Richard Rush

Richard Rush (August 29, 1780 – July 30, 1859) was the 8th United States Attorney General and the 8th United States Secretary of the Treasury. He also served as John Quincy Adams's running mate on the National Republican ticket in 1828.

Born in Philadelphia to Benjamin Rush, a prominent physician and Founding Father, Richard Rush graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1797 and pursued a legal career. After gaining renown for his oratorical skills, he was appointed as Attorney General of Pennsylvania in 1811. Later that year, President James Madison appointed Rush to the position of Comptroller of the Treasury, and Rush became one of Madison's closest advisers during the War of 1812. Madison elevated Rush to the position of United States Attorney General in 1814. Rush remained in that position after James Monroe took office, and he also briefly served as the acting Secretary of State. In this capacity he concluded the Rush–Bagot Treaty, which limited naval armaments on the Great Lakes.

After John Quincy Adams returned to the United States to assume the position of Secretary of State, Rush was appointed as the ambassador to Britain. In 1825, Rush accepted Adams's offer to serve as Secretary of the Treasury. When Adams sought re-election in 1828, he chose Rush as his running mate, but Adams lost the presidential election to Andrew Jackson. After the election, Rush served as a diplomat for various groups, and he helped establish the Smithsonian Institution. During the presidency of James K. Polk, Rush served as the minister to France. He returned to the United States in 1849 and died in Philadelphia in 1859.

Richard Rush
Richard Rush engraving
United States Minister to France
In office
July 31, 1847 – October 8, 1849
PresidentJames Polk
Zachary Taylor
Preceded byWilliam King
Succeeded byWilliam Rives
8th United States Secretary of the Treasury
In office
March 7, 1825 – March 5, 1829
PresidentJohn Quincy Adams
Preceded byWilliam Crawford
Andrew Jackson
Succeeded bySamuel Ingham
United States Minister to the United Kingdom
In office
February 12, 1818 – April 27, 1825
PresidentJames Monroe
John Quincy Adams
Preceded byJohn Quincy Adams
Succeeded byRufus King
United States Secretary of State
In office
March 10, 1817 – September 22, 1817
PresidentJames Monroe
Preceded byJohn Graham (Acting)
Succeeded byJohn Quincy Adams
8th United States Attorney General
In office
February 10, 1814 – November 12, 1817
PresidentJames Madison
James Monroe
Preceded byWilliam Pinkney
Succeeded byWilliam Wirt
Attorney General of Pennsylvania
In office
January 26, 1811 – December 13, 1811
GovernorSimon Snyder
Preceded byJoseph Reed
Succeeded byJared Ingersoll
Personal details
BornAugust 29, 1780
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, British America
DiedJuly 30, 1859 (aged 78)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyFederalist (Before 1830)
National Republican (1830–1834)
Democratic (1834–1859)
Spouse(s)Catherine Rush
EducationPrinceton University (BA)
Richard Rush's signature

Early life and education

Rush was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the second son (and third child) of Benjamin Rush (one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and a prominent physician) and Julia (Stockton) Rush, daughter of Richard Stockton (another signer of the Declaration of Independence) and Annis Boudinot Stockton. He entered the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University) at the age of 14, and graduated in 1797 as the youngest member of his class. He was admitted to the bar in 1800, when he was barely 20 years old.

Rush married Catherine Eliza Murray on August 29, 1809. They were the parents of ten children, of whom three sons and two daughters survived him.


After his entering the bar in 1800, Rush quickly gained statewide and then national attention as a public speaker and successful trial lawyer. In 1811 he was appointed Attorney General of Pennsylvania. Shortly before this he had declined an offer to run for Congress. In November 1811, President James Madison appointed Rush Comptroller of the Treasury.

