|United States Senator|
December 31, 1892 – March 4, 1901
|Preceded by||Randall L. Gibson|
|Succeeded by||Murphy J. Foster|
|Born||September 10, 1835|
Franklin, St. Mary Parish
|Died||December 30, 1906 (aged 71)|
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Relations||Patrick T. Caffery (grandson)|
Caffery was born in Franklin, Louisiana, the seat of St. Mary Parish. His great-grandfather, Colonel John Donelson, co-founder of the city of Nashville, was the father-in-law of President of the United States Andrew Jackson. During the American Civil War, Caffery served in the Confederate army as a lieutenant in the 13th Louisiana Infantry Regiment. After the war, he became a lawyer and owned a sugar plantation. He was elected to the Louisiana State Senate, he was a Democrat, and in 1892, he was appointed to the United States Senate from Louisiana to fill the unexpired term of Randall L. Gibson who died in office. Caffery began a full six-year term in 1894, on election by the Louisiana State Legislature, and he served in the Senate until 1901.
He was a strong anti-imperialist and anti-expansionist, a position driven by his concern that new American possessions in tropical climes (like Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the Philippines) would harm his fellow Louisiana sugar planters by flooding the market with cheaper (and now tariff-free) sugar.
He was the first nominee for President of the United States of the "Democratic National Party" at its Indianapolis Convention in 1900 but declined the nomination of this group. He declined to seek a second full term in 1900. Strangely, a group of anti-imperialists, meeting in New York on 5 September 1900, also nominated Caffery for President and Boston attorney and historian Archibald M. Howe for Vice President. Caffery, a staunch Democrat, likewise refused this nomination, and Howe quickly withdrew as well.
Caffery served as chairman of the Senate Committee on enrolled bills from 1893 to 1894 and as chairman of the Senate Committee on corporations organized in the District of Columbia from 1899 to 1901.
- Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "Donelson Caffery Historical Marker".
- United States Congressional serial set. 1906. pp. 1–.
- Daniel S. Margolies (1 September 2011). Henry Watterson and the New South: The Politics of Empire, Free Trade, and Globalization. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 279–. ISBN 978-0-8131-3852-7.
- E. Berkeley Tompkins. "Anti-imperialism in the United States: the great debate, 1890-1920". Retrieved 31 July 2021.
- Planter and Sugar Manufacturer. 1907. pp. 2–.
- See also Jefferson Caffery, his cousin.
- United States Congress. "Donelson Caffery (id: C000016)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved on 2008-10-08