Call Me “Webster?”

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Call Me “Webster?”

January 09, 2017 - 11:13
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Webster the pseudonym, from the famous statesman Daniel Webster, is based on more than the geographical relationship that both of us are from New Hampshire. Although, I must admit, that is part of it. Daniel Webster (1782 – 1852) was born and raised in Salisbury, NH. The summer after graduating from college I lived in a small Cape Cod style house in Salisbury, NH that dated from about the time Webster was born. It even had running water and an inside toilet – the water ran as fast as you could work the hand pump in the kitchen and the toilet was a one-hole privy located at the far end of the wood shed which was connected to the house. Further, Webster went to Dartmouth College and I grew up about 15 miles from that college.

Webster was initially a citizen-statesman and not the kind of career politician so common today. He first served in the House of Representatives for two terms (1813 – 1817) representing New Hampshire then left to build his law practice. Six years later he returned to represent Massachusetts for two terms (1823 – 1827). He then became a US Senator from Massachusetts (1827 – 1841; 1845-1850). He was twice the Secretary of State (1841 – 1843; 1850-1852); one of only two Secretaries of State that served three Presidents (William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, and Millard Fillmore).

Webster was a constitutional lawyer who gained fame for successfully representing Dartmouth College in the famed Dartmouth College Case before the US Supreme Court – one of many cases he argued before the US Supreme Court. In this case the State of New Hampshire wanted to take control of the college; but Webster was successful in keeping Dartmouth College a private entity. He was known for bolstering the authority of the federal government, which was and is a union of states. He was a spokesman for nationalism; a spokesman for conservatives; and led the opposition to the Democrats of the day.

Webster has been quoted by various people in a variety of situations for stating “The power to tax is the power to destroy”.

In 1957 a Senate Committee selected Daniel Webster as one of the then five greatest United States Senators of all time. His name was often heard in the same sentence as the better known Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky and Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina.

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