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Isaac Toucey
20th United States Attorney General

In office
June 21, 1848 – March 4, 1849
President James K. Polk
Preceded by Nathan Clifford
Succeeded by Reverdy Johnson
23rd United States Secretary of the Navy

In office
March 7, 1857 – March 4, 1861
Preceded by James C. Dobbin
Succeeded by Gideon Welles
Personal details
Born (1792-11-15)November 15, 1792
Newtown, Connecticut, U.S.
Died July 30, 1869(1869-07-30) (aged 76)
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Catherine Nichols Toucey
Profession Lawyer, Politician

Isaac Toucey (November 15, 1792 – July 30, 1869) was an American statesman who served as a U.S. Senator, Secretary of the Navy, Attorney General of the United States and the 33rd Governor of Connecticut.

President Buchanan and his Cabinet
From left to right: Jacob Thompson, Lewis Cass, John B. Floyd, James Buchanan, Howell Cobb, Isaac Toucey, Joseph Holt and Jeremiah S. Black, (c. 1859)


Born in Newtown, Connecticut, Toucey pursued classical studies; studied law and was admitted to the bar at Hartford, Connecticut, in 1818.[1] From 1825 to 1835 he had his own practice in Hartford, Connecticut. He married Catherine Nichols in Hartford on October 28, 1827. The couple never had any children.[2]


In 1822 Toucey was named prosecuting attorney of Hartford County, Connecticut. He served in that position until 1835, when he was elected to the 24th and 25th Congresses (at-large and then representing the 1st District).He served from 1835 to 1839. He lost the election of 1838 and returned to his position as prosecuting attorney in 1842. In 1845, Toucey ran for Governor and lost, but the Connecticut State Legislature appointed him to the position in 1846. During his tenure, an antibribery bill was considered which was geared toward eliminating fraudulent electoral procedures. He was defeated in an attempt at re-election.[3] In 1848, President of the United States James K. Polk appointed Toucey the 20th Attorney General of the United States, a position he held until 1849. He returned to Connecticut and took a place in the Connecticut Senate in 1850, and then in the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1852.

Toucey was elected to the U.S. Senate for the term commencing March 4, 1851, and served from May 12, 1852, to March 3, 1857, having that year declined to be a candidate for reelection.[4] During that time, he often served as the legislative point man for Franklin Pierce and his administration.

James Buchanan, who Toucey had served with in the Polk administration, appointed him U.S. Secretary of the Navy in his Cabinet in 1857 as a sop to the Pierce faction as well as to represent New England in the Cabinet. A moderate Northerner much in line with Buchanan's thought in the sectional controversies of the day, Toucey held that post until 1861 and the arrival of the Abraham Lincoln administration. Toucey was then replaced by one of his chief rivals in Connecticut, Gideon Welles. After 1861 he returned to his law practice.

Death and legacy

Toucey died in Hartford on July 30, 1869 (age 76 years, 267 days).[5] He is interred at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut.[6] USS Toucey (DD-282) was named for him.


  1. "Isaac Toucey". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  2. "Isaac Toucey". Connecticut State Library. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  3. "Isaac Toucey". National Governors Association. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  4. "Isaac Toucey". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  5. "Isaac Toucey". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  6. "Isaac Toucey". Find A Grave. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Roger Sherman Baldwin
Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Clark Bissell
Legal offices
Preceded by
Nathan Clifford
U.S. Attorney General
Served under: James K. Polk

Succeeded by
Reverdy Johnson
United States Senate
Preceded by
Roger S. Baldwin
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Connecticut
Served alongside: Truman Smith, Francis Gillette and Lafayette S. Foster
Succeeded by
James Dixon
Government offices
Preceded by
James C. Dobbin
United States Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by
Gideon Welles

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