Federal government service

From the position as Comptroller of the treasury, albeit a subordinate position, Rush functioned as one of President Madison's closest friends and confidential advisors throughout the War of 1812. He was one of the War Hawks who advocated war with Britain. In 1814 Madison offered Rush the choice of Secretary of the Treasury or Attorney General of the United States, of which positions Rush chose the latter. With his appointment as Attorney General, Rush became the youngest person to serve in that office. Rush served as United States Attorney General from 1814 to 1817. At this time the attorney generalship was a part-time position, and so Rush also maintained his private law practice while in this office. On top of this he edited a codification of United States laws during this time.[1]

He was acting Secretary of State from the start of James Monroe's term as president until the return of John Quincy Adams from Europe. During this time Rush concluded the Rush-Bagot Convention, demilitarizing the Canadian boundary on the Great Lakes.

In October 1817, Rush was appointed Minister to Britain to succeed John Quincy Adams, who had taken the position of Secretary of State upon his return. His "gentlemanly" attitude was appreciated by the British, and he remained there for nearly eight years, proving singularly effective in negotiating a number of important treaties, including the Anglo-American Treaty of 1818.

He became surprisingly popular in England, despite his previous anti-British record. In 1823, Rush negotiated with Britain over British proposals that the two countries issue a joint declaration against French involvement in Spain's rebelling American colonies, but Britain would not agree to American demands for recognition of the newly independent republics, leading to the separate American declaration of the Monroe Doctrine.

Richard Rush received one electoral vote as a Federalist for the office of U.S. Vice President in the 1820 election, even though the Federalist Party nominated no candidate for U.S. President in that election. And then again in March–April 1824, Richard Rush was again honored with a single vote at the Democratic-Republican Party Caucus to be the party's candidate for the Office of U.S. Vice President for the upcoming 1824 election.

RUSH, Richard-BEP069-Treasury (BEP engraved portrait)
Bureau of Engraving and Printing portrait of Rush as Secretary of the Treasury.

Upon the election of John Quincy Adams in 1825, Rush (having made a study of Britain, and the British Navy in particular, while he was there) desired to become the Secretary of the Navy. Adams, however, immediately nominated him for the post of 8th Secretary of the Treasury, which he accepted. He served in this position with remarkable success during the entire Adams Administration from March 7, 1825 until March 5, 1829. Notably, he paid off nearly the whole public debt, and turned over to his successor a large treasury surplus.

In 1828, he was a candidate for Vice President on the re-election ticket with John Quincy Adams, but was defeated. After leaving the Treasury Department, he was sent to England and the Netherlands by the cities of Georgetown and Alexandria to negotiate a large loan for the cities, a mission that met with prompt success.

In 1836, President Andrew Jackson sent him to England as Commissioner to secure for the United States the legacy left the government by James Smithson. He was successful in this undertaking, bringing to this country the sum of $508,318.46, which would eventually be used to establish the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Rush later became one of the first regents of the institution.[2]

After a short time with the Anti-Masonic Party, in the later 1830s Rush became a member of the Democratic Party.[3]

In 1847, Richard Rush was appointed as Minister to France by President James K. Polk. When his negotiations were interrupted by the overthrow of King Louis-Philippe, he was among the first foreign diplomats to recognize the new French Second Republic. He remained in France until his recall by the new Whig administration in 1849, when he returned to the land of his birth, to retire in Philadelphia. He died there on July 30, 1859, and is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. Prior to his death, Rush had been the last surviving member of the Madison and Monroe Cabinets.


Rush was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1814.[4]

During the 1820s, Rush was a member of the prestigious society, Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences, who counted among their members former presidents Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams and many prominent men of the day, including well-known representatives of the military, government service, medical and other professions.[5]


  1. ^ Book Rags biography of Rush
  2. ^ Heather Ewing (2007). The Lost World of James Smithson: Science, Revolution, and the Birth of the Smithsonian. Bloomsbury USA.
  3. ^ G. G. van D., "Review of Richard Rush Diplomat" in The English Historical Review vol. 61, no. 239 (Jan. 1946) p. 120
  4. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  5. ^ Rathbun, Richard. The Columbian institute for the promotion of arts and sciences: A Washington Society of 1816–1838. Bulletin of the United States National Museum, October 18, 1917. Retrieved 2010-06-20.


