Hannibal Hamlin | Wikipedia audio article

Hannibal Hamlin | Wikipedia audio article

Hannibal Hamlin (August 27, 1809 – July
4, 1891) was an American attorney and politician from the state of Maine. In a public service
career that spanned over 50 years, he is most notable for having served as the 15th Vice
President of the United States. The first Republican to hold the office, Hamlin served
from 1861 to 1865. He is considered among the most influential politicians to have come
from Maine. A native of Paris, Maine (part of Massachusetts
until 1820), Hamlin managed his father’s farm before becoming a newspaper editor. He studied
law, was admitted to the bar in 1833, and began to practice in Hampden, Maine. Originally
a Democrat, Hamlin began his political career with election to the Maine House of Representatives
in 1835 and an appointment to the military staff of the Governor of Maine. As an officer
in the militia, he took part in the 1839 negotiations that helped end the Aroostook War. In the
1840s Hamlin was elected and served in the United States House of Representatives. In
1848 the state house elected him to the United States Senate, where he served until January
1857. He served temporarily as governor for six weeks in the beginning of 1857, after
which he returned to the Senate. Hamlin was an active opponent of slavery; he supported
the Wilmot Proviso and opposed the Compromise Measures of 1850. In 1854, he strongly opposed
passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act. Hamlin’s increasingly anti-slavery views caused him
to leave the Democratic Party for the newly formed Republican Party in 1856.
In 1860, Hamlin was the Republican nominee for Vice President; selected to run with Abraham
Lincoln, who was from Illinois, Hamlin was chosen in part to bring geographic balance
to the ticket and in part because as a former Democrat, he could work to convince other
anti-slavery Democrats that their future lay with the Republican Party. The Lincoln and
Hamlin ticket was successful, and Hamlin served as Vice President from 1861 to 1865, which
included the majority of the American Civil War. The first Republican Vice President,
Hamlin held the office in an era when the office was considered more a part of the legislative
branch than the executive; he was not personally close to Lincoln and did not play a major
role in his administration. Even so, Hamlin supported the administration’s legislative
program in his role as presiding officer of the Senate, and he looked for other ways to
demonstrate his support for the Union, including a term of service in a Maine militia unit
during the war. For the 1864 election, Hamlin was replaced
as Vice Presidential nominee by Andrew Johnson, a Southern Democrat chosen for his appeal
to Southern Unionists. After leaving the vice presidency, Hamlin served as Collector of
the Port of Boston, a lucrative post to which he was appointed by Johnson after the latter
succeeded to the presidency following Lincoln’s assassination. However, Hamlin later resigned
as Collector because of his disagreement with Johnson over Reconstruction of the former
Confederacy. In 1869, Hamlin was elected again to the U.S.
Senate, and he served two terms. After leaving the Senate in 1881, he served briefly as United
States Ambassador to Spain before returning to Maine in late 1882. In retirement, Hamlin
was a resident of Bangor, Maine, where he died in 1891. He was buried at Mount Hope
Cemetery in Bangor.==Early life==Hamlin was born to Cyrus Hamlin and his wife
Anna, née Livermore, in Paris (in modern-day Maine, then a part of Massachusetts). He was
a descendant in the sixth generation of English colonist James Hamlin, who had settled in
the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1639. He was a grandnephew of U.S. Senator Samuel Livermore
II of New Hampshire. Hamlin attended the district schools and Hebron
Academy and later managed his father’s farm. From 1827 to 1830 he published the Oxford
Jeffersonian newspaper in partnership with Horatio King.He studied law with the firm
headed by Samuel Fessenden, was admitted to the bar in 1833, and began practicing in Hampden,
Maine, where he lived until 1848.==Personal life==
Hamlin married Sarah Jane Emery of Paris Hill in 1833. Her father was Stephen Emery, who
was appointed as Maine’s Attorney General in 1839–1840. Hamlin and Sarah had four
children together: George, Charles, Cyrus and Sarah.
His wife died in 1855. The next year, Hamlin married her half-sister, Ellen Vesta Emery
in 1856. They had two children together: Hannibal E. and Frank. Ellen Hamlin died in 1925.==Political beginnings==
Hamlin’s political career began in 1835, when he was elected to the Maine House of Representatives.
Appointed a Major on the staff of Governor John Fairfield, he served with the militia
in the bloodless Aroostook War of 1839. He facilitated negotiations between Fairfield
and Lieutenant Governor John Harvey of New Brunswick, which helped reduce tensions and
make possible the Webster–Ashburton Treaty, which ended the war.Hamlin unsuccessfully
ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1840 and left the State House in 1841.
