As Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin found the resources to buy the Louisiana Purchase and for its exploration, and to build the roads and canals to help a young nation survive and thrive. Before and after this, he was intimately involved in such things as the Whiskey Rebellion and the Treaty of Ghent.
Albert Gallatin was an immigrant from Geneva, Switzerland. He lived for a brief time in Boston and Virginia before making his home on the Pennsylvania frontier. During the days of the Whiskey Rebellion, the first great test of the power of the Federal Government, Gallatin played a leading role, though he was much more moderate than many, and advocated against breaking with the government.
Gallatin served briefly as a Senator and a Representative from Pennsylvania, where he showed great insight into the financial problems of the new nation. When elected President, Jefferson appointed him Secretary of the Treasury, where he served for 13 years under Presidents Jefferson and Madison. It was as Secretary of the Treasury that Gallatin arranged for the funding to buy the Louisiana Purchase, and for the exploration of it. When Lewis and Clark explored the new lands, they found where three rivers formed the beginnings of the Missouri River. They named these three rivers after whom they felt were three of the most important Americans alive - Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin. He also supported and financed many internal improvements, such as roads and canals, so necessary for the transportation of goods from one section of the country to another. An example of such a project would be the Treaty of Ghent, the treaty that ended the War of 1812. He also served as Minister to both England and France.
In 1817, retired from public service, Gallatin moved to New York. Here he became the President of the National Bank of the City of New York and founded New York University. Gallatin died on August 12, 1849 at the age of 88.
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