This article contains material from the U.S. Department of Justice Attorneys General of the United States, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
William Pinkney
United States Attorney General
Succeeded by
William Wirt
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Quincy Adams
United States Minister to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Rufus King
Preceded by
William King
United States Minister to France
Succeeded by
William Rives
Political offices
Preceded by
William Crawford
United States Secretary of the Treasury
Succeeded by
Samuel Ingham
Party political offices
New political party National Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States
Succeeded by
John Sergeant

[[Category:United States Attorneys General]

A Man Called Dagger

A Man Called Dagger (1968) is a low-budget spy film that was the first collaboration between director Richard Rush, cinematographer László Kovács and stuntman Gary Warner Kent (who also did the film's special effects).

It was filmed in 1966 by Lew Horwitz's Global Screen Associates (GSA) under the title Why Spy? The film was originally intended to have been released by Mike Ripps' Cinema Distributors of America (CDA) in September 1966. When GSA and CDA's partnership collapsed, the film was picked up by MGM and released a year later.

Color of Night

Color of Night is a 1994 American erotic mystery thriller film produced by Cinergi Pictures and released in the United States by Hollywood Pictures. Directed by Richard Rush, the film stars Bruce Willis and Jane March.

The cast also features Ruben Blades, Lesley Ann Warren, Brad Dourif, Lance Henriksen, Kevin J. O'Connor and Scott Bakula. It is one of two well-known works by director Rush, the other being The Stunt Man 14 years before.

Color of Night flopped at the box office and won a Golden Raspberry Award as the worst film of 1994. Nonetheless, it became one of the 20 most-rented films in the United States home video market in 1995. Maxim magazine also singled the film out as having the Best Sex Scene in film history.In 2018, Kino Lorber (under license from Disney) released a special edition Blu-ray of the film; it contains an audio commentary of director Richard Rush.

Freebie and the Bean

Freebie and the Bean is a 1974 American action-comedy film about two off-beat police detectives who wreak havoc in San Francisco attempting to bring down a local organized crime boss. The picture, a precursor to the buddy cop film genre popularized a decade later, stars James Caan, Alan Arkin, Loretta Swit and Valerie Harper. Harper was nominated for the Golden Globe for New Star of the Year for playing the Hispanic wife of Alan Arkin. The film was directed by Richard Rush. An article in Rolling Stone magazine alleged that Stanley Kubrick called Freebie and the Bean the best film of 1974. Arkin and Caan would not appear in another movie together until the 2008 film adaptation of Get Smart.

Getting Straight

Getting Straight is a 1970 American comedy-drama motion picture directed by Richard Rush, released by Columbia Pictures.

The story centered upon student politics at a university in the early 1970s, seen through the eyes of non-conformist graduate student Harry Bailey (Elliott Gould). Also featured in the cast were Candice Bergen as Bailey's girlfriend, Jeff Corey as Bailey's professor and Harrison Ford as his anti social friend.

Getting Straight was released in an era of change and unrest in the United States in the early 1970s, and was in a long line of films that dealt with these themes. Other films of this period with similar themes were Medium Cool (1969), R. P. M. (1970), and The Strawberry Statement (1970).

Hells Angels on Wheels

Hells Angels on Wheels is a 1967 American biker film directed by Richard Rush, and starring Adam Roarke, Jack Nicholson, and Sabrina Scharf. The film tells the story of a gas-station attendant with a bad attitude who finds life more exciting after he is allowed to hang out with a chapter of the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle club.

Of Love and Desire

Of Love and Desire is a 1963 film directed by Richard Rush and starring Merle Oberon, Steve Cochran and Curd Jürgens.


Psych-Out is a 1968 counterculture-era psychedelic film about hippies, psychedelic music, and recreational drugs starring Susan Strasberg, Jack Nicholson (the movie's leading man despite being billed under supporting player Dean Stockwell), and Bruce Dern, and produced and released by American International Pictures. Originally scripted as The Love Children, the title when tested caused people to think it was about bastards, so Samuel Z. Arkoff came up with the ultimate title based on a recent successful reissue of Psycho. The cinematographer was László Kovács.

