John Crafts Wright

Updated: January 12, 2011

Born on August 17, 1783, Wright spent most of his youth in Wethersfield, Connecticut, his birth community. He earned a living as a printer and eventually became the editor of the Troy Gazette in Troy, New York.

Born on August 17, 1783, Wright spent most of his youth in Wethersfield, Connecticut, his birth community. He earned a living as a printer and eventually became the editor of the Troy Gazette in Troy, New York. Wright grew tired of the newspaper business and began to study law in Litchfield, Connecticut. In 1809, Wright relocated to Ohio, settling in Steubenville, where he passed the Ohio bar exam and began to practice law.

Wright quickly became well respected for his legal abilities and during the 1810s and 1820s embarked upon a career politics. Initially a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, Wright switched his political allegiance to the Whig Party during the 1830s. In 1820, Wright won election to the United States House of Representatives, but he resigned his seat to remain as a United States attorney before even taking office. In 1822, Wright again ran for the United States House of Representatives, and once again, voters elected him to this position. Wright served three straight terms, from 1823 to 1829, in the House, losing his reelection effort in 1828.

With the end of his career in the House of Representatives, Wright returned to Ohio, resuming his legal practice. In 1831, he became a justice with the Ohio Supreme Court, remaining in this position until 1835. In 1835, Wright moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where three years earlier, he had helped establish the Cincinnati Law School. Once in Cincinnati, Wright resumed his career as a newspaper editor, leading the Cincinnati Gazette from 1835 to 1848.

Upon leaving the position at the Gazette, Wright, now sixty-five years of age, entered into retirement. He still provided legal services to a few select clients but essentially retired from public life. In 1861, as civil war seemed ready to grip the United States of America, Wright attended the Washington Peace Conference, and his fellow delegates appointed him the meeting’s honorary president, with former United States President John Tyler serving as the meetings official leader. The Peace Congress consisted of men from across the North and the South who hoped to find a peaceful resolution to the tensions currently gripping the nation. When the convention began on February 4, 1861, seven Southern states (South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia) had already seceded from the United States. The convention consisted of 131 men, including numerous former members of the House of Representatives, cabinet officials, and ex-governors. The convention delegates agreed to extend the Missouri Compromise line across the United States, with slavery being prohibited in any new states north of the line and permitted in new states south of the line. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was to remain in effect, and members agreed upon several additional proposals. Despite the delegates’ efforts, Northerners and Southerners rejected the conventioneers’ proposals, making this last effort to settle peacefully the differences between the regions unsuccessful.

Wright died on February 13, 1861, just as the nation was turning to war.

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"John Crafts Wright," Ohio Civil War Central, 2021, Ohio Civil War Central. 19 Sep 2021 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=137>

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"John Crafts Wright." (2021) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved September 19, 2021, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=137

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