Abbott Lawrence (1792-1855), American manufacturer and diplomat, helped develop the New England textile industry and later represented those interests in the U.S. Congress.
Abbott Lawrence was born on Dec. 16, 1792, in Groton, Mass., into an old-line New England family that had settled in Massachusetts in 1635. He was apprenticed in 1808 to his brother, Amos, a Boston merchant who specialized in imports from Britain and China. After Abbott completed his apprenticeship, the firm of Amos and Abbott Lawrence was formed. The partnership supplemented its import trade with commission dealings in New England textile products. Ill health forced the premature retirement of Amos about 1830. About the same time, Abbott became convinced of the potential importance of textile manufacturing and plunged into the development of New England's industry. His involvement in the textile industry was accompanied by a change in his outlook on economic questions, including the Tariff of 1824, and he became an advocate of the "American system." His vision of the future of New England manufacturing also led him to encourage and promote railroads at a time when most Americans looked upon them as an exotic novelty. He was convinced that the American economic future was one of diversification, in which each segment of the economy would contribute, and he advocated the use of Federal policies to facilitate such development.
Lawrence consistently supported the Whig party and served several terms as a U.S. representative from Massachusetts during the 1830s. In 1848 he was a prominent but unsuccessful candidate for the vice-presidential nomination on the Whig ticket headed by Zachary Taylor. With Taylor's victory, however, Lawrence was offered his choice of several positions in the new administration. He chose the post of minister to Great Britain after rejecting a Cabinet appointment. He filled that position with great distinction and was involved in the preliminary negotiations of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty and other significant diplomatic ventures. He resigned in 1852 and returned to the United States in time to join the presidential campaign of Gen. Winfield Scott. However, he was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the Whig stand on the slavery issue.
Lawrence was active in the Unitarian Church in Boston and interested in such social measures as education for the lower classes. He was also a generous benefactor to a number of causes. He supported Groton Academy, lowcost housing for wage earners in Boston, and the Boston public library. He also provided funds to establish the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard College. He died in Boston on Aug. 18, 1855.
Short accounts of Lawrence are in Freeman Hunt, Lives of American Merchants (2 vols., 1858), and Hamilton Andrews Hill, Memoir of Abbott Lawrence (2d ed., 1884). See also F. W. Ballard, The Stewardship of Wealth as Illustrated in the Lives of Amos and Abbott Lawrence (1865), and Peter d'A. Jones, America's Wealth (1963). □
"Abbott Lawrence." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/abbott-lawrence
"Abbott Lawrence." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved June 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/abbott-lawrence
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.
Abbott Lawrence, 1792–1855, American manufacturer and statesman, b. Groton, Mass. Apprenticed (1808) to his brother Amos, a Boston merchant, Abbott became (1814) a partner with Amos in the firm known as A. & A. Lawrence, importers of English manufactures. As agent for the cotton mills at Lowell, he became interested in manufacturing and took the lead in founding (1845) the textile city of Lawrence, Mass. (named for the family), and setting up the mills. He was a reluctant convert to the protective tariff, along with other New England merchants turned manufacturers. His public career included two terms in the U.S. Congress (1835–37, 1839–40), service on the Northeast Boundary Commission (1842), and minister to Great Britain (1849–52). Lawrence supported the work of Louis Agassiz and other scientists, giving $100,000 to Harvard to establish the Lawrence Scientific School.
See biography by H. A. Hill (1884).
"Lawrence, Abbott." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lawrence-abbott
"Lawrence, Abbott." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lawrence-abbott