Skip to main content

Fisher Ames

Artist
Gilbert Stuart, 3 Dec 1755 - 9 Jul 1828
Sitter
Fisher Ames, 9 Apr 1758 - 4 Jul 1808
Date
c. 1807
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on wood
Dimensions
Stretcher: 77.5 x 64.1 x 3.8cm (30 1/2 x 25 1/4 x 1 1/2")
Frame: 89.2 x 75.6 x 8.9cm (35 1/8 x 29 3/4 x 3 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of George Cabot Lodge
Object number
NPG.79.215
Exhibition Label
In the election held to pick the Boston area's representative to the first federal House of Representatives, Fisher Ames, a young country lawyer who advocated an effective national government, trounced the old Revolutionary Samuel Adams-a critic of the new Constitution-by a vote of 818 to 521. A cogent writer and a dazzling orator, Ames became a star in the emerging Federalist Party-supporting Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton's financial system, refuting James Madison's arguments against the establishment of a national bank, battling attempts to restrict commerce with England, and standing firm against Jeffersonian Republicans' partiality for revolutionary France. Chronic ill health forced Ames's retirement from Congress in 1797, but through his numerous essays he continued to champion the fundamental right of private property and to warn against the "dangers to American liberty" posed by unfiltered democracy.
Provenance
Henry Cabot Lodge; his son George C. Lodge; gift to NPG 1979
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection