World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

William C. Rives

William Cabell Rives
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
December 10, 1832 – February 22, 1834
Preceded by Littleton W. Tazewell
Succeeded by Benjamin W. Leigh
In office
March 4, 1836 – March 4, 1845
Preceded by John Tyler, Jr.
Succeeded by Isaac S. Pennybacker
Personal details
Born (1793-05-04)May 4, 1793
Amherst County, Virginia
Died April 25, 1868(1868-04-25) (aged 74)
Charlottesville, Virginia
Political party Jacksonian,

William Cabell Rives (May 4, 1793 – April 25, 1868) was an American lawyer, politician and diplomat from Albemarle County, Virginia. He represented Virginia as a Jackson Democrat in both the U.S. House and Senate and also served as the U.S. minister to France.

Early life

Rives was born at "Union Hill", the estate of his grandfather, Col. William Cabell, in Amherst County, Virginia. It was located on the James River in what is now Nelson County. His parents were Robert (1764–1845) and Margaret Cabell (c.1770–1815) Rives, and his brothers included Alexander Rives. He was a great-uncle of Alexander Brown, author of books on the early history of Virginia and a family history, The Cabells and their Kin (1895).[1]

After private tutoring, Rives attended Hampden-Sydney College, followed by the College of William and Mary.

He left Williamsburg to study law with Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, and in 1814 was admitted to the bar at Richmond. Rives began his law practice in Nelson County, but after marrying Judith Page Walker (1802–1882) in 1819, he moved to her estate Castle Hill, near Cobham in Albemarle County. This was his home for the remainder of his life.

Political career

Rives' political career began by serving in the state constitutional convention of 1816. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1817–19 for Nelson County, and again in 1822 for Albemarle County. In 1823 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives and served from 1823 to 1829. In 1839 he was appointed by Andrew Jackson as minister to France serving for 3 years. His name was presented as a candidate for the Democratic vice presidential nomination in 1835, but the nomination went to Richard M. Johnson.

On his return from France, Rives was elected to the United States Senate. He would serve three terms, the last as a member of the Whig Party. From 1849 to 1853, he was again minister to France. In 1860, he endorsed the call for a Constitutional Union Party Convention, where he received most of Virginia's first ballot votes for President.

Rives was a delegate to the February 1861 Peace Conference in Washington which sought to prevent the American Civil War. He spoke out against secession, but was loyal to Virginia when she did seceded. He served in the Provisional Confederate Congress from 1861 to 1862, and the Second Confederate Congress from 1864 to 1865.

Post Civil War

Rives was the author of several books, the most important being his Life and Times of James Madison (3 vols., Boston, 1859–68). He served on the Board of Visitors for the University of Virginia from 1834 to 1849, and was for many years the president of the Virginia Historical Society. He died at "Castle Hill" in 1868 and was buried in the family cemetery.

His son, Alfred Landon Rives, was a prominent engineer, and his granddaughter Amélie Rives was a novelist, best known for The Quick or the Dead? (1888).

His second son William Cabell Rives, Jr., (1825-1890) owned Cobham Park Estate.[2] It was listed the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.[3]

Notes and references

External links

  • Template:CongBio
Preceded by
Thomas L. Moore
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 10th congressional district

March 4, 1823 – Mid-1829
Succeeded by
William F. Gordon
Preceded by
Littleton W. Tazewell
United States Senator (Class 2) from Virginia
December 10, 1832 – February 22, 1834
Served alongside: John Tyler, Jr.
Succeeded by
Benjamin W. Leigh
Preceded by
John Tyler, Jr.
United States Senator (Class 1) from Virginia
March 4, 1836 – March 4, 1839
Served alongside: Richard E. Parker, William H. Roane
Succeeded by
William C. Rives
Preceded by
William C. Rives
United States Senator (Class 1) from Virginia
March 4, 1841 – March 4, 1845
Served alongside: William S. Archer
Succeeded by
Isaac S. Pennybacker
Political offices
Preceded by
New creation
Delegate to the Provisional Confederate Congress from Virginia
April 29, 1861 – February 16, 1862
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
James P. Holcombe
Member of the C.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 7th congressional district

February 17, 1864 – March 7, 1865
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James Brown
Minister to France
Succeeded by
Edward Livingston
Preceded by
Richard Rush
Minister to France
Succeeded by
John Y. Mason


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.