Robert Smith (U.S. politician)

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RobertSmithSecofState.jpg
Portrait of U.S. Secretary of State Robert Smith

Robert Smith (November 3, 1757November 26, 1842) was the second United States Secretary of the Navy from 1801 to 1809 and the sixth United States Secretary of State from 1809 to 1811.

Smith was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. During the American Revolutionary War, he served in the Continental Army and participated in the Battle of Brandywine. He graduated from Princeton University in 1781 and began to practice law in Maryland. Smith became the Presidential Elector in the Electoral College for Maryland in 1789, then a member of state's senate from 1793 to 1795, and finally a member of Maryland's house of delegates from 1796 to 1800. President Thomas Jefferson appointed him as Secretary of the Navy in July 27, 1801. On March 2, 1805, the Senate confirmed the appointments of Smith as United States Attorney General and Jacob Crowninshield as Secretary of the Navy. However, Crowninshield declined his appointment, so Smith briefly served as both Attorney General and Secretary of the Navy. Eventually, President Jefferson appointed John Breckinridge to replace Smith as Attorney General and Smith resumed his role as a full-time Secretary of the Navy. Smith finally left the office of Secretary of the Navy with the end of President Jefferson's administration on March 4, 1809. Jefferson's successor, President James Madison, immediately appointed Smith as Secretary of State, an office which he held from March 6, 1809 until his resignation on April 1, 1811.

Smith became the president of the not-yet-fully-organized American Bible Society in 1813. In 1818, he became the founding president of the Maryland Agriculture Society and afterwards retired to a more private life where he enjoyed his wealth. Robert Smith died in Baltimore, Maryland on November 26, 1842.


Preceded by:
Benjamin Stoddert
United States Secretary of the Navy
18011809
Succeeded by:
Paul Hamilton
Preceded by:
Levi Lincoln
United States Attorney General
1805
Succeeded by:
John Breckinridge
Preceded by:
James Madison
United States Secretary of State
March 6, 1809April 1, 1811
Succeeded by:
James Monroe

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