George M. Dallas

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George Mifflin Dallas (July 10, 1792 – December 31, 1864) was a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and the 11th Vice President of the United States, serving under James K. Polk.


Family and early life

Of Scottish ancestry, George Mifflin Dallas was born on July 10, 1792, to Alexander James Dallas and Arabella Smith Dallas in Philadelphia.[1] Dallas was the second of six children,[1] another of whom, Alexander, would become the commander of Pensacola Navy Yard. Born in Kingston, Jamaica and educated in Edinburgh, the senior Alexander was the Secretary of the Treasury under United States President James Madison, and was also briefly the Secretary of War.[1] Dallas graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) with highest honors in 1810, studied law thereafter, and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1813.[1]

Early legal, diplomatic and financial service

Dallas did not have much enthusiasm at the time for legal practice, and wanted to fight in the War of 1812, a plan which he dropped due to his father's objection.[1] Just after this, Dallas accepted an offer to be the private secretary of Albert Gallatin, and he went to Russia with Gallatin who was sent there to try and secure its aid in peace negotiations between Great Britain and the United States.[1] Dallas enjoyed the opportunities offered to him by being in Russia, but after six months there he was ordered to go to London to determine whether the War of 1812 could be resolved diplomatically.[1] In August 1814, he arrived in Washington, D.C. and delivered a preliminary draft of Britain's peace terms.[1] There, he was appointed by James Madison to become the remitter of the treasury, which is considered a "convenient arrangement" because Dallas's father was serving at the time as that department's secretary.[1] Since the job did not entail a large workload, Dallas found time to develop his grasp of politics, his major vocational interest.[1] He later became the counsel to the Second Bank of the United States.[1] In 1817, Dallas's father died, ending Dallas's plan for a family law practice, and he stopped working for the Second Bank of the United States and became the deputy attorney general of Philadelphia, a position he held until 1820.[1]

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