Andrew Stevenson Edit Profile
Educated College William and Mary. Studied law.
He served in the United States House of Representatives, as Speaker of the House, and as Minister to the United Kingdom. Stevenson practiced in Richmond. He served as Speaker of the House of Delegates from 1812 to 1815.
In 1814 and 1816 he was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress. From 1827 to 1834 he was the Speaker of the House (20th through 23rd Congresses). Stevenson began his as a Democratic-Republican (17th Congress).
Stevenson resigned from Congress to accept appointment as Minister to the United Kingdom. In June of that year the United States Senate denied him confirmation. He returned to Virginia and resumed the practice of law.
In addition, he presided over the 1835 Democratic National Convention. In February 1836 President Andrew Jackson renominated Stevenson for Minister to Great Britain. He was confirmed 26 votes to 19 and served from 1836 to 1841.
His term as Minister to the United Kingdom was marked by controversy: the abolitionist cause was growing in strength, and some sections of public opinion resented the choice of Stevenson, who was a slaveowner, for this role. The Irish statesman Daniel O'Connell was reported to have denounced Stevenson in public as a slave breeder, generally thought to be a more serious matter than simply being a slaveowner. Stevenson, outraged, challenged O'Connell to a duel, but O'Connell, who had a lifelong aversion to dueling, refused, and suggested that he had been misquoted.
The controversy became public and the repeated references to slave breeding caused Stevenson a good deal of embarrassment: there was a widespread view that if O'Connell's charges were false Stevenson would have done better to simply ignore them rather than engaging in a public squabble. Stevenson presided over the 1848 Democratic National Convention. In 1845 he was elected to the board of visitors of the University of Virginia.
From 1856 to 1857 he served as the university's rector. He died at his Blenheim estate on January 21, 1857. He was buried at Enniscorthy Cemetery in Keene, Virginia.
Stevenson purchased the Blenheim property in Albemarle County in 1846. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Stevenson married three times.
She died in 1848.
Member Virginia House of Delegates, 1809-1816, 18-21, speaker, 1812-1815. Member United States House of Representatives from Virginia, 17th-23d congresses, 1821-June 2, 1834, speaker, 1827-1834.
Married Mary Page White. Married second, Sarah Coles, 1816.