Thomas Francis Bayard (October 29, 1828 – September 28, 1898) was an American lawyer, politician and diplomat from Wilmington, Delaware.
A Democrat, he served three terms as United States Senator from Delaware and made three unsuccessful bids for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.
In 1885, President Grover Cleveland appointed him Secretary of State.
After four years in private life, he returned to the diplomatic arena as Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Born in Delaware to a prominent family, Bayard learned politics from his father James A.
Bayard Jr., who also served in the Senate.
In 1869, the Delaware legislature elected Bayard to the Senate upon his father's retirement.
A Peace Democrat during the Civil War, Bayard spent his early years in the Senate in opposition to Republican policies, especially the Reconstruction of the defeated Confederacy.
His conservatism extended to financial matters as he became known as a staunch supporter of the gold standard and an opponent of greenbacks and silver coinage which he believed would cause inflation.
Bayard's conservative politics made him popular in the South and with Eastern financial interests, but never popular enough to obtain the Democratic nomination for President which he attempted to win in 1876, 1880 and 1884.
In 1885, President Cleveland appointed Bayard Secretary of State.
Bayard worked with Cleveland to promote American trade in the Pacific while avoiding the acquisition of colonies at a time when many Americans clamored for them.
He sought increased cooperation with Great Britain, working to resolve disputes over fishing and seal-hunting rights in the waters around the Canada–United States border.
As ambassador, Bayard continued to strive for Anglo-American friendship.
This brought him into conflict with his successor at the State Department Richard Olney, when Olney and Cleveland demanded more aggressive diplomatic overtures than Bayard wished in the Venezuelan crisis of 1895.
His term at the American embassy ended in 1897 and he died the following year.