Livingston, a family distinguished in colonial New York and in early United States history. The most prominent members were:
(1654–1728), who was born in Scotland but spent much of his youth in Holland. Livingston came to America in 1673 and settled in Albany, New York. He gained wealth and was granted the manor and lordship of Livingston, an estate of about 160,000 acres (65,000 hectares) near Poughkeepsie. He was a member of the provincial assembly (1709–11, 1716–25), and was speaker from 1718 to 1725.
(1716–1778), grandson of Robert, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was born in Albany and graduated from Yale. Livingston was a merchant in New York City and a philanthropist, and helped found King's College (now Columbia). He was a member of the Continental Congress, 1774–78.
(1723–1790), brother of Philip, and a political leader. He was born in Albany and graduated from Yale. Livingston was a lawyer and was active in New York politics. In 1772 he moved to New Jersey. He was a member of the Continental Congress, 1774–76, and was governor of New Jersey, 1776–90. He was a member of the 1787 constitutional convention and signed the United States Constitution.
(1746–1825), great-grandson of Robert, and a clergyman. He was born near Poughkeepsie and graduated from Yale. He studied in the Netherlands, was ordained in the Dutch Reformed Church, and became a pastor in New York City. Livingston settled factional differences in the American Dutch Reformed Church, drafted the church constitution, and prepared its first hymnal. In 1784 he founded what is now the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, the first theological seminary in the United States. In 1810 Livingston became president of Queen's College (now Rutgers University), and his seminary was affiliated with the college.
(1746–1813), great-grandson of Robert, and a statesman. He was born in New York City, and graduated from King's College in 1765. He became a lawyer but gave most of his time to public affairs. Livingston was three times a member of the Continental Congress (1775–76, 1779–81, 1784–85). He was a member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence.
As secretary of foreign affairs, 1781–83, Livingston directed the negotiations with Great Britain that resulted in the Treaty of Paris, formally ending the American Revolution. From 1801 to 1804, Livingston was minister to France; in 1803, with James Monroe, he arranged for the Louisiana Purchase. Livingston provided financial aid for Robert Fulton's experiments with steamboat transportation.
(1757–1823), son of William, and a jurist. He was born in New York, and graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton). He fought in the American Revolution, and after the war practiced law in New York City. Livingston was a judge on the New York Supreme Court from 1802 to 1807. In 1807 he became an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Marshall, and served there until his death.
(1764–1836), brother of Robert R., and a statesman. He was born in Columbia County, New York, and graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1781. Livingston practiced law in New York City and was a member of Congress, 1795–1801. In 1801 he became a federal district attorney and also mayor of New York City. In 1803, one of his clerks embezzled federal government funds. Taking responsibility, Livingston turned his property over to the government and resigned his positions. He then moved to New Orleans, Louisiana.
During the War of 1812 Livingston was a military secretary to Andrew Jackson before the Battle of New Orleans. In 1820 he was elected to the Louisiana legislature. He was appointed to draft a penal code for the state. His code was not adopted but it won international fame for its author. Livingston served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1822–29, and in the Senate, 1829–31. Under President Jackson he was secretary of state, 1831–33, and minister to France, 1833–35.