Rives, William Cabell (rēvz) [key], 1793–1868, American politician and diplomat, b. Nelson co. (then part of Amherst co.), Va. A lawyer, he sat in the Virginia legislature (1817–21, 1822–23), was a U.S. Representative (1823–29), and served (1829–32, 1849–53) as minister to France. Rives was elected to three terms in the U.S. Senate (1832–34, 1836–39, 1841–45). Originally a Jacksonian Democrat, he opposed President Van Buren's Independent Treasury System and supported William H. Harrison for President in 1840; by 1844, when he backed Henry Clay, he was definitely a Whig. From 1849 to 1853 he was again minister to France. In 1861 he was a member of the peace convention at Washington sponsored by Virginia in an effort to avert the Civil War. He served in the provisional and then the regular congress of the Confederacy until 1862. His History of the Life and Times of James Madison (3 vol., 1859–68) covers Madison's life through 1797.
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