William L. Marcy
1786 - 1857
In the second decade of the nineteenth century, William L. Marcy joined Martin Van Buren, Benjamin F. Butler, Samuel J. Tilden, and other New York politicians in a group known as the "Holy Alliance" or the "Albany Regency." For nearly thirty years, this powerful Democratic machine influenced policy and politics in the state and throughout the country. In 1829, Governor Van Buren appointed Marcy to the New York State Supreme Court, a post he left in 1831 for the United States Senate. Marcy returned to New York as governor in 1833, serving three terms. After Van Buren became President in 1840, Marcy became a familiar figure in Washington, serving as secretary of war under James K. Polk and secretary of state under Franklin Pierce. Like Silas Wright, Lewis Cass and James Buchanan, Marcy was a well-known and powerful Democrat who aspired to be President. Although Cass secured his party's nomination, only Buchanan reached the White House. Brady photographed Marcy in New York around the time he returned to private life.

Mathew Brady Studio Imperial salted-paper print, circa 1856
38.5 x 30.5 cm (15 1/8 x 12 inches); 29 x 23 inches framed
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
on deposit from Harvard College Library; bequest of Evert Jansen Wendell