(5.) DEWITT CLINTON (1769-1828)
Defeated by James Madison/Elbridge Gerry, 1812
Clinton was the nominee of the anti-war Republicans (Democrats), joined by the Federalists, but Madison carried the South and West. As a member of the State Senate of New York, Clinton is credited with sponsoring relief legislation for debtor prisoners and was a promoter of steam industry. He disapproved of the Embargo Act and the War with Great Britain.
Clinton laid the foundation for the public school system and was prominent in New York politics from 1798 to his death. He was a United States senator but resigned to become mayor of New York. He is famous for the important part he played in promoting the Erie Canal, which began an era of canal building and boomed until the railroads began construction.
The first free school was established by the Public School Society in 1805 with Clinton as the president of the board of trustees. His activities were chiefly in his own state but were forerunners of other valuable movements over the country.