Robert R. Livingston, portrait by Charles Willson Peale, c. 1782; in Independence National elipsis
(born Nov. 27, 1746, New York, N.Y.—died Feb. 26, 1813, Clermont, N.Y.) U.S. lawyer and diplomat. He served in the Continental Congress and helped draft the Declaration of Independence.
As New York state's first chancellor (1777–1801), he administered the oath of office to Pres. George Washington
(1789). From 1781 to 1783 he was U.S. secretary of foreign affairs. As minister to France from 1801 to 1804, he helped effect the Louisiana Purchase
. In partnership with Robert Fulton
, he later received a steamboat monopoly for New York waters; the first vessel to operate on the Hudson River (1807) was named the Clermont
, after his ancestral home.
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.