He later was elected to two terms in the United States House of Representatives, serving from
1843 to 1847. He was elected by the state legislature to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy
in 1848, and to a full term in 1851. A Democrat at the beginning of his career, Hamlin supported
the candidacy of Franklin Pierce in 1852. From the very beginning of his service in
Congress, Hamlin was prominent as an opponent of the extension of slavery. He was a conspicuous
supporter of the Wilmot Proviso and spoke against the Compromise Measures of 1850. In
1854, Hamlin strongly opposed the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which repealed
the Missouri Compromise. After the Democratic Party endorsed that repeal at the 1856 Democratic
National Convention, on June 12, 1856, he withdrew from the Democratic Party and joined
the newly organized Republican Party, causing a national sensation.
The Republicans nominated Hamlin for Governor of Maine in the same year. He carried the
election by a large majority and was inaugurated on January 8, 1857. In the latter part of
February 1857, however, he resigned the governorship. He returned to the United States Senate, serving
from 1857 to January 1861.==Vice presidency==Hamlin was nominated by the Republican Party
to serve as Vice President of the United States in the 1860 presidential election on a ticket
with former Representative Abraham Lincoln. Given that Lincoln was from Illinois, a vice
presidential nominee from Maine made sense in terms of regional balance. As a former
Democrat, Hamlin could also be expected to try to persuade other anti-slavery Democrats
that joining the Republican Party was the only way to ensure slavery’s demise.Hamlin
and Lincoln were not close personally, but had a good working relationship. At the time,
the Vice President was considered part of the legislative branch in his role as President
of the Senate, and so did not attend cabinet meetings; thus, Hamlin did not regularly visit
the White House. It was said that Mary Todd Lincoln and Hamlin disliked each other. For
his part, Hamlin complained, “I am only a fifth wheel of a coach and can do little for
my friends.”He had little influence in the Lincoln Administration, although he urged
both the Emancipation Proclamation and the arming of Black Americans. He strongly supported
Joseph Hooker’s appointment as commander of the Army of the Potomac, which ended in failure
at the Battle of Chancellorsville.Beginning in 1860, Hamlin was a member of Company A
of the Maine State Guard, a militia unit. When the company was called up in the summer
of 1864, Hamlin was told that because of his position as Vice President, he did not have
to take part in the muster. He opted to serve, arguing that he could set an example by doing
the duty expected of any citizen, and the only concession made because of his office
was that he was quartered with the officers. He reported to Fort McClary in July, initially
taking part in routine assignments including guard duty, and later taking over as the company
cook. He was promoted to corporal during his service, and mustered out with the rest of
his unit in mid-September.In June 1864, the Republicans and War Democrats joined to form
the National Union Party. Although Lincoln was renominated, War Democrat Andrew Johnson
of Tennessee was named to replace Hamlin as Lincoln’s running mate. Lincoln was seeking
to broaden his base of support and was also looking ahead to Southern Reconstruction,
at which Johnson had proven himself adept as military governor of occupied Tennessee.
Hamlin, by contrast, was an ally of the Northern “Radical Republicans” (who would later impeach
Johnson). Lincoln and Johnson were elected in November 1864, and Hamlin’s term expired
on March 4, 1865. After leaving the vice presidency Hamlin served
briefly as Collector of the Port of Boston. Appointed to the post by Johnson, Hamlin resigned
in protest over Johnson’s Reconstruction policy and accompanying efforts to build a political
following loyal to him after he had been repudiated by the Republicans. Republicans had supported
Johnson as part of the National Union ticket during the war, but opposed him after he became
President and his position on Reconstruction deviated from theirs.Although Hamlin narrowly
missed becoming President, his vice presidency would usher in a half-century of sustained
national influence for the Maine Republican Party. In the period 1861–1911, Maine Republicans
occupied the offices of Vice President, Secretary of the Treasury (twice), Secretary of State,
President pro tempore of the United States Senate, Speaker of the United States House
of Representatives (twice), and would field a presidential nominee in James G. Blaine,
a level of influence in national politics unmatched by subsequent Maine political delegations.==Later life==
Not content with private life, Hamlin returned to the U.S. Senate in 1869 to serve two more
6-year terms before declining to run for re-election in 1880 because of an ailing heart. His last
duty as a public servant came in 1881 when Secretary of State James G. Blaine convinced
President James A. Garfield to name Hamlin as United States Ambassador to Spain. Hamlin
received the appointment on June 30, 1881, and held the post until October 17, 1882.
