served one year, returned to North Carolina and began the study of law. He again enlisted for military duty in 1780 when his state was threatened by the British invasion of the South. Nathaniel Macon refused a commission, and also refused the bounty offered for enlistment. He fought at the Battle of Camden. When chosen to serve in the state Senate in 1781, he initially refused, but later accepted as a favor to General Nathanael Greene. Macon regarded his military service as service to his state—as did most Americans serving in the War for Independence—not to any union represented by the Continental Congress.

He served in the state legislature for the remainder of the 1780s. While there, he met and befriended Willie Jones, the dominant Anti-Federalist in North Carolina. The state elected Macon to serve in the Continental Congress in 1786, but he declined, and when several states called for a convention to discuss changes to the Articles of Confederation, Macon opposed North Carolina’s participation. He did not attend the North Carolina ratification convention, but, along with his brother, John Macon, urged the defeat of the Constitution. North Carolina would not ratify the document until 1789, and only after the Bill of Rights—especially the Ninth and Tenth Amendments—were guaranteed.

He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1791 to 1813 and in the United States Senate from 1813 to 1828. He was Speaker of the House for six years and president pro tempore of the Senate for one. His thirty-seven years of service occurred during the formative years of the republic, and he became a leading “negative” on federal action. Few other members cast as many “no” votes as Macon. One biographer called him a “negative radical,” but this derogatory term does not do Macon justice. He voted “no” so often because he believed the federal government continually abused its authority and unconstitutionally enlarged its scope and influence. He took friend and foe alike to task for their support of unconstitutional measures.

Macon was identified as one of a group of thirteen “Quids” during his time in Congress. John Randolph of Roanoke bestowed the title on the group because their consistent attachment to limited government made them the other “thing” (in Latin, a quid is a “thing”) in relation to the Federalists and the Republicans. Macon was the recognized leader of the North Carolina delegation to the House of Representatives. He immediately characterized Alexander Hamilton as the “supreme evil-doer” and joined the opposition to his economic programs. Southerners believed that New England and New York were exercising too much influence on the general direction of the United States, especially in advancing Northern commercial interests against Southern agrarian interests. Macon shared that view.

Macon suggested a series of excise taxes in 1794 that would have extended the burden of the “whiskey tax” onto other beverages like beer, porter, and cider. His intent was to spread the pain, given that the whiskey tax fell disproportionately on Western and Southern farmers. Macon and other Southern leaders felt that the whiskey tax was a political tax, imposed by Northern Federalists on Southern Republicans. In 1788, when Federalists attempted to limit free speech through the Sedition Act, Macon at once challenged the bill. He declared the provisions of the sedition law violated the spirit of 1776, and claimed that “the people suspect something is not right when free discussion is feared by government. They know that truth is not afraid of investigation.” It was true, he conceded, that states had exercised the same power of the Sedition Act, but that was within their constitutional authority. He reasoned “let the States continue to punish, when necessary, licentiousness of the press” what he denied was the federal usurpation of this right. Moreover, Macon argued the bill violated the First Amendment to the Constitution. “How can so plain language be misunderstood or interpreted into consistency with the bill before us?”

Nathaniel Macon consistently challenged federal designs to weaken the states and institute legislation that conflicted with republican principles of government, and he supported the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, where Madison and Jefferson put forward the argument that the states could nullify federal legislation. Macon went further, stating that if the states wished to end the federal government, they could do so because “the Government depends upon the State Legislatures for existence. They have only to refuse to elect Senators to Congress and all is gone.” This would have worked in 1798, but after the Seventeenth Amendment (1913) and the direct election of senators, this was no longer the case. Macon would certainly have opposed that glaring reduction of state power. But Macon did not focus singly on matters of state and federal power.

He was a firm advocate of fiscal responsibility. For example, he voted against spending $7,000 (around $120,000 2007 dollars) on a monument to George Washington, not because he did not think Washington deserved the honor, but because the sum was too large and not an appropriate expenditure for the Federal government in any case. When Federalists asked for enormous sums of money to wage a war against France, Macon responded by saying, “Some people think borrowing five or six millions a trifling thing. We may leave it for our children to pay. This is unjust. If we contract a debt we ought to pay it, and not leave it to your children. What should we think of a father who would run in debt and leave it for his children to pay?” He also asked, “Ought we not to save all the expenses which are not absolutely necessary?”

