Littleton Waller Tazewell

From Wythepedia: The George Wythe Encyclopedia
Revision as of 13:53, 19 November 2015 by Sespencer01 (talk | contribs) (Created page with "{{PersonInfoBox |imagename=LittletonWallerTazewell.jpg |name= Littleton Waller Tazewell |honorific= |1stoffice= Member of the Virginia House of Delegates |1stofficedates= 179...")

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
Littleton Waller Tazewell
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
In office
1798-1800, 1816-1817
Preceded by
Succeeded by
In office
Preceded by
Succeeded by John Marshall
Virginia General Assembly member
In office
Preceded by
Succeeded by
U.S. Senator
In office
Preceded by
Succeeded by John Taylor
Governor of Virginia (26th)
In office
Preceded by
Succeeded by
In office
Preceded by
Succeeded by
In office
Preceded by
Succeeded by
In office
Preceded by {{{8thofficepreceded}}}
Succeeded by {{{8thofficesucceeded}}}
Personal details
Born December 17, 1774
  Williamsburg, Virginia
Died May 6, 1860
  Norfolk, Virginia in his Granby St. house
Resting place The Tazewell plot in Norfolk, Virginia
Education the College of William and Mary
Alma mater
Profession lawyer, politician
Spouse(s) Anne Stratton Nivison
Relatives maternal grandfather of Littleton Waller Tazewell Bradford.
Known for

Littleton Waller Tazewell was born on December 17, 1774 in Williamsburg, Virginia, to Henry Tazewell, a lawyer and future U.S. Senator, and Dorothea Elizabeth Waller. After his mother's death in 1777, Tazewell's father became immersed in revolutionary politics leaving Tazewell to be raised by Dorothea's father, Benjamin Waller. [1] Tazewell's grandfather, Benjamin Waller, was also a lawyer and tutored him in Latin. [2]

At the age of ten, Tazewell attended Walker Maury's school in Williamsburg. While there "he caught the eye" of George Wythe. For the next three years, Wythe acted as Tazewell's private tutor and taught him Latin, Greek, and mathematics in order to prepare Tazewell for entering the College of William & Mary. [3] In 1791, Tazewell graduated from William & Mary with a B.A. degree. Tazewell then traveled to Richmond to study law under John Wickham. After being accepted to the bar in 1796, Tazewell decided to practice law in Williamsburg. [4]

In 1798, Tazewell won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in part thanks to his father, who was now a U.S. Senator. He held this position for three consecutive terms (1798-1800). While there, Tazewell strongly supported James Madison's Virginia Resolutions against the Federalist Alien and Sedition Acts. After John Marshall was named Secretary of State, Tazewell filled the opening in the U.S. House of Representatives until the end of its session (1800-1801). Instead of seeking another term, Tazewell moved to Norfolk where he married Anne Stratton Nivison. Together they would have seven children. [5]

While in Norfolk, Tazewell represented the community in the Virginia Assembly from 1804 to 1806. As a representative, Tazewell worked to promote Norfolk's business community and to fund state-authorized roads and canals. [6] A "Jeffersonian at heart" due to his "distrust of powerful men and strong government," Tazewell was more of a political independent. He consistently avoided party identification and detested partisan conflict. Tazewell had strong commercial interests and financial connections, attacked the embargo policy fo 1807-1809, and advocated a Federalist-Republican coalition ticket over Madison's--in short, he upheld policies and interests that conflicted with each U.S. party. [7]

In 1824, Tazewell was elected to the U.S. Senate after John Taylor's death created a vacancy. [8] Tazewell served as chair of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee and as president pro tempore while in the Senate. [9] Tazewell took serious issue with Andrew Jackson's presidency. In particular, Tazewell despised Jackson's handling of the 1832 Tariff Crisis in South Carolina and Jackson's decision in 1833 to withdraw public revenue from the U.S. Bank. Tazewell disgustedly left the Senate in 1832. [10]

In 1834, Tazewell was elected as Virginia's 26th Governor. While Governor, Tazewell helped Virginia recover approximately $400,000 in settelment of Revolutionary War claims and worked to put down "antislavery agitation by northern radicals." Tazewell retired from political life in 1836 to manage his plantations. [11]

Tazewell died of pneumonia at his Norfolk residence in 1860 and was buried in the family plot there. [12] His principal published work was Review of the Negotiations between the United States and Great Britain Respecting the Commerce of the Two Countries (1829). [13]

Further Reading

(1) Hugh Blair Grigsby, Discourse on the Life and Character of the Hon. Littleton Waller Tazewell (1860).

See also

Wythe the Teacher


  1. American National Biography Online, s.v. "Tazewell, Littleton Waller," by John R. Van Atta, accessed October 5, 2015.
  2. "Littleton Waller Tazewell, Governor, U.S. Senator," GENi, accessed November 18, 2015.
  3. "Tazewell, Littleton Waller."
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. "Littleton Waller Tazewell, Governor, U.S. Senator."
  9. "Tazewell, Littleton Waller."
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid; Kathryn R. Malone, "The Fate of Revolutionary Republicanism in Early National Virginia," Journal of the Early Republic, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Spring, 1987).
  12. "Tazewell, Littleton Waller."
  13. "Littleton Waller Tazewell, Governor, U.S. Senator."