Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

William H. Crawford (1815–1816): Secretary of War

William Crawford entered public service with the Georgia State House of Representatives, serving from 1803 to 1807. He moved on to the U.S. Senate in 1807 and remained in Washington until 1813, spending the end of his second term as the senate's president "pro tempore" following the death of Vice-president George Clinton (1812-1813).

After leaving Congress, Crawford left for Europe to serve as the U.S. minister to France (1813-1815). Upon his return to the United States in 1815, President James Madison offered Crawford a position as U.S. secretary of war. Crawford accepted, only to leave that post in 1816 to become secretary of the treasury, serving in the cabinets of Presidents Madison and James Monroe until 1825.

Crawford returned to Georgia in 1825, and in 1827 accepted an appointment as judge of Georgia's Northern Circuit Court. He served as a state judge until his death near Elberton, Georgia, in 1834. William Crawford was born in Amherst (Nelson) County, Virginia in 1772.