CLINTON, DeWITT
DeWITT CLINTON (1769-1828), often referred to as the "Father of the Erie Canal; Statesman; U. S. Senator; Governor. Beginning his elective political career by winning a seat in the New York State Assembly (1797), Clinton continued to serve his state with vigor and distinction, in one capacity or another, until his death some 30 years later. He was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1802, serving until 1803, when he resigned to become mayor of New York City (1803-1807, 09-15). During this time he was also the Federalist candidate for President, very nearly defeating James Madison in the 1812 election. He served as New York Governor during the eventful years 1817-22, 25-28. It is generally agreed that, throughout his public life, Clinton was probably one of the most effective forces for public education in the history of the state. He is, however, best known for his long and vigorous support for construction of a state canal from the Great Lakes to the Hudson River, a project which culminated in the completion of the Erie Canal while he was Governor (1825).