Macon’s independence was shown in his willingness to oppose those in his own party when they deviated from republican principles. Jefferson realized this in his second term. This is when Macon became identified as a “Quid.” For a time, Macon attacked and ridiculed President Jefferson at every turn for what Macon regarded as Jefferson’s inconsistent adherence to republican principles and the Constitution. Macon was not a “party man.” He voted his beliefs. In fact, Macon was the model of the disinterested statesman. He did not seek election during the Revolution. When his state chose him to serve in the United States Senate, it was at the state legislature’s insistence, not his. He was elected Speaker of the House three times, though he never actively campaigned for the position. When he was defeated for a fourth term in 1807, he never said a word about it. He turned down several offers of more “prestigious” positions in the federal government, from cabinet appointments to Vice President. Macon shunned the “glamour” of political office, and was a selfless public servant for his state.

The Republican of Buck Spring

Buck Spring was a remote, sprawling tobacco plantation in Warrenton, North Carolina, that at one time covered two thousand acres. This was Macon’s home and in the republican tradition of departing public life gracefully, he retired there in 1828. Macon lived twelve miles from the nearest post office and only received mail once every two weeks. His wife had died when he was thirty-two, and Macon never remarried. He lived alone but peacefully among his seventy slaves. He brought his entire group of slaves with him to church services once a month and had a separate service every Sunday at his home. His slaves were required to participate, and elder slaves would often lead a prayer. He was a genuine Southern aristocrat but a man of simple tastes. He ate what the plantation produced and preferred corn whiskey. He was fond of thoroughbreds and kept at least ten fine horses, and he enjoyed such Southern activities as fox chasing. Unless visitors called, Macon rarely had contact with the outside world. Buck Spring was his first country, North Carolina his second.

Nathaniel Macon did, however, stay abreast of the current political debates even in retirement. When South Carolina nullified the federal tariff in 1832, several leading Southerners pressed Macon for an opinion. He had supported nullification in 1798, but his attitude had changed. He believed nullification alone would not be enough to check Northern usurpation of power and argued secession was the only remedy. “I have never believed a State could nullify and stay in the Union, but have always believed a State might secede when she pleased, provided she would pay her proportion of the public debt, and this right I have considered the best guard to public liberty and to public justice that could be desired.” He sent a strong letter to President Andrew Jackson critical of his threat to use military force to collect the tariff. Macon contended the federal government could not legally use force against a state in order to “maintain the Union.”

He also opposed the re-charter of the Second Bank of the United States. Macon fought against the Bank for forty years. He voted against the Bank while Speaker of the House and once said that “Banks are the nobility of the country, they have exclusive privileges and like all nobility, must be supported by the people and they are the worst kind, because they oppress secretly.” When President Jackson vetoed a bill supporting re-charter in 1832, Macon applauded the move. Like other republicans of his day, Macon considered the bank to be a symbol of Northern corruption.

One of Macon’s final forays into public life occurred in 1835 as a member of the state constitutional convention called to revise the state constitution of 1776. He pressed for religious liberty, suffrage based on “maturity” rather than property, public funding for education, and open government that was accountable to the people.

The 1776 constitution granted the vote to free blacks who met the existing property qualifications. Macon opposed repealing that provision but was defeated. His proposal for yearly elections was also voted down. In the end, Macon opposed ratification of the new constitution, which passed anyway. Though a formidable political opponent, Macon extended Southern hospitality, even for his enemies. “While life is spared, if any of you should pass through the country in which I live, I should be glad to see you.” He believed the convention was his final act, but he took an active role in the 1836 presidential contest as an elector from North Carolina. He supported the New Yorker Martin Van Buren because his election meant the triumph of “Southern Republicans” and “principle.” He said after the election that it was the “best evidence in the world of the indomitable spirit of democracy.”

Nathaniel Macon died one year later, suddenly, at Buck Spring, at the age of seventy- nine. He gave instructions to bury him next to his wife and son and to cover the grave in piles of flint rock so the plot would remain undisturbed, and it remains so today. Fifteen hundred people attended his funeral, and, as per his will, he provided all with “dinner and grog.” One participant recalled that “No-one, white or black, went away hungry.” Macon, Georgia, and Randolph-Macon College were named in his honor, as well as counties in Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, and North Carolina. He called North Carolina his “beloved mother,” and his son-in-law presided over North Carolina’s secession convention in 1861. Macon was a republican who believed in the “principles of ’76.” No other man better exemplifies the devotion to states’ rights that was so important a part of the Founding generation.


Contents list

Expand/collapse Nathaniel Macon Letters, 1815 1826 1835.

