Thomas A. Hendricks | Wikipedia audio article

Thomas A. Hendricks | Wikipedia audio article

Thomas Andrews Hendricks (September 7, 1819
– November 25, 1885) was an American politician and lawyer from Indiana who served as the
16th Governor of Indiana (1873–77) and the 21st Vice President of the United States (1885). Hendricks represented Indiana in the U.S.
House of Representatives (1851–55) and the U.S. Senate (1863–69). He also represented Shelby County, Indiana,
in the Indiana General Assembly (1848–50) and as a delegate to the 1851 Indiana constitutional
convention. In addition, Hendricks served as commissioner
of the General Land Office (1855–59). Hendricks, a popular member of the Democratic
Party, was a fiscal conservative known for his honesty and adherence to the U.S. Constitution. He defended the Democratic position in the
U.S. Senate during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era and voted against the
Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. He also opposed Radical Reconstruction and
President Andrew Johnson’s removal from office following Johnson’s impeachment in the U.S.
House. Born in Muskingum County, Ohio, Hendricks
moved to Indiana, with his parents in 1820; the family settled in Shelby County in 1822. After graduating from Hanover College, class
of 1841, Hendricks studied law in Shelbyville, Indiana, and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1843. Hendricks began his law practice in Shelbyville,
moved to Indianapolis in 1860, and established a private law practice with Oscar B. Hord
in 1862. The firm evolved into Baker & Daniels, one
of the state’s leading law firms. Hendricks also ran for election as Indiana’s
governor three times, but won only once. In 1872, on his third and final attempt, Hendricks
defeated General Thomas M. Brown by a margin of 1,148 votes. His term as governor of Indiana was marked
by numerous challenges, including a strong Republican majority in the Indiana General
Assembly, the economic Panic of 1873, and an economic depression. One of Hendricks’s lasting legacies during
his tenure as governor was initiating discussions to fund construction of the present-day Indiana
Statehouse, which was completed after he left office. A memorial to Hendricks was installed on the
southeast corner of its grounds in 1890. Hendricks, a lifelong Democrat, was his party’s
candidate for U.S. vice president with New York governor Samuel Tilden as its presidential
nominee in the controversial presidential election of 1876. Although they won the popular vote, Tilden
and Hendricks lost the election by one vote in the Electoral College to the Republican
Party’s presidential nominee, Rutherford B. Hayes, and his vice presidential running mate,
William A. Wheeler. Despite his poor health, Hendricks accepted
his party’s nomination for vice president in the election of 1884 as Grover Cleveland’s
running mate. Cleveland and Hendricks won the election,
but Hendricks only served as vice president for about eight months, from March 4, 1885,
until his death on November 25, 1885, in Indianapolis. He is buried in Indianapolis’s Crown Hill
Cemetery.==Early life and education==
Hendricks was born on September 7, 1819, in Muskingum County, Ohio, near East Fultonham
and Zanesville. He was the second of eight children born to
John and Jane (Thomson) Hendricks, who were originally from Pennsylvania.In 1820 Hendricks
moved with his parents and older brother to Madison in Jefferson County, Indiana, at the
urging of Thomas’s uncle, William Hendricks, a successful politician who served as a U.S.
