American President A Reference Resource ↑ Martin Van Buren Front PageJohn Forsyth (1837–1841): Secretary of StateJohn Forsyth was born October 22, 1780, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and graduated from the College of New Jersey (Princeton) in 1799. He studied law and was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1802. Forsyth was appointed Georgia's attorney general in 1808 and served his state in the U.S. House of Representatives (1813-1818). He was then elected to the Senate (1818-1819) before serving the administration of President James Monroe as minister plenipotentiary to Spain (1819 -1823). Forsyth returned to the Senate (1823-1827) before becoming Governor of Georgia (1827-1829). He would go on to serve as secretary of state in the presidential administrations of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren (1834-1841), before dying, in Washington, D.C., on October 21, 1841.