William Wirt

Wirt, William (wûrt) [key], 1772–1834, U.S. Attorney General and author, b. Bladensburg, Md. He had little formal schooling but was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1792. His first book was an anonymous collection of sketches called The Letters of a British Spy (1803), which purported to be the work of a "meek and harmless" noble visitor to America. The Rainbow (1804) and The Old Bachelor (1810) are similar collections, attempting the style of Joseph Addison. Wirt's Life and Character of Patrick Henry (1817) was his first book to appear under his own name; it presumed to give the text of Henry's speeches. His role as prosecutor in the trial (1807) of Aaron Burr brought him renown as a lawyer. As U.S. Attorney General (1817–29), Wirt initiated the practice of preserving his official opinions so that they could be used as precedents. In 1832 he accepted the nomination for President of the Anti-Masonic party.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on William Wirt from Fact Monster:

  • William Albert Wirt - Wirt, William Albert Wirt, William Albert, 1874–1938, American educator, b. Markle, Ind., ...
  • Anti-Masonic party - Anti-Masonic party Anti-Masonic party, American political organization that rose after the ...
  • John Marshall: Influence and Style - Influence and Style Marshall in his arguments drew much from his colleagues, especially his devoted ...
  • Patrick Henry - Biography of Patrick Henry, The American patriot who said, "Give me liberty or give me death!"
  • Party Conventions - History - History of Party Conventions Today's pep rallies, yesterday's battlegrounds by Beth Rowen ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies

Play Hangman

Play Poptropica

Play Quizzes

Play Tic Tac Toe