BERRIEN, John Macpherson (1781-1856)
Senate Years of Service: 1825-1829; 1841-1845; 1845-1852

BERRIEN, JOHN MACPHERSON, A Senator from Georgia; born at Rocky Hill, near Princeton, N.J., August 23, 1781; moved with his parents to Savannah, Ga., in 1782; graduated from Princeton College in 1796; studied law in Savannah; admitted to the bar and began practice in Louisville, then the capital of Georgia, in 1799; returned to Savannah; elected solicitor of the eastern judicial circuit of Georgia in 1809; judge of the same circuit from 1810 until January 30, 1821, when he resigned; captain of the Georgia Hussars, a Savannah volunteer company, in the War of 1812; member, State senate 1822-1823; elected as a Jacksonian to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1825, until March 9, 1829; resigned to accept the position of Attorney General in the Cabinet of President Andrew Jackson and served from March 9, 1829, until June 22, 1831, when he resigned; resumed the practice of law; again elected, as a Whig, to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1841, until May 1845, when he again resigned to accept an appointment to the supreme court of Georgia; again elected in 1845 to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by his second resignation, and served from November 14, 1845, until March 3, 1847, when his term expired; again elected in 1847 to the same United States Senate seat and served from November 13, 1847 to May 28, 1852, when he resigned for the third time; chairman, Committee on Judiciary (Twentieth, Twenty-sixth, and Twenty-seventh Congresses); president of the American Party convention at Milledgeville in 1855; died in Savannah, Ga., January 1, 1856; interment in Laurel Grove Cemetery.

Emory University
Robert W. Woodruff Library
Atlanta, GA
Papers: Correspondence in the Tomlinson Fort family papers, 1808-1882.

Georgia Historical Society
Savannah, GA
Papers: 1779-1942. 1,487 items. Personal, political, and legal correspondence; briefs, opinions, interrogatories, and other legal documents; notes and bills; scrapbooks of family data, recipes, and home remedies; and portrait. In part photocopies of originals at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Finding aid.
Papers: In Colonial Dames of America, Georgia Society Historical collections, 1730-1979; Kollock family papers, 1793-1946; and Cohen family papers, 1795-1949. Finding aid.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: 1826-1934. 17 items.

Pierpont Morgan Library
New York, NY
Papers: 1818-1840. 3 items.

University of Georgia
Hargrett Library for Rare Books and Manuscripts
Athens, GA
Papers: 1784-1934. Ca. 150 items. Includes 6 letters (1825-1849) to Littleton W. Tazewell discussing congressional matters and photocopies of Berrien letters in other repositories chiefly dealing with politics and legal matters.
Papers: In Joseph Henry Lumpkin papers, 1748-1919.

University of North Carolina
Southern Historical Collection
Chapel Hill, NC
Papers: 1778-1938. Ca. 550 items. Legal papers relating to the Florida-Georgia boundary controversy (1851-1855); financial papers of a rice plantation and farm near Savannah and Clarksville, GA, respectively; and correspondence (1830-1852) with men prominent in the Jackson administration. Available on microfilm. Finding aid.

University of Rochester
Rush Rhees Library
Rochester, NY
Papers: 3 letters (1843-1844) in various collections. Finding aid.

Virginia Historical Society
Richmond, VA
Papers: Miscellaneous items in various collections. Finding aid.

Virginia State Library and Archives
Richmond, VA
Papers: Correspondence in the Tazewell family papers, 1790-1848.

  • Govan, Thomas P. "John M. Berrien and the Administration of Andrew Jackson.'' Journal of Southern History 5 (November 1939): 447-67.
  • Leach, Richard H. "John MacPherson Berrien: A Re-Evaluation.'' Georgia Review 10 (Winter 1956): 468-76.
  • MacDonell, Alexander R. "John Macpherson Berrien.'' Georgia Historical Quarterly 17 (March 1933): 1-12.
  • McCrary, Royce. "John Macpherson Berrien of Georgia (1781-1856): A Political Biography.'' Ph.D. dissertation, University of Georgia, 1971.
  • ___. "John Macpherson Berrien and the Know-Nothing Movement in Georgia.'' Georgia Historical Quarterly 61 (Spring 1977): 35-42.
  • McCrary, Royce, ed. "The Authorship of the Georgia Platform of 1850: A Letter by Charles J. Jenkins.'' Georgia Historical Quarterly 54 (Winter 1970): 585-90.
  • ___, ed. "A Federalist View of Georgia Politics in 1808: A Letter by John Macpherson Berrien.'' Georgia Historical Quarterly 58 (Winter 1974): 447-49.
  • ___, ed. "Henry W. Hilliard and the Southern Caucus of 1848-49: A Letter to John Macpherson Berrien.'' Alabama Historical Quarterly 37 (Summer 1975): 151-53.
  • Mellichamp, Josephine. "John M. Berrien.'' In Senators from Georgia, pp. 99-103. Huntsville, AL: Strode Publishers, 1976.
  • Miller, Dorothy Burke. "John MacPherson Berrien and the Whig Party.'' Master's thesis, Emory University, 1950.
  • Neustadt, Margaret Lee, ed. John MacPherson Berrien Papers in the Southern Historical Collection of the University of North Carolina Library. Chapel Hill: Southern Historical Collections Library, University of North Carolina, 1967. Microfilm. 3 reels and guide.
  • Rogers, William Warren, ed. "Georgia Elects a Senator: Political Conflict in 1840.'' Georgia Historical Quarterly 47 (September 1963): 332-36.
  • Smith, C. Jay, Jr. "John McPherson Berrien.'' In Georgians in Profile: Historical Essays in Honor of Ellis Merton Coulter, edited by Horace Montgomery, pp. 168-91. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1958.
  • Walton, Brian G. "Georgia's Biennial Legislatures, 1840-1860, and Their Elections to the U. S. Senate.'' Georgia Historical Quarterly 61 (Summer 1977): 140-55.