Levi P. Morton

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Levi Parsons is a character in the film Levi Parsons Morton was a New York businessman who later became Vice President of the United States under Benjamin Harrison, serving from 1889 to 1893. He is a true rag to riches story, having risen from humble beginnings to fame and prosperity. Morton began his career as a clerk in a country store, which is an interesting fact. He quickly became the owner of a store in New York, thanks to his hard work, ambition, and intelligence. His commercial aptitude and skills enabled him to form Levi P. Morton & Company, a banking organization that assisted in the underwriting of loans throughout the tumultuous Civil War period. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1879 until 1881, when he was appointed as the United States Minister to France by President James Garfield. When he returned to the United States, his popularity and success in France aided his political career, as he gained a ticket to the Vice President’s position under Harrison. He only served as Vice President of the United States for one term. He was elected governor of New York after leaving the White House. He died on his 96th birthday, making him the only Vice President of the United States to die on his birthday.

Childhood and Adolescence

Levi Parsons Morton was born in Shoreham, Vermont, on May 16, 1824, to Reverend Daniel Oliver Morton and Lucretia Parsons. His father was a minister of the Congregational Church. David Oliver Morton was Levi’s older brother.

Levi had to drop out of school early because he was born into a poor family. Despite his desire to continue his education, the family’s financial restraints prevented him from doing so.

Levi Morton’s career began while he was relatively young. His first work was in a country store as a cashier. He left his physical labor job to become a teacher at a school in Boscawen, New Hampshire, after grinding it out in the general store.

Morton went from being a teacher to a secretarial position with Estabrook. This time, though, he dedicated himself to mastering the intricacies of bookkeeping and honed his math skills. He opened his own Estabrook store in Hanover, New Hampshire, after receiving adequate training.

Morton’s commercial savvy and talents landed him a job at Boston’s largest importing firm at the time, Beebe & Co. However, he quickly rose through the ranks and established his own dry goods company in New York.
Morton sustained significant losses during the Civil War of 1861. As a result, he disbanded his firm and instead launched a Wall Street banking firm in 1863. His financial career flourished, and by 1873, he had established himself as one of the country’s most illustrious bankers.

Morton knew political bigwigs like President Ulysses S. Grant and New York Senator Roscoe Conkling during his banking career. He became the Republican National Committee’s financial chairman in 1876.

Morton ran for a seat in the Eleventh District of New York in the 1876 election. He did, however, lose by a razor-thin margin. Not giving up hope, he ran for the seat again in 1878, and this time won. President Rutherford B. Hayes named him an honorary commissioner to the Paris Exhibition the same year.

Morton was elected as a Republican in the 46th and 47th Congresses. He held the job from 1879 until 1881, when he resigned. During this time, he became friends with Ohio’s James Garfield.

In the 1880 presidential election, James Garfield defeated Grant and Blaine as the Republican presidential nominee. He offered Morton the position of the vice-presidential candidate, but he turned it down. Morton, on the other hand, asked to be appointed Minister to the United Kingdom or France.

Morton was elected as the United States Minister to France over Charles J. Guiteau when Garfield was elected president. From 1881 to 1885, he held the office.

His diplomatic career earned him widespread acclaim among the French. He helped establish trade relations between the United States and France during his four years of service, and he oversaw the ceremonies surrounding France’s donation of the Statue of Liberty to the United States.

Despite his successful diplomatic career, Morton remained committed to his goal of becoming a senator. As a result, he ran for president twice between 1885 and 1887, but was defeated both times. In 1888, however, he was nominated for Vice President because of his selfless sense of duty.

Morton was elected Vice President of the United States in 1889, on President Benjamin Harrison’s Republican ticket. From 1889 until 1893, he held the job for four years. Both Harrison and Morton favored businessmen during their terms, to the point where Harrison’s cabinet was dubbed Businessman’s Cabinet while Morton’s was dubbed Millionaire’s Club.

Morton bore the brunt of Harrison’s wrath during his period in office after the latter’s government failed to pass the Lodge Bill, backed by Henry Cabot Lodge. The Bill was essentially an election law that guaranteed blacks in the South the right to vote. Morton was accused by Harrison of the failure due to a lack of support.

Following the collapse of the Lodge Bill, Morton lost Harrison’s backing. For the 1892 elections, he was replaced as the vice-presidential candidate by Whitelaw Reid. However, Democratic candidates defeated Harrison and Reid in the 1892 election.

Morton served as Governor of New York in 1895 and 1896 after his Vice-Presidential term.
He was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1896 but lost to William McKinley. He subsequently left politics to pursue a career as a real estate speculator.

He was the President of the Metropolitan Club on One East Sixtieth Street in New York from 1900 to 1911. Frank Knight Sturgis succeeded him when he preceded J P Morgan. In addition, from 1897 to 1909, he was President of the New York Zoological Society.

Major Projects of Levi P. Morton

During his time as the United States Minister to France, he worked to strengthen trade ties between the two countries and oversaw the ceremonies surrounding France’s handover of the Statue of Liberty to the United States.

Personal History and Legacy

Morton married Lucy Young Kimball in Flatlands, Brooklyn, on October 15, 1856. They had a child together. Lucy passed away in 1871.
Morton married Anna Livingston Reade Street in 1873 after Lucy’s death. They were the parents of five girls.
He died on May 16, 1920, on his 96th birthday, in Rhinebeck, Duchess County, New York. In the Rhinebeck Cemetery, he was laid to rest. Morton Grove, Illinois, is a village named for him.

Estimated Net Worth

The estimated net worth of Levi P. Morton is unknown.


After John Nance Garner, he was the second-longest-serving Vice President of the United States. Adlai E. Stevenson, Garret A. Hobart, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles W. Fairbanks, and James S. Sherman were among his five successors.