- Bell, John
born Feb. 15, 1797, near Nashville, Tenn., U.S.died Sept. 10, 1869, Dover, Tenn.U.S. politician.He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives (1827–41) and Senate (1847–59). Although a large slaveholder, he opposed efforts to expand slavery to U.S. territories and voted against admitting Kansas as a slave state. His defense of the Union brought him the 1860 nomination for president on the Constitutional Union ticket, but he carried only three states. He later supported the South in the American Civil War.
* * *▪ American politicianborn Feb. 15, 1797, near Nashville, Tenn., U.S.died Sept. 10, 1869, Dover, Tenn.American politician and nominee for president on the eve of the American Civil War.Bell entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1827 and served there as a Democrat until 1841. He broke with Pres. Andrew Jackson in 1834 and supported Hugh Lawson White for president in 1836. After White's defeat Bell became a Whig and, in March 1841, as a reward for party services, was made secretary of war in Pres. William Henry Harrison's Cabinet. A few months later, after the death of President Harrison, he resigned in opposition to Pres. John Tyler's break with the Whigs.After six years' retirement from political life, Bell was elected as a U.S. senator for Tennessee in 1847, serving in the Senate until 1859. Although a large slaveholder, Bell opposed efforts to expand slavery to the U.S. territories. He vigorously opposed Pres. James Knox Polk's Mexican War policy and voted against the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas–Nebraska bill (1854), and the attempt to admit Kansas as a slave state. Bell's temperate support of slavery combined with his vigorous defense of the Union brought him the presidential nomination on the Constitutional Union (Constitutional Union Party) ticket in 1860, but he carried only Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He initially opposed secession; however, following Pres. Abraham Lincoln's call for troops, he openly advocated resistance and henceforth classed himself a rebel. Bell spent the war years in retirement in Georgia, returning to Tennessee in 1865.▪ British physicianborn , 1691, Antermony, Stirlingshire, Scot.died July 1, 1780, AntermonyScottish physician and traveler whose vivid account of his journeys did much to awaken Westerners to the way of life of the peoples of Russia and the East, particularly China.In 1714 Bell set out for St. Petersburg, where he joined a Russian diplomatic mission departing for Persia. Returning to St. Petersburg in 1718, he spent the next four years on a diplomatic mission to China and passed through Siberia and Mongolia. In 1722 he accompanied Peter the Great on an expedition to the city of Derbent, on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. Sent on a mission to Istanbul in 1737, he remained there as a merchant before returning to Scotland in 1747. William Robertson (Robertson, William), the most distinguished Scottish man of letters of the time, advised him to use Jonathan Swift (Swift, Jonathan)'s Gulliver's Travels as a model for his Travels from St. Petersburg in Russia to Various Parts of Asia (1763). The book went through a number of editions and was translated into French.▪ British publisherborn 1745died 1831, Fulham, LondonEnglish publisher who was one of the first to organize a book-publishing company on a joint-stock basis. Beginning in 1777 he issued the 109 volumes of The Poets of Great Britain complete from Chaucer to Churchill series. He influenced later publishing practice by introducing into his books illustrations prepared by competent artists and related to the text. In addition he founded a weekly newspaper, a monthly illustrated magazine, and various other periodicals.
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