Roger B. Taney (1777 - 1864) entered President Jackson's Cabinet as Attorney General in 1831 and was Jackson's legal advisor during the President's crusade against the Second Bank of the United States. After Jackson was reelected in 1832, Taney advised him to withdraw the Government's deposits from the Bank. When Treasury Secretary Duane refused to do so, Jackson named Taney Acting Secretary in his stead. Taney's appointment was never confirmed by Congress, but during his nine months as Acting Secretary he transferred the Government's deposits from the Second Bank to designated commercial banks.
Sec. Roger B. Taney
Oil on canvas
63 x 52 3/4 x 5 1/4"
The Bank's charter did not expire until 1836, but by draining it of government funds Taney rendered it weak and ineffective before its time was up. Taney resigned when Congress refused to confirm his appointment as Secretary in 1834. Two years later, Jackson, in gratitude for Taney's actions against the Second Bank, appointed him Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
About the Artist
Henry Ulke (1821 - 1910), a prominent Washington, D.C. portrait artist, executed many commissions in the late 1870's and the 1880's for newly created federal portrait collections at the Departments of Treasury, War, and elsewhere. In addition to painting and photographing the political notables of his day at his Pennsylvania Avenue studio, he made numerous copies of earlier portraits. He is represented in the Treasury Collection by portraits of Secretaries Crawford, Ingham, Taney, Bibb, Chase, and Carlisle, all but Carlisle's being copies. The source for Ulke's 1881 portrait of Roger B.Taney is probably a photograph taken in the early 1860's.
Office of the Curator
All rights reserved. 2001