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Wayne MacVeagh

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Title: Wayne MacVeagh  
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Subject: Charles Devens, Chester A. Arthur, United States Ambassador to Turkey, James A. Garfield, Thomas Lemuel James
Collection: 1833 Births, 1917 Deaths, 19Th-Century American Diplomats, Ambassadors of the United States to Italy, Ambassadors of the United States to the Ottoman Empire, American People of Scottish Descent, Arthur Administration Cabinet Members, District Attorneys, Garfield Administration Cabinet Members, Pennsylvania Democrats, Pennsylvania Lawyers, Pennsylvania Republicans, People from Chester County, Pennsylvania, People from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, People of Pennsylvania in the American Civil War, Union Army Officers, United States Attorneys General, Yale University Alumni
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Wayne MacVeagh

Isaac Wayne MacVeagh
36th United States Attorney General
In office
March 5, 1881 – December 15, 1881
President James A. Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
Preceded by Charles Devens
Succeeded by Benjamin H. Brewster
United States Ambassador to Italy
In office
March 11, 1894 – March 4, 1897
President Grover Cleveland
Preceded by William Potter
Succeeded by William F. Draper
United States Ambassador to Turkey
In office
October 25, 1870 – June 10, 1871
President Ulysses S. Grant
Preceded by Edward J. Morris
Succeeded by George H. Boker
Personal details
Born (1833-04-19)April 19, 1833
Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died January 11, 1917(1917-01-11) (aged 83)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting place Church of the Redeemer Cemetery, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican, Democratic
Spouse(s) Letitia Lewis MacVeagh (1st wife)
Virginia Cameron MacVeagh (2nd wife)
Relations Franklin MacVeagh
Children Charles MacVeagh
(U.S. Ambassador to Japan)
Parents Major John MacVeagh
Margaret Lincoln MacVeagh
Alma mater Yale University
Profession Lawyer, Politician
Religion Methodist
Military service
Service/branch Militia
Union Army
Years of service 1862-1863
Battles/wars American Civil War

Isaac Wayne MacVeagh (April 19, 1833 – January 11, 1917) was an American lawyer, politician and diplomat. He served as the 36th Attorney General of the United States under the administrations of Presidents James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur.[1]


  • Biography 1
  • Personal life 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


MacVeagh was born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, on April 19, 1833, the son of Major John MacVeagh and Margaret (née Lincoln) MacVeagh. His brother, Franklin MacVeagh, was a banker and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under President William Howard Taft.

He attended Confederate invaders from 1862 to 1863, and served in the Union Army during the American Civil War as an infantry captain and as a major in the cavalry.[1]

He became a leader in the Republican Party and was the prominent opponent of his father-in-law, Simon Cameron, in the fight within the party in 1871.[1] MacVeagh was the Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in 1870 through 1871, and was a member of the state constitutional convention of 1872 and 1873.

In 1875, MacVeagh co-founded the Philadelphia-based law firm known today as Dechert LLP.[2] He also served as Chairman of the MacVeagh Commission, sent in 1877 by President Rutherford B. Hayes to Louisiana, which secured the settlement of the contest between two existing state governments and thus made possible the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the state.

MacVeagh served as the 36th Attorney General in 1881 under President James A. Garfield. He resigned after President Garfield's assassination. Chester Arthur was to be 21st President and MacVeagh served as a cabinet member.

In 1892, he supported Grover Cleveland, the Democratic nominee for the presidency, and from 1893 to 1897 he served as Ambassador to Italy. He returned to the Republican Party in 1896. In 1903, he was an chief counsel of the United States before the Hague tribunal in the case regarding the claims of Germany, Britain and Italy against the republic of Venezuela.

Personal life

MacVeagh married Letitia Miner Lewis, in 1856. They had one son, Charles MacVeagh (June 6, 1860 – December 4, 1931), who became the Ambassador to Japan.

In 1866, after his first wife's death, he married the former Virginia Rolette Cameron, a daughter of U.S. Secretary of War Simon Cameron.

MacVeagh died in Washington, D.C., on January 11, 1917. He was buried at the Church of the Redeemer Cemetery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d US Dept. of Justice: MacVeagh
  2. ^ Dechert company profile by Gale Group, courtesy of

External links

  • The MacVeagh Family Papers, including papers, notes, newspaper clippings and correspondence spanning much of Wayne MacVeagh's life, are available for research use at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Edward J. Morris
United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire
October 25, 1870 – June 10, 1871
Succeeded by
George H. Boker
Preceded by
William Potter
United States Ambassador to Italy
March 11, 1894 – March 4, 1897
Succeeded by
William F. Draper
Legal offices
Preceded by
Charles Devens
U.S. Attorney General
Served under: James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur

March 5, 1881 – December 15, 1881
Succeeded by
Benjamin H. Brewster
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