Welles, Gideon

Welles, Gideon
born July 1, 1802, Glastonbury, Conn., U.S.
died Feb. 11, 1878, Hartford, Conn.

U.S. politician.

Cofounder and editor the Hartford Times (1826–36), he founded one of the first Republican Party newspapers in New England, the Hartford Evening Press (1856). In 1861 he was appointed secretary of the navy by Pres. Abraham Lincoln, and in the American Civil War he built a large Union navy from a few ships, supported development of the ironclads, and helped form the strategic naval blockade. His Diary of Gideon Welles (published 1911) contains valuable insights into the Civil War.

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▪ American politician
born July 1, 1802, Glastonbury, Conn., U.S.
died Feb. 11, 1878, Hartford, Conn.

      U.S. secretary of the navy under presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.

      Born into a wealthy family, Welles was educated at private schools. He studied law but in 1826 became cofounder and editor of the Hartford Times. The next year, he became the youngest member of the Connecticut legislature and served there until 1835. An ardent Jacksonian Democrat, he was responsible for Connecticut's general incorporation law, which became a model for other states.

      Welles was elected state controller of public accounts in 1835; he was reelected in 1842 and 1843. Jackson appointed him postmaster of Hartford in 1836, and Welles served until the Whigs took power in 1841. From 1846 to 1849 he was chief of the Bureau of Provisions and Clothing for the Navy.

      In 1854 Welles quit the Democrats and switched to the Republican Party. In 1856 he founded the Hartford Evening Press, one of the first Republican papers in New England, and wrote for it extensively.

      In 1861 Lincoln made Welles secretary of the Navy, in part fulfilling a political obligation to put a New Englander in the Cabinet. Welles proved to be a highly competent administrator and a surprisingly keen military strategist. He quickly built a large and effective navy from a few ships and a force reduced by the departure of Confederate sympathizers. Undisturbed by criticism, he authorized the construction of ironclads, kept his department as free from graft as possible, and promoted officers of merit over those with great seniority. He was largely responsible for implementing the “Anaconda plan” of slowly squeezing the South into submission, and he effectively directed the naval blockade that isolated the South and severed it in half.

      In 1869 Welles left the Cabinet, having completed the longest term as Navy secretary to that time. He then drifted from the Republican Party, backing the Liberal Republicans in 1872 and Democrat Samuel Tilden in 1876. He spent his final years writing magazine articles and a book, Lincoln and Seward (1874). Long after his death the Diary of Gideon Welles (1911) was published, a work highly regarded by historians for its insights into the people and events of the Civil War era.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Welles,Gideon — Welles, Gideon. 1802 1878. American editor and politician. A founder of the Republican Party (1854), he established a partisan newspaper, the Hartford Evening Press (1856), and was U.S. secretary of the navy (1861 1869) during the Civil War. * *… …   Universalium

  • Welles, Gideon — (1 jul. 1802, Glastonbury, Conn., EE.UU.–11 feb. 1878, Hartford, Conn.). Político estadounidense. Cofundador y director del Hartford Times (1826–36); fundó uno de los primeros periódicos del Partido Republicano en Nueva Inglaterra, el vespertino… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gideon Welles — Infobox US Cabinet official name=Gideon Welles image width=220px order=24th title=United States Secretary of the Navy term start=March 7, 1861 term end=March 4, 1869 predecessor=Isaac Toucey successor=Adolph E. Borie birth date=birth… …   Wikipedia

  • Gideon Hawley — (1727 1807) was a missionary to the Iroquois Indians in Massachusetts and on the Susquehanna River in New York. BiographyHe was born in the Stratfield section of Stratford, now Bridgeport, Connecticut, in New England on November 5, 1727. The son… …   Wikipedia

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  • Gideon Welles — Portrait de Gideon Welles par Mathew Brady vers 1860. Gideon Welles (1er juillet 1802 – 11 février 1878)[1 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Welles (name) — Family name name =Welles imagesize= caption= meaning = spring region =English origin =English related names =Well, Wells footnotes = Welles is an English language locational surname originating from Well, a village and mill in Lincolnshire. Its… …   Wikipedia

  • Welles — noun United States actor and filmmaker (1915 1985) • Syn: ↑Orson Welles, ↑George Orson Welles • Instance Hypernyms: ↑actor, ↑histrion, ↑player, ↑thespian, ↑role player, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Welles — I. biographical name (George) Orson 1915 1985 American film & theater director, writer, producer, & actor II. biographical name Gideon 1802 1878 American politician & writer III. biographical name Sumner 1892 1961 American diplomat …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Welles — /welz/, n. 1. (George) Orson, 1915 85, U.S. actor, director, and producer. 2. Gideon, 1802 78, U.S. journalist, legislator, and government official: Secretary of the Navy 1861 69. 3. Sumner, 1892 1961, U.S. diplomat and government official. * * * …   Universalium

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