m. 18 Jan 1790
Facts and Events
Rives' political career began when he served in the state constitutional convention in 1816. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1817–19 for Nelson County, and again in 1822 for Albemarle County. In 1823 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives and served from 1823 to 1829. From 1829 to 1832 he was appointed by Andrew Jackson as minister to France. His name was brought forward as a candidate for the Democratic vice presidential nomination in 1835, but the nomination by the 1835 Democratic National Convention ultimately went to Richard M. Johnson.
When Rives returned from France, he was elected to complete a term in the United States Senate. In all he would serve parts of three terms there, the last as a member of the Whig Party. From 1849 to 1853, he was again minister to France. In 1860 he endorsed the call for a Constitutional Union Party Convention, where he received most of Virginia's first ballot votes for President.
In February 1861 he was a delegate to the Peace Conference in Washington; he opposed secession, but was loyal to his state when it seceded. He represented the state in the Provisional Confederate Congress from 1861 to 1862 and served in the Second Confederate Congress from 1864 to 1865 during the Civil War.
He was the author of several books, the most important being his Life and Times of James Madison (3 vols., Boston, 1859–68). He served on the Board of Visitors for the University of Virginia from 1834 to 1849, and was for many years the president of the Virginia Historical Society.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article William Cabell Rives.