John Young
15th Governor
As governor, John Young (1802–1852) supported the expansion of the Erie Canal, established an independent court of appeals, opposed the Mexican War, and pardoned tenant farmers who were imprisoned for participating in the anti-rent movement. A supporter of President Zachary Taylor, Young was appointed by Taylor as Assistant United States Treasurer, where he served from 1849 until his death in 1852. His public service also included terms in the New York State Assembly and the United States House of Representatives.
Portrait: Artist unknown

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Young, John (b Chelsea, Vt, 12 June 1802; d New York City, 23 Apr 1852). Governor.

Young’s family moved to Conesus [now in Livingston Co] when he was 4. He was admitted to the bar in 1827. Young shifted from the Jacksonians to the Antimasons, under whose banner he was elected to the state assembly in 1832, to the Whigs, with whom he was elected to Congress in 1836 and 1840. After Pres William Henry Harrison’s death, Young led the Whig opposition to John Tyler in Congress and returned in 1844–45 to the state assembly, where he competed with William H. Seward for party leadership. In 1846 Young defeated Silas Wright for governor in a close election, winning by 5,000 votes. He horrified many conservatives by pardoning antirent rioters on the grounds that their crimes had been political. As governor, Young, like many Whigs, hedged on issues such as the Mexican War and the Wilmot Proviso. By supporting Zachary Taylor for president in 1848 and later the Compromise of 1850, he received the lucrative patronage appointment as assistant US treasurer in New York City. Young continued to lead conservative New York State Whigs who disliked Seward but died of tuberculosis before the collapse of the Whig Party.

Holt, Michael. The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War (New York:Oxford Univ Press, 1999)

Hutson, Reeve. Land and Freedom: Rural Society, Popular Protest, and Party Politics in Antebellum New York (New York:Oxford Univ Press, 2000)

Jon Sterngass

Peter Eisenstadt, ed., The Encyclopedia of New York State
(Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2005), [p. 1742-43].
© Syracuse University Press. Reproduced with permission from the publisher.

Timeline of NY Governors

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