Dallas, Alexander James (dălˈəs) [key], 1759–1817, U.S. secretary of the treasury (1814–16), b. Jamaica, West Indies. He went (1783) to Philadelphia, practiced law, and was secretary of state (1791–1801) and U.S. district attorney (1801–14) in Pennsylvania. Appointed secretary of the treasury by President Madison, Dallas succeeded to the office near the close of the War of 1812, when treasury affairs were in an extremely critical conditon. He pushed Congress to levy taxes heavier than any previously borne in the United States and asked for the reestablishment of the Bank of the United States. Under Dallas's administration confidence in U.S. currency was restored. After securing Madison's veto on the first bank bill, which did not suit him, Dallas largely dictated the second bill, which John C. Calhoun forced through Congress; it became law in 1816.
See biographies by his son George Mifflin Dallas (1871) and R. Walters, Jr. (1943, repr. 1969).
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