Original finding aid #01246-z, Series: "Nathaniel Macon Letters, 1815 1826 1835." Folder 1

Letters, 1815, 1826, and 1835 #01246-z, Series: "Nathaniel Macon Letters, 1815 1826 1835." Folder 1

Processing Information

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, June 2010

This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.


Macon, Nathaniel - History

Including excerpts from, "History of Macon County, Illinois", 1880

Prior to 1829 the territory included within the present boundaries of Macon county formed a part of the county of Shelby. Before the assembling of the Legislature in 1829 a committee of three, consisting of Benjamin R. Austin, Andrew Smith and John Ward, had been appointed to go to Vandalia, then the capital of the State, and secure the passage of an act dividing Shelby county and creating a new county out of the territory thus divided.

The committee succeeded and during the session the following Act establishing the county of Macon* was approved.

"AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A NEW COUNTY TO BE CALLED THE COUNTY OF MACON.

"SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois represented in the General Assembly, That all that tract of country lying within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the southwest corner of section numbered eighteen, in township numbered fourteen north, of range numbered one east of the third principal meridian thence due north with the said third principal meridian line to the northwest corner of township numbered twenty north, of range numbered one east thence due east with the line between townships numbered twenty and twenty-one north, to the northeast corner of township numbered twenty north, of range numbered six east thence due south with the line between ranges number six and seven east, to the southeast corner of section numbered thirteen, in township numbered fourteen north, of range numbered six east and from thence due west along through the middle of townships numbered fourteen north, to the place of beginning, shall constitute a county, to be called the county of Macon, and the seat of justice therein, when located, shall be called the town of Decatur."


Macon, Nathaniel - History

The Nathaniel Macon Chapter, NSDAR, is eager to answer your questions and help you along the path to becoming a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR or DAR). Few adventures in your life will be more rewarding than joining a society that promotes "God, Home, and Country." The objectives of the Nathaniel Macon Chapter, NSDAR, are to promote historic preservation along with encouraging active participation in educational and patriotic endeavors. Send us an EMAIL today. we are waiting to answer your questions!

Most of the volunteer work of DAR is accomplished under a committee system comprised of national chairs and locally appointed state and chapter chairs. Some of the numerous DAR committees promoting our mission include (but are not limited to): American Heritage, DAR Scholarship, Genealogical Records, Junior American Citizens, Literacy Promotion, The Flag of the United States of America, and National Defense. We can work together to make sure you play an active role with a committee you enjoy that addresses a subject close to your heart. Whether you hope to have an impact with school-aged children, teachers, nurses, veterans serving our country abroad, or women in this community, we can help you meet your volunteer goals. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

The content contained herein does not necessarily represent the position of the NSDAR.


Nathaniel Macon

Nathaniel Macon, a nationally prominent senator and congressman from North Carolina, was born December 17,1758. He served in the United States Congress continuously for thirty-seven years, as representative from 1791 to 1815 and as senator from 1815 until he resigned in1828. As Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1801-1807, Macon was one of the most powerful men in the nation and exercised great influence until his death June 29, 1837.

His wish was that no grief be expressed at his funeral. He requested that dinner and grog be served and that each friend cast a stone on his grave. He is buried at his homeplace beside his wife and son. The fourth grave is believed to be Macon's grandson. Large mounds of stones cover all the graves. Thomas Jefferson referred to Macon as "The Last of the Romans."

Tópicos e séries. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites &bull Government & Politics &bull Patriots & Patriotism. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #03 Thomas Jefferson series list. A significant historical date for this entry is June 29, 1837.

Localização. 36° 28.9′ N, 77° 59.76′ W. Marker is near Buck Spring, North Carolina, in Warren County. Marker is on Nathaniel Macon Drive (County Road 1348) half a mile west of Eaton

Ferry Road (County Road 1344), on the right when traveling west. Toque para ver o mapa. Marker is at or near this postal address: 217 Nathaniel Macon Drive, Littleton NC 27850, United States of America. Toque para obter instruções.

Outros marcadores próximos. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Nathaniel Macon (approx. 3.8 miles away) William Miller (approx. 4.9 miles away) Ella Baker (approx. 6 miles away) Plummer Bernard Young (approx. 6 miles away) Bragg Home (approx. 10.3 miles away) Warrenton Male Academy (approx. 10.4 miles away) John Hall (approx. 10.4 miles away) John H. Kerr (approx. 10 miles away).

Mais sobre este marcador. I believe Nathaniel Macon Drive is also called Buck Spring Drive. This is a rural area and Buck Spring is the name of the historic plantation rather than a town.


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