Upon returning from Spain, Hamlin retired from public life to his home in Bangor, Maine,
which he had purchased in 1851. The Hannibal Hamlin House – as it is known today – is
located in central Bangor at 15 5th Street; incorporating Victorian, Italianate, and Mansard-style
architecture, the mansion was posted to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.Hamlin
was elected as a Third Class Companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of
the United States. Third Class was the MOLLUS division created to recognize civilians who
had contributed outstanding service to the Union during the war.==Death==
On Independence Day, July 4, 1891, Hamlin collapsed and fell unconscious while playing
cards at the Tarratine Club he founded in downtown Bangor. He was then placed on one
of the club’s couches and died a few hours later. He was 81. The couch is preserved at
the Bangor Public Library. Hannibal Hamlin was buried in the Hamlin family plot at Mount
Hope Cemetery in Bangor, Maine.==Family==
Hamlin had four sons who grew to adulthood: Charles Hamlin, Cyrus Hamlin, Hannibal Emery
and Frank Hamlin. Charles and Cyrus served in the Union forces during the Civil War,
both becoming generals, Charles by brevet. Cyrus was among the first Union officers to
argue for the enlistment of black troops, and himself commanded a brigade of freedmen
in the Mississippi River campaign. Charles and sister Sarah were present at Ford’s Theater
the night of Lincoln’s assassination. Hannibal Emery Hamlin was Maine Attorney General from
1905 to 1908. Hannibal Hamlin’s great-granddaughter Sally Hamlin was a child actor who made many
spoken word recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company in the early years of the
20th century. Hannibal’s older brother, Elijah Livermore
Hamlin, was president of the Mutual Fire Insurance Co. of Bangor, and the Bangor Institution
for Savings. He was twice an unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Maine in the late
1840s, though he did serve as Mayor of Bangor in 1851–52. The brothers were members of
different political parties (Hannibal a Democrat, and Elijah a Whig) before both becoming Republican
in the later 1850s.Hannibal’s nephew (Elijah’s son) Augustus Choate Hamlin was a physician,
artist, mineralogist, author, and historian. He was also Mayor of Bangor in 1877–78,
and a founding member of the Bangor Historical Society.Augustus served as surgeon in the
2nd Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, eventually becoming a U.S.
Army Medical Inspector, and later the Surgeon General of Maine. He wrote books about Andersonville
Prison and the Battle of Chancellorsville. Hannibal’s grand-nephew (Elijah’s grandson)
Isaiah K. Stetson was Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives in 1899–1900, and
owned a large company in Bangor which manufactured and shipped lumber and ice and ran a shipyard
and marine railway.Hannibal’s first cousin Cyrus Hamlin, who was a graduate of the Bangor
Theological Seminary, became a missionary in Turkey, where he founded Robert College.
He later became president of Middlebury College in Vermont. His son, A. D. F. Hamlin, Hannibal’s
first cousin once removed, became a professor of architecture at Columbia University and
a noted architectural historian. There are biographies of Hamlin by his grandson Charles
E. Hamlin (published 1899, reprinted 1971) and by H. Draper Hunt (published 1969).==Honors==Hamlin County, South Dakota is named in his
honor, as are Hamlin, Kansas; Hamlin, New York; Hamlin, West Virginia; Hamlin Township;
Hamlin Lake in Mason County, Michigan; and, Hamlin, a small Maine village that is a U.S.–Canada
border crossing with Grand Falls, New Brunswick. There are statues in Hamlin’s likeness in
the United States Capitol and in a public park (Norumbega Mall) in Bangor, Maine.There
is also a building on the University of Maine Campus, in Orono, named Hannibal Hamlin Hall.
This burned down in 1945, in a fire that killed two students, but was subsequently rebuilt.
Hannibal Hamlin Memorial Library is next to his birthplace in Paris, Maine.Hamlin’s house
in Bangor subsequently housed the Presidents of the adjacent Bangor Theological Seminary.
It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as is Hamlin’s birthplace in Paris,
Maine (as part of the Paris Hill Historic District).Hamlin Park in Chicago is named
in his honor.==In popular culture==
Hamlin appears briefly in three alternate history writings by Harry Turtledove: The
Guns of the South, Must and Shall, and How Few Remain.Fallout 3 features a character
named Hannibal Hamlin. He is shown to be an admirer of Abraham Lincoln and was a former
slave who now leads an anti-slavery militia of sorts composed of other former slaves.==See also==
Biography portal Hannibal Hamlin (Tefft

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