Giles, William B. (1762–1830)

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GILES, WILLIAM B. (1762–1830)

Virginia anti-federalist William Branch Giles served in six of the first seven Congresses and opposed the policies of alexander hamilton, especially the bank of the united states (1791). He opposed the alien and sedition acts, endorsed the virginia and kentucky resolutions, and advocated repeal of the judiciary act of 1801. As a Jeffersonian leader in the Senate (1804–1815) he voted to convict Justice samuel chase, arguing that "if the judges of the Supreme Court should … declare an act of Congress unconstitutional, … it was the undoubted right of the House of Representatives to impeach them, and of the Senate to remove them." After the acquittal of aaron burr (1807), Giles, at President thomas jefferson's behest, introduced a bill to expand the definition of treason. In his declining years Giles was an outspoken champion of states ' rights.

Dennis J. Mahoney