Frelinghuysen, Frederick Theodore (frēˈlĭnghĪˌzən) [key], 1817–85, U.S. secretary of state (1881–85), b. Millstone, Somerset co., N.J. He studied law in the office of his uncle, Theodore Frelinghuysen, who had adopted him when he was three, and on admission to the bar in 1839 inherited his uncle's practice. Frelinghuysen, a Republican, was attorney general of New Jersey (1861–66) and U.S. senator (1866–69, 1871–77). In the Senate he supported the radical Republican Reconstruction program and later was associated with the Stalwarts led by Roscoe Conkling. On the death of James A. Garfield and the accession of Chester A. Arthur to the presidency, James G. Blaine resigned as secretary of state to be succeeded (Dec., 1881) by Frelinghuysen, who canceled Blaine's plans for a Pan-American Congress and urged reciprocity agreements with Latin American countries. Unable, like his predecessors, to persuade Great Britain to modify the terms of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, he negotiated (Dec., 1884) a treaty with Nicaragua allowing the United States the right to build a canal there under joint ownership of the two countries. However, Grover Cleveland, when he became president, withdrew the treaty from consideration by the Senate. Frelinghuysen generally carried on a patient, pacifistic policy throughout Arthur's term.
See S. F. Bemis, ed., The American Secretaries of State and Their Diplomacy, Vol. VIII (1928).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.