John Y. Mason

John Young Mason (* April 18, 1799 in Greenville County, Virginia; † October 3, 1859 in Paris) was an American lawyer, diplomat, politician, Minister of Marine and Minister of Justice ( Attorney General ).

Study and career

Mason first completed a general education studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which he finished in 1816 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA). He then studied law in Connecticut and in 1819 admitted to the bar in Southampton County Virginia. After marrying the daughter of a landowner, he was also a farmer.

1837 he was appointed a judge of the U.S. District Court of Eastern Virginia, where he remained until 1844.

Political career

Deputy in Virginia and Washington

Mason began his political career in 1823 with the election of a member of the House of Representatives in Virginia, where he remained until 1827. Subsequently, he was from 1827 to 1831 member of the State Senate, and in addition from 1829 to 1830 Delegate to the Constitutional Convention of Virginia.

From March 4, 1831 to January 11, 1831 he was a deputy in the U.S. House of Representatives for the Democrats. There he represented the interests of the second congressional district and was also from 1835 to 1836 Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. During this time he was both active supporter of the policies of President Andrew Jackson, on the other hand also a passionate advocate for the rights of the individual states.

In 1850 he was again a delegate and in 1851 President of the Constitutional Convention of Virginia. As a politician of the old school Virginia, he advocated the maintenance of slavery and rejected abolitionism chosen from.

Marine and Minister of Justice

On March 26, 1844, President John Tyler appointed him as Secretary of the Navy in his cabinet. This office he held until March 4, 1845.

The term of office as Secretary of the Navy was characterized by intense economic pressure from the U.S. Congress, which demanded the withdrawal of the line ships of the U.S. Navy, so however difficult the constant presence on outpost. Furthermore, there was his first term as Minister of the Navy marked by the construction of floating dry docks for several naval shipyards, the simplification of the Marine Equipment essence, an extension of the scientific experiments of the Navy and the formalization of the status of marine engineers.

Subsequently, President James K. Polk appointed him Minister of Justice ( Attorney General ).

Already on September 10, 1846 Polk, however, again gave him the leadership of the Navy Department, where he had succeeded his previous successor George Bancroft. As such he remained to the end of Polk's term of office on March 4, 1849 in office.

This second term was marked by efforts to strengthen the naval forces in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Pacific coast, the construction of new steam ships and a desire for the procurement of potential warships as civilian use Mailboats. This was an early but unsuccessful experiment of a public-private partnership model.

He was put into service in 1920 destroyer USS Mason was named in honor of the HMS Broadwater (H -81 ) was sunk on October 18, 1941 by a German U- boat.

Envoy to France

After a new career as a lawyer from 1849 to 1853 he was President Franklin Pierce, whose campaign he had previously supported, appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to France on 10 October 1853. There he represented the interests of the United States until his death in Paris.

Because a violation of the dress code of the U.S. State Department at a reception at the court of Emperor Napoleon III. he was reprimanded by the then Secretary of State William L. Marcy. Together with the U.S. ambassador to Great Britain and Ireland, James Buchanan, as well as in Spain, Pierre Soulé, 1854 he was co-author of the so-called Manifesto of Ostend, which provided for the purchase of Cuba from Spain in October.

After his death in Paris, he was transferred to Richmond and buried in the local Hollywood Cemetery.