DeWitt Clinton

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DeWitt Clinton by Rembrandt Peale

DeWitt Clinton (1769–1828) was an early American politician and statesman. He graduated in law from Columbia University in 1790. From 1790 to 1795 he served as private secretary to his uncle, George Clinton. He served in the New York State Legislature (1797–1798) and the New York Senate (1798–1802). He served the U.S. Senate (1802–1803). He served 10 terms as Mayor of New York City (1803–1815). During his 10 terms as mayor, he promoted public education, city planning, public sanitation, and relief for the poor.

Clinton also held office as state senator (1806–1811) and lieutenant governor (1811–1813). From 1810 to 1824, he served as New York Canal Commissioner. In 1812, he lost the race for President of the United States to James Madison. He was Governor of New York State (1817–1823, 1825–1828). He supported a plan to build a canal through upstate New York to connect the east with the Midwest. He became such a strong supporter of the New York plan that his opponents called it "Clinton's Ditch". He is sometimes known as the Father of the Erie Canal.

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