Skip to main content

Probity And Zeal

June 2024
1min read

Here is the upright and honorable public man of mid-nineteenth-century America. Rufus Choate (1799-1859), a prominent lawyer who served terms as a congressman and a senator as well as attorney general of Massachusetts, was a man without a moment to spare or lose. Here we can see his heavy coat trying to calm his necktie’s urgent flight and subdue the surge of his waistcoat; his emphatic, mobile tailoring betrays the wayward force of his thought. Lincoln wore his clothes like this; so did Poe and Emerson. The costume does general honor to propriety but perpetually bursts info small fits of fold and corner that express the volatile man within.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.

Donate