Andrew Stevenson

Andrew Stevenson

Andrew Stevenson
United States Minister to the United Kingdom
In office
July 13, 1836 – October 21, 1841
Preceded by Aaron Vail (chargé d'affaires)
Succeeded by Edward Everett
11th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
December 3, 1827 – June 2, 1834
President John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Preceded by John W. Taylor
Succeeded by John Bell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 23rd district
In office
March 4, 1821 – March 4, 1823
Preceded by John Tyler
Succeeded by None; district eliminated
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 16th district
In office
March 4, 1823 – March 4, 1825
Preceded by John Randolph
Succeeded by William Armstrong
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 9th district
In office
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1833
Preceded by James Stephenson
Succeeded by William P. Taylor
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 11th district
In office
March 4, 1833 – June 2, 1834
Preceded by John M. Patton
Succeeded by John Robertson
Personal details
Born January 21, 1784
Culpeper County, Virginia
Died January 25, 1857 (aged 73)
Albemarle County, Virginia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary White
Alma mater The College of William & Mary
Profession Law

Andrew Stevenson (January 21, 1784 – January 25, 1857) was a Democratic politician in the United States. Educated at the College of William and Mary, he married three times. His second wife, Sarah (Sally) Coles, was a cousin of Dolley Madison and sister of Edward Coles, a governor of Illinois. Stevenson served as a Congressman from Virginia from 1821 to 1834 and was the Speaker of the House from 1827 until resigning in May 1834. He resigned after having been nominated to serve as Minister to the United Kingdom, but in June of that year the United States Senate denied him confirmation. He returned to Virginia and remained active in politics by presiding over the 1835 Democratic National Convention. In February 1836 President Andrew Jackson renominated Stevenson for Minister to Great Britain. He was confirmed 26 votes to 19 and served from 1836 to 1841. Stevenson presided over the 1848 Democratic National Convention. From 1856 to 1857 he served as rector of the University of Virginia.

His term as Minister to the United Kingdom was marked by controversy: the abolitionist cause was growing in strength, and some sections of public opinion resented the choice of Stevenson, who was a slaveowner, for this role.[1] The Irish statesman Daniel O'Connell was reported to have denounced Stevenson in public as a slave breeder, generally thought to be a more serious matter than simply being a slaveowner.[2] Stevenson, outraged, challenged O'Connell to a duel, but O'Connell, who had a lifelong aversion to dueling, refused, and suggested that he had been misquoted. The controversy became public and the repeated references to slave breeding caused Stevenson a good deal of embarrassment: there was a widespread view that if O'Connell's charges were false Stevenson would have done better to simply ignore them rather than engaging in a public squabble.[3]

Stevenson purchased the Blenheim property in Albemarle County in 1846.[4] It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.[5]

His son John White Stevenson was a senator and Governor of Kentucky.

Mrs. Andrew Stevenson


  1. ^ Geoghegan, Patrick M. Liberator- the Life and Death of Daniel O'Connell Gill and Macmillan 2010 Dublin p.202
  2. ^ Geoghegan pp.202-4
  3. ^ Geoghegan p.204
  4. ^ Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission Staff (December 1975). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Blenheim" (PDF).  and Accompanying photo
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Tyler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 23rd congressional district

March 4, 1821 – March 4, 1823 (obsolete district)
Succeeded by
Preceded by
William L. Ball
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 9th congressional district

March 4, 1823 – March 4, 1833
Succeeded by
William P. Taylor
Preceded by
John M. Patton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 11th congressional district

March 4, 1833 – June 2, 1834
Succeeded by
John Robertson
Political offices
Preceded by
John W. Taylor
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
December 3, 1827 – March 4, 1829;
December 7, 1829 – March 4, 1831;
December 5, 1831 – March 4, 1833
December 2, 1833 – June 2, 1834
Succeeded by
John Bell
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Aaron Vail
(Chargé d'Affaires)
U.S. Minister to Britain
Succeeded by
Edward Everett