Representative, a U.S. Senator (1825–37), and as the third governor of Indiana (1822–25). Thomas’s family first settled on a farm near
his uncle’s home in Madison, and moved to Shelby County, Indiana, in 1822. Hendricks’s father, a successful farmer who
operated a general store, became involved in politics, including appointment from President
Andrew Jackson as deputy surveyor of public lands for his district. Indiana’s Democratic Party leaders frequently
visited the Hendricks home in Shelbyville, and from an early age Hendricks was influenced
to enter politics.Hendricks attended local schools (Shelby County Seminary and Greensburg
Academy). He graduated from Hanover College in Hanover,
Indiana, in 1841, in the same class as Albert G. Porter, also a future governor of Indiana. After college Hendricks read law with Judge
Stephen Major in Shelbyville, and in 1843 he took an eight-month law course at a school
operated by his uncle, Judge Alexander Thomson in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Hendricks returned to Indiana, was admitted
to the bar in 1843, and established a private practice in Shelbyville.==Marriage and family==
Hendricks married Eliza Carol Morgan of North Bend, Ohio, on September 26, 1845, after a
two-year courtship. The couple met when Eliza was visiting her
married sister, Mrs. Daniel West, in Shelbyville. The couple’s only child, a son named Morgan,
was born on January 16, 1848, and died in 1851, at the age of three. Thomas and Eliza Hendricks moved to Indianapolis
in 1860 and resided from 1865 to 1872 at 1526 South New Jersey Street, now known as the
Bates-Hendricks House.==Early political career==
Hendricks remained active in the legal community and in state and national politics from the
1840s until his death in 1885.===Indiana legislature and constitutional
convention===Hendricks began his political career in 1848,
when he served a one-year term in the Indiana House of Representatives after defeating Martin
M. Ray, the Whig candidate. Hendricks was also one of the two Shelby County
delegates to the 1850–51 Indiana constitutional convention. He served on committee that created the organization
of the state’s townships and counties and decided on the taxation and financial portion
of the state constitution. Hendricks also debated the clauses on the
powers of the different offices and argued in favor of a powerful judiciary and the abolishment
of grand juries.===U.S. congressman===
Hendricks represented Indiana as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives (1851–55)
in the Thirty-second and Thirty-third Congresses from March 4, 1851 to March 3, 1855. Hendricks was chairman of the U.S. Committee
on Mileage (Thirty-second Congress) and served on the U.S. Committee on Invalid Pensions
(Thirty-third Congress). He supported the principle of popular sovereignty
and voted in favor of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which expanded slavery into the
western territories of the United States. Both positions were unpopular in Hendricks’s
home district in Indiana and led to defeat in his re-election bid to Congress in 1854.===Land office commissioner===
In 1855 President Franklin Pierce appointed Hendricks as commissioner of the General Land
Office in Washington, D.C. His job supervising 180 clerks and a four-year
backlog of work was a demanding one, especially at a time when westward expansion meant that
the government was going through one of its largest periods of land sales. During his tenure, the land office issued
400,000 land patents and settled 20,000 disputed land cases. Although Hendricks made thousands of decisions
related to disputed land claims, only a few were reversed in court, but he did receive
some criticism: “He was the first commissioner who apparently had no background or qualifications
for the job. …Some of the rulings and letters during
Hendricks’s tenure were not always correct.”Hendricks resigned as land office commissioner in 1859
and returned to Shelby County, Indiana. The cause of his departure was not recorded,
but potential reasons may have been differences of opinion with President James Buchanan,
Pierce’s successor. Hendricks resisted Buchanan’s efforts to make
land office clerks patronage positions, objected to the pro-slavery policies of the Buchanan
administration, and supported the homestead bill, which Buchanan opposed.===Candidate for Indiana governor===
Hendricks ran for governor of Indiana three times (1860, 1868, and 1872), and succeeded
only on his third attempt. He became the first Democrat to win a gubernatorial
seat after the American Civil War.In 1860 Hendricks, who ran with David Turpie as his
running mate, lost to the Republican candidates, Henry S. Lane and Oliver P. Morton. Three of the four men (Lane, Morton, and Hendricks)
eventually served as Indiana’s governor, and all four became U.S. senators.In 1868, his
second campaign for Indiana governor, Hendricks lost to Conrad Baker, the incumbent, by 961
votes. Baker, who would later become one of Hendricks’s
law partners, was elected as lieutenant governor in 1864, and became governor after Morton
was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1867. In the national election, Republican nominees
Ulysses S. Grant and his running mate, Schuyler Colfax of Indiana, carried the state by a
margin of more than 20,000 votes, suggesting that the close race for governor demonstrated
Hendricks’s popularity in Indiana. Following his defeat in his second gubernatorial
race Hendricks retired from the U.S. Senate in March 1869 and returned to his private
law practice in Indianapolis, but remained connected to state and national politics.In
1872, his third campaign to become governor of Indiana, Hendricks narrowly defeated General
Thomas M. Browne, 189,424 votes to 188,276.===Law practice===
