Charlestown, Massachusetts , United States
|| April 11, 1794
|Died||January 15, 1865
|Contributor||U Ole Polecat|
Aug 11, 2015 02:34am
|Info||Edward Everett (April 11, 1794 – January 15, 1865) was a Whig Party politician from Massachusetts. Everett was elected to the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate, and also served as President of Harvard University, United States Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Britain, and Governor of Massachusetts before being appointed United States Secretary of State by President Millard Fillmore to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Daniel Webster. Mentioned in the book "The Perfect Tribute," Everett was an unsuccessful candidate for Vice President of the United States in the 1860 election on the Constitutional Union ticket. In 1863 he delivered a two-hour Gettysburg Oration that has been eclipsed in history by President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. He was the father of congressman William Everett and the great uncle of Edward Everett Hale. |
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, to the Rev. Oliver Everett and Lucy (Hill) Everett, he attended Boston Latin School and graduated as the valedictorian from Harvard University in 1811, studied theology under the urging of the Rev. Joseph Stevens Buckminster, and was ordained pastor of the Brattle Street Unitarian Church, Boston, in 1814. He was the first American to receive a Ph.D. degree. His brother Alexander Hill Everett was a noted diplomatist and man of letters.
Everett was a professor of Greek literature at Harvard University, an overseer of the University, and its president from 1846 to 1849. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives and served from March 4, 1825-March 3, 1835. He declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1834.
He then served as Governor of Massachusetts (1836-1840).
Everett was appointed United States Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Britain 1841-1845, declining a commission to China in 1843. He served as president of Harvard University from 1846-1849.
In 1852 he was appointed United States Secretary of State by President Millard Fillmore to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Daniel Webster, and served until the end of the Fillmore Administration, March 3, 1853. He was elected to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1853, until his resignation, effective June 1, 1854.
Everett was an unsuccessful candidate for Vice President of the United States in the 1860 election on the Constitutional Union ticket.
He went to Germany to take courses and returned to this country as the first American to receive a Ph.D. degree. Eventually, 10,000 of America’s wealthiest families would send their sons to obtain the Ph.D. in Prussian universities.
Implementation of the Prussian education system was to become the goal of Edward Everett, America’s first Ph.D. As Governor of Massachusetts, Everett had to deal with the problem of the influx of poor Irish Catholics into his state (as a result of the Irish Potato Famine). In 1852, with the support of Horace Mann, another strong advocate of the Prussian model, Everett made the decision to adopt the Prussian system of education in Massachusetts. Unfortunately for the children and poor Irish Catholics of Massachusetts and elsewhere, the system produced a willing, cheap labor force with minimal reading and numbers skills.
Shortly after Everett and Mann began to adopt the Prussian system, the Governor of New York set up the same method in 12 different New York schools on a trial basis.
Everett was considered the nation's greatest orator of his time. He was invited to give the main speech at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on September 23, 1863, following the Battle of Gettysburg. He told the organizing committee that he would be unable to prepare an appropriate speech in such a short period of time, and requested that the date be postponed. The committee agreed, and the dedication was postponed until November 19. Almost as an afterthought, David Wills, the president of the committee, asked President Abraham Lincoln to make a "few appropriate remarks."
Everett spoke for two hours, but Lincoln's two-minute follow-up speech, known as the Gettysburg Address, is one of the most famous speeches in the History of the United States. Everett wrote a note to Lincoln the next day, telling him of his appreciation for the President's brief, but moving, speech: "I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near the central idea of the occasion in two hours, as you did in two minutes."
He died in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1865, and was interred in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The city of Everett, Massachusetts, is named for him, as is Edward Everett Square, the southern end of Massachusetts Avenue at Columbia Road in Boston's Dorchester section. An elementary school bearing his name is located just down the street from the square.
Everett School in Sioux City, Iowa, is named in his honor.
An engraved portrait of Everett appears on U.S. currency on fifty dollar denomination silver certificates issued in 1890 and 1891. These rare notes, which are still legal tender, often sell for well over $3000 and are referred to as "Everetts" by collectors.
Vote totals for elections in which was nominated for the Hall of Fame for Great Americans (1900-1965): 1905-9, 1910-20, 1915-0, 1920-0, 1945-0.