Robert J. Walker

American politician (1801-1869)

Robert John Walker (July 19, 1801 – November 11, 1869) was an American lawyer, economist and politician. He was in the Democratic Party. He was a senator from Mississippi from 1835 until 1845. He was the Secretary of the Treasury from 1845 to 1849 under President James K. Polk. He was the Territorial Governor of Kansas in 1857.

Robert Walker
Governor of Kansas
In office
May 27, 1857 – December 15, 1857
Preceded byJohn W. Geary
Succeeded byJames W. Denver
18th United States Secretary of the Treasury
In office
March 8, 1845 – March 5, 1849
PresidentJames K. Polk
Zachary Taylor
Preceded byGeorge M. Bibb
Succeeded byWilliam M. Meredith
United States Senator
from Mississippi
In office
March 4, 1835 – March 5, 1845
Preceded byGeorge Poindexter
Succeeded byJoseph W. Chalmers
Personal details
Robert John Walker

(1801-07-19)July 19, 1801
Northumberland, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedNovember 11, 1869(1869-11-11) (aged 68)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Mary Bache
Children5, including Duncan
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania (BA)



Secretary of the Treasury (1845-1849)

Bureau of Engraving and Printing portrait of Walker as Secretary of the Treasury

President Polk asked Walker to become U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Walker was the Treasury Secretary during all of Polk's presidency (from March 8, 1845 until March 5, 1849).

As Treasury Secretary, Walker was responsible for financing the Mexican–American War. However, he did not do a very good job.[1]

In 1853, President Franklin Pierce asked Walker if he wanted to be the United States Minister to China, but Walker said no.[2]

Kansas Territorial Governor (1857)


He was chosen to be governor of Kansas Territory on May 27, 1857 by President James Buchanan. However, he quit in December 1857. He quit because of he didn't agree with the Lecompton Constitution.[3] In a resignation letter to Secretary of State Lewis Cass dated December 15, 1857, he said his reasons for quitting was because clear voting fraud and improper political pressure from Franklin Pierce's administration.

Death and legacy


Walker died in Washington D.C. on November 11, 1869. He is buried at Washington's Oak Hill cemetery. His son-in-law Benjamin H. Brewster became Attorney General under Chester A. Arthur. Many of his papers are held by the University of Pittsburgh. The University has put them online them.[4]


  1. Gorzalski, Matt. "Robert J. Walker Papers Finding Aid". Archive Service Center, University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  2. "Robert John Walker". Robinson Library. December 25, 2014. Archived from the original on September 20, 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  3. "Robert J. Walker". Kansas Historical Society. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  4.;cc=ascead;q1=robert%20j%20walker;rgn=main;view=text;didno=US-PPiU-dar193742. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

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