George Perkins Marsh (1801–1882)
By the early 1800s, most of southern Vermont had been deforested, the land cleared for farms and pastures. While still a boy, Marsh observed the effects of such deforestation firsthand when a flood destroyed his father’s sawmill. Like his father, Marsh trained as an attorney, and opened a law office in Burlington, Vermont in 1825. He was elected to Congress twice (1844–1848), where he was instrumental in the creation of the Smithsonian Institution. After losing his congressional seat, Marsh had a lengthy diplomatic career that included appointments as ambassador to Turkey and a twenty-year term as ambassador in Italy.
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