The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Edward Livingston. Jeffersonian Republican and Jacksonian
Democrat. By William B. Hatcher.
University, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press. 1940.
Pp. xiv, 518. $3.50.
Edward Livingston was the youngest of eleven children born
to Robert R. and Margaret Beekman Livingston. He inherited
from them a healthy body, a strong, analytical mind, and a
cheerful and forgiving disposition. In addition to these ex-
tremely valuable assets he had the influence of the wealth and
prestige of the family, and the political guidance of Robert R.,
his oldest brother. He graduated from Princeton (Nassau Hall),
studied law under John Lansing, and was admitted to the New
York bar in 1785, where he quickly won the respect of Ham-
ilton, Burr, and Kent. In the early years of New York politics
Robert R. aligned the family with Hamilton and Jay, but later
joined hands with Clinton. This was politically clever, for Fed-
eralism soon suffered an eclipse and Jeffersonian Republicanism
achieved ascendancy. The Livingston-Clinton alliance almost
insured political success for Edward, although his race for the
legislature in 1791-1792-1793 showed such scant results that any
one less determined would have been discouraged. Persistence
and good humor won friends, and, with support from the dis-
ciplined Republican machine, he was elected to Congress in
1794. After six years in Congress he became Mayor and Fed-
eral District Attorney of New York. The one episode in Liv-
ingston's life that compelled an immediate change and which
plagued him throughout his political life occurred in the Dis-
trict Attorney's office. Lax government auditing and careless
supervision resulted in irregularities. Gallatin forced his resig-
nation and secured an uncontested judgment for $100,000.
Livingston decided to attempt a new life in New Orleans, the
wisdom of which was soon shown in the marvelous recovery of
his economic and political fortunes. New Orleans was on the
verge of great growth in population and wealth. Presence of
the French and Spanish, with their attachment to traditions in
law and custom, gave Livingston a peculiar advantage, for he
was learned in both English and Roman law. He also foresaw
the great increase in land values, but it is to be regretted that
purchase of land along the river embankment involved him in
long and disagreeable litigation which political enemies quickly
capitalized. The soundness of his judgment, however, was dem-
onstrated, for, in spite of his legal battle to clear the titles, the

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/. Accessed October 20, 2014.