John Quitman (American National Biography)

Robert E. May, "Quitman, John Anthony," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
[John] Quitman also played a significant role in state and national military affairs. He helped found, and then captained, a volunteer militia company (the Natchez Fencibles). He served as brigade inspector and major general in the Mississippi militia. During the Texas Revolution, he led Mississippi volunteers into Texas but arrived too late to see action. During the Mexican War, as a volunteer brigadier general in the American army, he won a congressional sword and a promotion to major general for his role at the battle of Monterrey (21-23 Sept. 1846). A year later, General Winfield Scott appointed him civil and military governor of Mexico City in recognition of his heroism at Chapultepec and the Garita de Belén (13-14 Sept. 1847) during the American conquest of the Mexican capital. Later, in Congress, Quitman chaired the Committee on Military Affairs.

A champion of slavery and John C. Calhoun's states' rights theories, Quitman played a central role in Mississippi's nullification movement in the 1830s. While governor in 1850-1851, he opposed the Compromise of 1850 and unsuccessfully urged Mississippians to secede from the Union. In 1852, he ran for vice president of the United States on the Southern Rights party ticket. From 1850 to 1855, he plotted to add one or more slave states to the Union by conquering the Spanish island of Cuba with a privately armed, filibustering expedition. In 1850-1851 and 1854, U.S. authorities prosecuted him for these illegal schemes. The first prosecution caused his resignation as governor of Mississippi. While in Congress, Quitman urged the reopening of the African slave trade and the admission of Kansas as a slave state.
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