Director Richard Rush's cut came in at 101 minutes and was edited to 82 minutes by the producers. This version is the one released on DVD. For some reason, when HBO Video released the film on VHS, they used a 98-minute version. On February 17, 2015 a 101-minute Director's cut was released on DVD and Blu-Ray. The majority of the songs in the movie and on the original soundtrack album were performed by the Storybook. This credit is never mentioned on movie posters and articles. They were a local band from the San Fernando Valley.

Racking focus

A rack focus in filmmaking and television production is the practice of changing the focus of the lens during a shot. The term can refer to small or large changes of focus. If the focus is shallow, then the technique becomes more noticeable. In professional films, a camera assistant called a focus puller is responsible for rack focusing. In his documentary film, The Sinister Saga of Making "The Stunt Man" the director Richard Rush claims he developed the technique in the 1960s. In the commentary to the TV series Firefly, visual effects supervisor Loni Peristere comments that rack focus has been taboo in recent cinematography because such shots cannot be "repaired" in post production.

Richard Rush (director)

Richard Rush (born April 15, 1929 in New York, New York) is an American film director, scriptwriter, and producer. He is best known for the Oscar-nominated The Stunt Man. His other works, however, have been less celebrated. The next best-known of his films is Color of Night — the film won a Golden Raspberry Award as the worst film of 1994, but Maxim magazine also singled the film out as having the Best Sex Scene in film history. Rush, who's directing career began in 1960, also directed Freebie and the Bean, an over-the-top police buddy comedy/drama starring Alan Arkin and James Caan. He co-wrote the screenplay for the 1990 film Air America.

The Fickle Finger of Fate

The Fickle Finger of Fate (also known as El Dedo del destino and The Cup of St. Sebastian) is a 1967 comedy film directed by Richard Rush, produced by Sidney W. Pink, and starring Tab Hunter. Hunter stars as a clumsy businessman who accidentally gets wrapped up in a plot of intrigue while on a trip to Spain.

The film was distributed in America by Troma Entertainment.

Tagline: It's James Bond on acid!

The Savage Seven

The Savage Seven is a 1968 exploitation film (in the outlaw biker film subgenre) directed by Richard Rush. The film marks the screen acting debut of Penny Marshall. Rush says he agreed to the do the film as a sort of sequel to Hells Angels on Wheels in exchange for being able to make Haight-Ashbury film Psych-Out.

The Stunt Man

The Stunt Man is a 1980 American film directed by Richard Rush, starring Peter O'Toole, Steve Railsback, and Barbara Hershey. The film was adapted by Lawrence B. Marcus and Rush from the 1970 novel of the same name by Paul Brodeur. It tells the story of a young fugitive who hides as a stunt double on the set of an anti-war movie whose charismatic director will do seemingly anything for the sake of his art.

It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Peter O'Toole), Best Director (Richard Rush), and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. However, due to its limited release, it never earned much attention from audiences at large. As O'Toole remarked in a DVD audio commentary, "The film wasn't released. It escaped."

Thunder Alley (1967 film)

Thunder Alley is a 1967 film about auto racing directed by Richard Rush and starring Annette Funicello and Fabian Forte. It was released by American International Pictures.

Too Soon to Love

Too Soon to Love, also known as High School Honeymoon and Teenage Lovers, is a 1960 American exploitation film directed by Richard Rush and starring Richard Evans, Jennifer West and Jack Nicholson.The film was considered by some critics as among the first of the American "new wave" of filmmaking.

Transparent Anatomical Manikin

The Transparent Anatomical Manikin (TAM) is a three-dimensional, transparent model of a human being, created for medical instructional purposes. TAM was created by designer Richard Rush in 1968. It consisted of a see-through reproduction of a female human body, with various organs being wired so specific body systems would light up on command, on cue with a pre-recorded educational presentation.

Rush eventually produced 42 TAMs, many of which are still displayed in US health education museums. A cheaper model, the Mobile TAM, was created by Rush in the 1980s.The Transparent Anatomical Manikin was used as cover art on the 1970 soundtrack album Music from The Body, by Roger Waters and Ron Geesin, and the American alternative rock band Nirvana's 1993 album In Utero.

