Upshur, Abel Parker (ŭpˈshər) [key], 1790–1844, American cabinet officer, b. Northampton co., Va. Admitted (1810) to the bar, he practiced law in Richmond, Va., and held state offices. When most of the Whig cabinet resigned in disagreement with President Tyler, Upshur was appointed (1841) secretary of the navy. Upon Daniel Webster's resignation, he became secretary of state (1843–44). An ardent advocate of slavery, Upshur reopened negotiations with Texas for its admission to the Union as a slave state and thus played an important role in the movement for the annexation of Texas. He was killed by the explosion of a cannon on the U.S.S. Princeton.
See biography by C. H. Hall (1964).
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