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Richard Henry Lee  sixth President of the United States of America (In Congress Assembled) was a decided return to form.  A consummate politician from a wealthy Virginian family which was to be represented in the families of future Presidents he was born in Stratford, Westmoreland County in 1732.  Educated back in England Lee returned to be an enthusiastic proponent of independence.  He was one of the first to create the Committees of Correspondence designed to ginger up independent minded Americans in the various colonies.  His career is that of the first lobbyist perhaps.  He too as so many American politicians turn out to be -was a military man a Colonel of Virginia’s militia.  This family is oligarchic in nature and continue to have influence on the political and public life of the nation right up to date.

Colonel Richard Henry Lee was a signer of the Declaration of Independence which places him at the centre of the revolution.  His brother Francis Lightfoot Lee was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  This was clearly already a family of immense influence even before America became the United States.

Now there are simply too many family members who have taken centre stage in US life to place easily in a tree for this blog.  So I will simply deal with the direct descendents only  and selectively at that.  If you are descendent of this family and happen across this blog please do not be disheartened if you do not appear.  Later posts will explore the deeper connections.

Colonel Richard Henry Lee was a second cousin of Zachary Taylor a later President of the United States of America in the main post Washington run. 

His grandson Samuel Philips Lee was a Rear Admiral in the US navy who married Elizabeth Blair whose brother Monty Blair was a Mayor of St Louis.

Samuel Philip Blair’s son was Colonel Edward Brook Lee 1892-1984 the Speaker of the House of Delegates in Maryland and Sammy’s grandson was Francis Preston Blair Lee (1857 -1944) who was a United States Senator from Maryland.  This is a family who maintain their level of influence through time.  A family that will not be pushed off the stage.

Blair Lee I

And Francis Preston Blair’s son – Blair Lee III (1916 – 1979) played a considerable role in twentieth century politics being a delegate to Democratic National Conventions in 1948, 1960, 1964, 1968 and 1972.  He was by turns a member of the Maryland State House of Delates 1955-62, a Maryland State Senator 1967-69, Secretary of State in Maryland 1969-71 before he was Governor of Maryland from 1977-1979.  Blair Lee III campaigned for John F Kennedy’s presidential bid  A not insubstantial figure then.

Blair Lee III

He had a brother Edward Brook Lee junior who also sought to use the family connections for a political career.

His family is one that does continue as part of the political oligarchy, and we will follow its success in future posts.  True, It never again rises to President but with its Admirals, Representatives, Senators, and Governors forms part of that dark matter that holds the cosmos of the oligarchy together, as the Lees are married into or related to the Washingtons, the Randolphs, the Jeffersons, and the Harrisons.  This is one of the families that form the spine of the American political system right through to today.

And in case you were wondering yes they are connected with Robert E Lee!

So, oligarchical to his toenails then.  Will this continue to be true for the rest of these “Forgotten Presidents?


[i] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Henry_Lee

Copyright David Macadam 2010

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