Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
John P. Kennedy
John Pendleton Kennedy, born in Baltimore October 25, 1795, graduated from Baltimore College in 1812 and fought in the Battles of Bladensburg and North Point in the War of 1812. Although admitted to the bar in 1816, he was much more interested in literature and politics than law. He published "Swallow Barn" in 1832 and "Horseshoe Robinson" in 1835 to win a permanent place of respect in the history of American fiction. He was an active Whig winning a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1820. In 1838 he succeeded Isaac McKim in the House of Representatives but was defeated in his bid for reelection in November of that year. He was re-elected to Congress in 1840 and 1842; but, because of his strong opposition to the annexation of Texas, he was defeated in 1844. His influence in Congress was largely responsible for the appropriation of $30,000 to test Samuel Morse's telegraph.
President Millard Fillmore appointed Kennedy Secretary of the Navy in July 1852. While he held the office, four important naval expeditions were organized including that which sent Commodore Matthew C. Perry to Japan.
Kennedy retired from public life in March 1853 when President Fillmore left office, but he retained an active interest in politics and forcefully supported the Union. At the end of the Civil War he advocated amnesty for the South. He died at Newport, R.I., 18 August 1870.
| Preceded by:|
William A. Graham
| Secretary of the Navy|
| Succeeded by:|
James C. Dobbin
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