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Episode 2139

Matthew Quay
Tue, 2023-Mar-14 00:05 UTC
Length - 3:33

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Tuesday, 14 March 2023 is Matthew Quay.

Matthew Stanley Quay (September 30, 1833 – May 28, 1904) was an American politician of the Republican Party who represented Pennsylvania in the United States Senate from 1887 until 1899 and from 1901 until his death in 1904. Quay's control of the Pennsylvania Republican political machine made him one of the most powerful and influential politicians in the country, and he ruled Pennsylvania politics for almost twenty years. As chair of the Republican National Committee and thus party campaign manager, he helped elect Benjamin Harrison as president in 1888 despite his not winning the popular vote. He was also instrumental in the 1900 election of Theodore Roosevelt as vice president.

Quay studied law and began his career in public office by becoming prothonotary of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, in 1856. He became personal secretary to Governor Andrew Curtin in 1861 after campaigning for him the previous year. During the Civil War, he served in the Union Army, commanding the 134th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment as a colonel. Quay received the Medal of Honor for heroism at the Battle of Fredericksburg. He acted as Pennsylvania's military agent in Washington before returning to Harrisburg to assist Curtin and aid in his re-election in 1863. He was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1865 to 1868.

Beginning in 1867, Quay became increasingly aligned with the political machine run by Senator Simon Cameron, and by 1880 was the chief lieutenant of Cameron and his son and successor Don. He continued to serve in public office, as Secretary of the Commonwealth, Philadelphia County Recorder, and Pennsylvania Treasurer. The last, to which he was elected in 1885, gave him enough power to eclipse Don Cameron as Pennsylvania's Republican political boss, and put him in position to run for the Senate. He served there from 1887 to 1899, and then from 1901 until his death in 1904. There, he strongly advocated for Pennsylvania's economic interests, paying little mind to matters that did not affect his home state.

At his most powerful, Quay influenced appointments to thousands of state and federal positions in Pennsylvania, the occupants of which had to help finance the machine. Opponents within the Pennsylvania Republican Party, such as merchant John Wanamaker, contested his rule from time to time, usually unsuccessfully, though they did block his election to a third term in the Senate for two years, causing the 1899 legislative election for senator to end with no one chosen. Increasingly in poor health, he took on few new battles in his final years. After Quay's death, his political machine was taken over by his fellow Pennsylvania senator, Boies Penrose, who continued to run it until Penrose's own death in 1921.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:05 UTC on Tuesday, 14 March 2023.

For the full current version of the article, see Matthew Quay on Wikipedia.

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