Livingston, Robert R.

Livingston, Robert R.
born Nov. 27, 1746, New York, N.Y.
died Feb. 26, 1813, Clermont, N.Y.

U.S. lawyer and diplomat.

He served in the Continental Congress and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. As New York state's first chancellor (1777–1801), he administered the oath of office to Pres. George Washington (1789). From 1781 to 1783 he was U.S. secretary of foreign affairs. As minister to France from 1801 to 1804, he helped effect the Louisiana Purchase. In partnership with Robert Fulton, he later received a steamboat monopoly for New York waters; the first vessel to operate on the Hudson River (1807) was named the Clermont, after his ancestral home.

Robert R. Livingston, portrait by Charles Willson Peale, c. 1782; in Independence National ...

By courtesy of the Independence National Historical Park Collection, Philadelphia

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▪ United States statesman
born Nov. 27, 1746, New York, N.Y. [U.S.]
died Feb. 26, 1813, Clermont, N.Y.

      early American leader who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress, first secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (1781–83), and minister to France (1801–04).

      Born into a wealthy and influential New York family, Livingston was admitted to the bar in 1770. Devoted to the idea of independence from Britain, he worked on numerous committees of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia (1775–76, 1779–81, 1784–85), especially in the areas of finance and foreign and judicial affairs. He was a member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence, and, after helping to draft New York state's first constitution (1777), he served as the state's first chancellor, a judicial office (1777–1801).

      With the inauguration of the federal government under the Articles of Confederation (1781), Livingston was appointed secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, in which post he established vital administrative precedents and organized the conduct of foreign affairs on a businesslike basis. He insisted on greater independence for American delegates to the Paris Peace Conference (1782–83) but reprimanded them for negotiating without the full concurrence of France.

      On April 30, 1789, under the new Constitution, Chancellor Livingston administered the oath of office in New York City to the nation's first president, George Washington. During the 1790s he gradually associated himself with the anti-Federalists and in 1801 was appointed by President Thomas Jefferson to represent the United States in France. In that capacity he rendered his most distinguished service by helping effect the Louisiana Purchase (1803)—one of the country's greatest diplomatic coups.

      In retirement Livingston became enthusiastically involved with steam-navigation experiments, and in partnership with the inventor Robert Fulton, he received a steamboat monopoly in New York waters. Their first successful steam vessel, operating on the Hudson River in 1807, was named the Clermont after Livingston's ancestral home.

Additional Reading
George Dangerfield, Chancellor Robert R. Livingston of New York, 1746–1813 (1960), examines his life in the context of colonial New York landowners.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Livingston, Robert — ▪ American politician and merchant born Dec. 13, 1654, Ancrum, Roxburghshire, Scot. died Oct. 1, 1728, Clermont, N.Y. [U.S.]       early American landowner, politician, and merchant who founded the prominent Livingston family of New York state… …   Universalium

  • Livingston, Robert R. — (27 nov. 1746, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.–26 feb. 1813, Clermont, N.Y.). Abogado y diplomático estadounidense. Fue miembro del Congreso continental y colaboró en la redacción de la Declaración de Independencia. Fue el primer canciller del estado de …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Livingston,Robert R. — Liv·ing·ston (lĭvʹĭng stən), Robert R. 1746 1813. American Revolutionary leader and diplomat who served in the Continental Congress (1775 1781) and as minister to France (1801 1804). He helped draft the Declaration of Independence, administered… …   Universalium

  • Robert R. Livingston — (* 27. November 1746 in New York City; † 26. Februar 1813 in Clermont, New York) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker. Leben Er war der älteste S …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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