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Daniel Rodney
Daniel Rodney.jpg
United States Senator
from Delaware
In office
November 8, 1826 – January 12, 1827
Appointed bySamuel Paynter
Preceded byNicholas Van Dyke
Succeeded byHenry M. Ridgely
United States Representative
from Delaware
In office
December 2, 1822 – March 3, 1823
Preceded byCaesar A. Rodney
Succeeded bySeat eliminated
19th Governor of Delaware
In office
January 18, 1814 – January 21, 1817
Preceded byJoseph Haslet
Succeeded byJohn Clark
Personal details
Born(1764-09-10)September 10, 1764
Lewes, Delaware Colony, British America
DiedSeptember 2, 1846(1846-09-02) (aged 81)
Lewes, Delaware, U.S.
Political partyFederalist
Spouse(s)Sarah Fisher
Residence(s)Lewes, Delaware

Daniel Rodney (September 10, 1764 – September 2, 1846) was an American merchant and politician from Lewes in Sussex County, Delaware. He was a member of the Federalist Party, and later the National Republican Party, who served as Governor of Delaware, U. S. Representative from Delaware and U.S. Senator from Delaware.

Early life and family

See also: Rodney family of Delaware

Rodney was born at Lewes in the Delaware Colony, son of John and Ruth Hunn Rodney, brother of future Governor Caleb Rodney, and distantly related to Caesar Rodney. He married Sarah Fisher and they had eight children, Hannah, George Brydges, John, William, Henry Fisher, Nicholas, Susan, and Mary. They lived at 231 Second Street and were members of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lewes.

Rodney received little schooling, and worked as a sailor and merchant for some years. There is a story that before he was 21 years old he had his own ship and that during the American Revolution he was twice captured by the British. From 1793 to 1806, he served as a Judge in the Court of Common Pleas, during roughly the same time as Trustee of the Poor. He was also a trustee of Wilmington College.

Professional and political career

His own political career began in 1810, when he ran for Governor of Delaware as a Federalist. He lost to the Democratic candidate, Joseph Haslet, by only 71 votes. His next campaign, in 1813, was against James Riddle of New Castle, and largely because of the unpopularity of the War of 1812, he was successful. He served as Governor of Delaware from January 18, 1814, to January 21, 1817.

The last year of the War of 1812 was as unnerving as the others had been. The British naval presence off the coast was more intermittent, but Indian River received a serious raid in June 1814. The burning of Washington, in August, however, really brought the war home. Everyone feared attacks up the coast. In Philadelphia old former President Thomas McKean was brought out of retirement to organize the defenses, and finally Pea Patch Island was actually fortified. The progress of the British army was halted at Baltimore and Delaware was not attacked again. Commodore Thomas Macdonough of Odessa was one of the heroes of 1814, defeating the British fleet on Lake Champlain, and U.S. Senator James A. Bayard, Sr. of Wilmington was one of the commissioners to the peace conference that produced the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the war.

In the U.S. presidential election of 1820, Rodney received 4 electoral votes for Vice President, but lost overwhelmingly to incumbent Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins. This was the last virtually uncontested presidential election in U.S. history, with incumbent U.S. President James Monroe facing no opposition. The lack of contest documented the complete collapse of the Federalist Party everywhere except Delaware.

When Caesar A. Rodney resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives in 1822, Daniel Rodney was elected to replace him, serving in the U.S. House from October 1, 1822 to March 3, 1823. Several years later Daniel Rodney was appointed to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Nicholas Van Dyke. He served briefly from November 8, 1826, to January 12, 1827, when the General Assembly chose another replacement.

Death and legacy

Rodney died at Lewes and is buried there in St. Peter's Episcopal Churchyard. His son George B. Rodney served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1841 until 1845.


Elections were held the first Tuesday of October. The governor takes office the third Tuesday of January and had a three-year term. U.S. Representatives took office March 4 and have a two-year term. The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators who also took office March 4, but for a six-year term.

Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority Speaker House Majority Speaker
1808 38th Federalist Andrew Barratt Federalist Cornelius P. Comegys
1809 39th Federalist Jesse Green Federalist Cornelius P. Comegys
1810 40th Federalist Jesse Green Federalist Nathan Vickers
Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
Judge Judiciary Georgetown 1793 1806 Court of Common Pleas
Governor Executive Dover January 18, 1814 January 21, 1817
U.S. Representative Legislature Washington October 1, 1822 March 3, 1823
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington November 8, 1826 January 12, 1827
United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority Committees Class/District
1821–1823 17th U.S. House Federalist 2nd at-large
1825–1827 19th U.S. Senate Anti-Jacksonian class 2
Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1810 Governor Daniel Rodney Federalist 3,593 50% Joseph Haslet Republican 3,664 50%
1813 Governor Daniel Rodney Federalist 4,643 55% James Riddle Republican 3,768 45%


Party political offices Preceded byGeorge Truitt Federalist nominee for Governor of Delaware 1810, 1813 Succeeded byJohn Clark Political offices Preceded byJoseph Haslet Governor of Delaware 1814–1817 Succeeded byJohn Clark U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byCaesar A. Rodney Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Delaware's at-large congressional district October 1, 1822 – March 3, 1823 Succeeded bySeat inactive U.S. Senate Preceded byNicholas Van Dyke U.S. senator from Delaware November 8, 1826 – January 12, 1827 Succeeded byHenry M. Ridgely