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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Fessenden, William Pitt

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FESSENDEN, William Pitt, American statesman: b. Boscawen, N. H., 16 Oct. 1806; d. Portland, Me., 8 Sept. 1869. He was graduated at Bowdoin College in 1823 and admitted to the bar in 1827. He entered politics and soon acquired a national reputation as a lawyer and a Whig. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1854, and a week after he took his seat made a speech against the Kansas-Nebraska Bill which placed him in the front rank of senatorial orators. During the Civil War he was conspicuous for his efforts to sustain the national credit. He was made Secretary of the Treasury in 1864, and having placed it on a firm basis, resigned in 1865 to return to his seat in the Senate.