Walker, Robert John

Life Span
    Full name
    Robert John Walker
    Place of Birth
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Free State
    University of Pennsylvania
    Attorney or Judge
    Political Parties
    Polk Administration (1845-49)
    Buchanan Administration (1857-61)
    US Senate

    Robert J. Walker (Congressional Biographical Directory)

    WALKER, Robert John, a Senator from Mississippi; born in Northumberland, Pa., July 19, 1801; graduated from the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia in 1819; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1821 and commenced practice in Pittsburgh, Pa., the following year; moved to Natchez, Miss., in 1826 and continued the practice of law; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate; reelected, and served from March 4, 1835, to March 5, 1845, when he resigned; chairman, Committee on Public Lands (Twenty-fourth through Twenty-sixth Congresses); Secretary of the Treasury in the Cabinet of President James K. Polk 1845-1849; declined the mission to China tendered by President Franklin Pierce in 1853; resumed the practice of law; appointed Governor of Kansas Territory in April 1857, but resigned in December 1857; United States financial agent to Europe 1863-1864; again engaged in the practice of law at Washington, D.C., and died there November 11, 1869; interment in Oak Hill Cemetery.
    "Walker, Robert John," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=W000067.

    Robert J. Walker (Tindall, 1999)

    Just before Buchanan's inauguration the proslavery legislature called for an election of delegates to a constitutional convention. Since no provision was made for a referendum on the constitution, however, the governor vetoed the measure and the legislature overrode his veto. The Kansas governor resigned on the day Buchanan took office, and the new president replaced him with Robert J. Walker. A native Pennsylvanian who had made a political career in Mississippi and a former member of Polk's cabinet, Walker had greater prestige than his predecessors, and like contemporaries such as Houston of Texas, Foote of Mississippi, and Benton of Missouri, put the Union about slavery. In Kansas he scented a chance to advance the cause of both the Union and his party. Under popular sovereignty, fair elections would produce a state that would be both free and Democratic. Walker arrived in 1857, and with Buchanan's approval, pledged to the free-state elements that the new constitution would be submitted to a fair vote. But in spite of his pleas, he arrived too late to persuade free-state men to vote for convention delegates in elections they were sure had been rigged against them. Later, however, Walker did persuade the free-state leaders to vote in the election of a new territorial legislature.
    George Brown Tindall and David E. Shi, eds., America: A Narrative History, 5th ed., vol. 1 (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999), 705-706.

    Robert J. Walker (Smith, 1906)

    Probably the angriest person in the United States was Walker, who found all his plans thwarted.  He told Calhoun plainly that if the scheme were carried through he should oppose it with all his power.  Calhoun replied that Buchanan himself favored the idea, whereas Walker in a passion retorted:  "I consider such a submission of the question a vile fraud, a base counterfeit, and a wretched device to keep people from voting...I will not support it, but I will denounce it, no matter whether the administration sustains it or not."  When the convention adjourned, leaving the vote to be taken on December 21 through its agents, the exasperated governor returned to Washington, as each of his predecessors had done, to lay the matter before the president.
    Theodore Clarke Smith, “Parties and Slavery, 1850-1859,” The American Nation: A History, ed. Albert Bushnell Hart, vol. 18 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1906), 216-217.
    Date Title
    New York Times, “Governor Geary’s Last Interview with Mr. Buchanan,” March 28, 1857
    New York Times, “Dissatisfaction at Walker’s Appointment,” April 15, 1857
    New York Times, “From Kansas,” June 2, 1857
    New York Times, “Affairs in Kansas,” June 12, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Popular Sovereignty,” June 18, 1857
    New York Times, “The ‘Governors’ of Kansas,” June 22, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, "The Administration," June 25, 1857
    New York Times, “Kansas,” June 30, 1857
    New York Times, “Where is the South?,” July 11, 1857
    New York Times, "The New Troubles in Kansas," July 25, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Kansas News,” July 30, 1857
    New York Times, “The Cheyennes at Fort Riley,” September 2, 1857
    New York Times, “Slavery in Kansas,” June 22, 1857
    New York Times, “Mr. Marcy on the Sumner Assault,” September 2, 1857
    New York Times, “News From Kansas,” September 24, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Evils of Organism,” October 15, 1857
    New York Times, “Virginia Politics,” October 26, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Reports of the Kansas Press,” October 29, 1857
    New York Times, “Important Rumor,” October 31, 1857
    New York Times, “News from Kansas,” November 13, 1857
    New York Times, “The Republicans and Gov. Walker,” November 18, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, "Governor Walker," November 19, 1857
    New York Times, "The Missing Walker," December 14, 1857
    New York Times, “Governor Walker in Washington,” December 15, 1857
    New York Times, “Secretary Stanton’s Call for an Extra Session of the Kansas Legislature,” December 17, 1857
    New York Times, “Opening of the Presidential Campaign of 1860,” December 23, 1857
    New York Times, “Governor Walker and General Cass,” December 24, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Presidential Intervention Against Slavery,” December 31, 1857
    New York Herald, "The Slavery Question in Congress," January 5, 1858
    New York Herald, "The Approaching Conclusion of the Kansas Comedy," January 27, 1858
    New York Herald, "Political Agitation in this Metropolis," Febraury 26, 1858
    New York Times, "The Illinois Election," November 5, 1858
    New York Herald, “The Struggle Among the Virginia Democracy,” December 5, 1858
    New York Herald, “The Black Republicans and Mr. Douglas,” February 22, 1859
    Charleston (SC) Mercury, “Cuba at the North,” March 21, 1859
    New York Times, “Political Letters,” June 16, 1859
    New York Times, "The Brown Invasion Transplanted From Kansas," November 5, 1859
    New York Times, “A Bomb-Shell for Charleston,” April 19, 1860
    Cleveland (OH) Herald, “Mr. Buchanan’s Letter,” April 20, 1860
    Chicago Style Entry Link
    Harmon, George D. “President James Buchanan’s Betrayal of Governor Robert J. Walker of Kansas.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 53 (1929): 51-91. view record
    Harmon, George Dewey. President James Buchanan’s Betrayal of Governor Robert J. Walker of Kansas. Philadelphia: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1929. view record
    Ponce, Pearl T. "Pledges and Principles: Buchanan, Walker, and Kansas in 1857." Kansas History 27, no. 1-2 (2004): 86-99. view record
    How to Cite This Page: "Walker, Robert John," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/6792.