USCGC Rush (WHEC-723)

USCGC Rush (WHEC-723) was a United States Coast Guard high endurance Hamilton-class cutter that before being decommissioned was based out of USCG Base Sand Island, Honolulu, Hawaii, and performed regular patrols of Alaskan waters and the Bering Sea. The Rush has the distinction of having ridden out "the most powerful storm, at least in terms of depth of pressure, to affect Alaska in modern history [of] October,1974." Under command of Captain Norman Fernald the Rush sustained damage to her sonar dome and superstructure, but completed her patrol.

As all Hamilton-class cutters, Rush was constructed at Avondale Shipyard near New Orleans, Louisiana and launched November 16, 1968, she was the fifth Coast Guard Cutter to be named after Secretary of the Treasury Richard Rush, the nation's eighth Secretary of Treasury.

USRC Richard Rush (1874)

USRC Richard Rush was a Dexter-class cutter of the United States Revenue Cutter Service which served in the coastal waters of the western United States and the Department of Alaska.

With a displacement of 179 tons, the vessel was 140 feet (43 m) long, 23 feet (7.0 m) in beam, and drew 8 feet 10 inches (2.69 m). Propulsion was provided by both a 400 hp (300 kW) steam engine driving a single propeller, and a schooner-rig of sail.Rush was built by the Atlantic Iron Works in Boston, Massachusetts, launched 14 March 1874, and commissioned 21 July of that year. Fitting-out was completed in New York, and on 15 September the cutter sailed for San Francisco, arriving there 8 January 1875 after rounding Cape Horn. Among the plankowners was then First Lieutenant Michael A. Healy who at the time had never been on Alaska cruise but would later become an experienced captain of the Rush, Corwin, and Bear and become known throughout Alaskan waters as "Hell Roaring Mike" Healy. Healy assumed command of Rush in 1881 as a first lieutenant.

USRC Rush (1831)

USRC Rush was one of 13 cutters of the Morris-Taney class to be launched. Named after Secretaries of the Treasury and Presidents of the United States, these cutters were the backbone of the Service for more than a decade. Samuel Humphreys designed these cutters for roles as diverse as fighting pirates, privateers, combating smugglers and operating with naval forces. He designed the vessels on a naval schooner concept. They had Baltimore Clipper lines. The vessels built by Webb and Allen, designed by Isaac Webb, resembled Humphreys' but had one less port.Rush's official name was Richard Rush, named after Secretary of the Treasury at the time of her launching. The cutter operated out of New York. In January 1840, she was severely damaged by ice and on 30 March 1840 the Treasury Department authorized her transfer to the Lighthouse Establishment.

She has the distinction of being the "first" government-owned and operated lighthouse tender of the Lighthouse Establishment although her design as a revenue cutter left much to be desired when it came to servicing aids to navigation. She was identified in the official records as USLHT Richard Rush. She serviced aids to navigation in and around New York Harbor. The Lighthouse Establishment sold Richard Rush in 1848.

USRC Rush (1885)

USRC Rush was a revenue cutter named for Richard Rush, eighth Secretary of the Treasury. She was a replacement for USRC Rush and was much larger, but re-used the engine from the first Rush. She was completed in November 1885. In January 1886, soon after commissioning, she was assigned to search for the whaler Amethyst, last seen in the Bering Sea the previous October.Rush spent her entire career on the Pacific ranging from the Bering Sea to Hawaii and San Diego, California performing customs duties, search and rescue, and law enforcement, including hosting judicial functions in furtherance of her enforcement of revenue and conservation laws. During the Spanish–American War in 1898 she was detached for duty with the United States Navy in the defense of the west coast, but returned to her duties with the Revenue Service later that year.In 1899 she towed the newly commissioned river cutter USRC Nunivak to Alaska. She was decommissioned on 30 September 1912 and sold on 22 January 1913 to the Alaska Junk Company for $8,500.

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