James Gadsden

James Gadsden

Gadsden, James, 1788-1858, American railroad promoter and diplomat, b. Charleston, S.C.; grandson of Christopher Gadsden. He served in the War of 1812, under Andrew Jackson against the Seminole, and, later, as commissioner to remove the Seminole to their reservation in Florida. He was a promoter of railroads and advocated a Southern rail system, the purpose of which would be to control the trade of the South and the West, thereby freeing those regions from their dependency on the North. To further this end he promoted Southern commercial conventions, and at a convention in Memphis in 1845 he boldly urged the construction of a railroad to the Pacific. In 1853, when his friend Jefferson Davis was Secretary of War in Pierce's cabinet, Gadsden was appointed minister to Mexico to negotiate for territory along the border. The result was the Gadsden Purchase. He was recalled (1856) for exceeding his instructions.
James Gadsden (May 15, 1788 - December 25, 1858). Namesake of the Gadsden Purchase, in which the United States purchased from Mexico the land that became the southern portion of Arizona and New Mexico.

He was born in 1788 in Charleston, South Carolina, the grandson of American Revolutionary patriot Christopher Gadsden. He received his bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1806. After a career as a US Army officer, James was appointed a commissioner in 1823 to assist the government in moving the Seminoles to reservations. He served as president of the South Carolina Railroad Company from 1840 to 1850 and promoted the construction of a transcontinental railroad by the southern route. In 1853, he was appointed U.S. minister to Mexico to negotiate the Gadsden Treaty which led to the Gadsden Purchase by the United States from Mexico of about 30,000 square miles in the southern section of what is now Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.

During the War of 1812, Gadsden served in the Army under General Andrew Jackson, and was responsible for the construction of Fort Gadsden in Florida.


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