Macon, Nathaniel

Macon, Nathaniel mā´kən [key], 1758–1837, American political leader, b. near the present Warrenton, N.C. He served in the American Revolution and later became a political figure in North Carolina and an ardent champion of states' rights. He opposed the U.S. Constitution because he thought it gave too much power to the federal government. In the early years of the republic he was a national figure, serving as U.S. Representative (1791–1815; speaker of the House, 1801–7) and U.S. Senator (1815–28; president pro tempore of the Senate, 1826–28). He was a stout Jeffersonian, although briefly in Jefferson's second administration he sided with a small faction called the Quids, who favored James Monroe rather than James Madison as the presidential candidate to succeed Jefferson. From the time that he opposed the Alien and Sedition Acts to the end of his career he stood for Jeffersonian ideas of personal liberty and states' rights. He opposed protective tariffs, the reestablishment of the Bank of the United States, most of the plans for internal improvement, and (ironically enough) Macon's Bill No. 2, which bears his name (see Embargo Act of 1807). Some of his correspondence was edited by Kemp P. Battle (1902).

See biography by W. E. Dodd (1908, repr. 1970).

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