In addition to his years of service in various political offices in Indiana and Washington,
D.C., Hendricks maintained an active law practice, which he first established in Shelbyville
in 1843 and continued after his relocation to Indianapolis. Hendricks and Oscar B. Hord established a
law firm in 1862, where Hendricks practiced until the Indiana General Assembly elected
him to represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate in 1863. The law practice was renamed Hendricks, Hord,
and Hendricks in 1866, after Abram W. Hendricks joined the firm. In 1873 it was renamed Baker, Hord, and Hendricks,
after Conrad Baker, the outgoing governor of Indiana, joined the firm and Hendricks
succeeded him as governor. In 1888 the firm passed to Baker’s son, who
partnered with Edward Daniels, and it became known as Baker & Daniels, which grew into
one of the state’s leading law firms.==High office=====U.S. Senator===
Hendricks represented Indiana in the U.S. Senate (1863–69) during the final years
of the American Civil War and part of the Reconstruction Era. Military reverses in the Civil War, some unpopular
decisions in the Lincoln administration, and Democratic control of the Indiana General
Assembly helped Hendricks win election to the U.S. Senate. His six years in the Senate covered the Thirty-eighth,
Thirty-ninth, and Fortieth Congresses, where Hendricks was a leader of the small Democratic
minority and a member of the opposition who was often overruled.Hendricks challenged what
he thought was radical legislation, including the military draft and issuing greenbacks;
however, he supported the Union and prosecution of the war, consistently voting in favor of
wartime appropriations. Hendricks adamantly opposed Radical Reconstruction. After the war he argued that the Southern
states had never been out of the Union and were therefore entitled to representation
in the U.S. Congress. Hendricks also maintained that Congress had
no authority over the affairs of state governments.Hendricks voted against the Thirteenth, Fourteenth,
and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution that would, upon ratification, grant voting
rights to males of all races and abolish slavery. Hendricks felt it was not the right time,
so soon after the Civil War, to make fundamental changes to the U.S. Constitution. Although Hendricks supported freedom for African
Americans, stating, “He is free; now let him remain free,” he unsuccessfully opposed reconstruction
legislation. Hendricks also opposed the attempt to remove
President Andrew Johnson from office following his impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives.Hendricks’s
views were often misinterpreted by his political opponents in Indiana. When the Republicans regained a majority in
the Indiana General Assembly in 1868, the same year Hendricks’s U.S. Senate term expired,
he lost reelection to a second term, and was succeeded by Republican Congressman-elect
Daniel D. Pratt, who resigned the U.S. House seat to which he had been elected in 1868
in order to accept the Senate seat.===Governor of Indiana===
In 1872 Hendricks was elected as the governor of Indiana in his third bid for the office. An indication of Hendricks’s growing national
popularity occurred during the presidential election of 1872; the Democrats nominated
Horace Greeley, the Liberal Republican candidate. Greeley died soon after the election, but
before the Electoral College cast its ballots; 42 of 63 Democratic electors previously pledged
to Greeley voted for Hendricks. Hendricks served as governor of Indiana from
January 13, 1873 to January 8, 1877, a difficult period of post-war economic depression following
the financial Panic of 1873. Indiana experienced high unemployment, business
failures, labor strikes, and falling farm prices. Hendricks twice called out the state militia
to end workers’ strikes, one by miners in Clay County, and one by railroad workers’
in Logansport.Although Hendricks succeeded in encouraging legislation enacting election
and judiciary reform, the Republican-controlled legislature prevented him from achieving many
of his other legislative goals. In 1873 Hendricks signed the Baxter bill,
a controversial piece of temperance legislation that established a strict form of local option,
even though he personally had favored a licensing law. Hendricks signed the legislation because he
thought the bill was constitutional and reflected the majority view of the Indiana General Assembly
and the will of Indiana’s citizens. The law proved to be unenforceable and was
repealed in 1875; it was replaced by a licensing system that Hendricks had preferred.One of
Hendricks’s lasting legacies during his tenure as governor began with discussion to fund
construction of a new Indiana Statehouse. The existing structure, which had been in
use since 1835, had become too small, forcing the growing state government to rent additional
buildings around Indianapolis. Besides its size, the dilapidated capitol
building was in need of major repair. The roof in the Hall of Representatives had
collapsed in 1867 and public inspectors condemned the building in 1873. The cornerstone for the present-day state
capital building was laid in 1880, after Hendricks left office, and he delivered the keynote
speech at the ceremony. The new statehouse was completed eight years
later and remains in use as Indiana’s state capitol building.===Vice presidential nominee===Hendricks ran for vice president in 1876 and
1884; he won in 1884. The Democrats also nominated Hendricks for
the vice presidency in 1880, but he declined for health reasons. In 1880, while on a visit to Hot Springs,
Arkansas, Hendricks suffered a bout of paralysis, but returned to public life. No one outside of his family and doctors knew
his health was failing. Two years later he was no longer able to stand.In
the disputed presidential election of 1876 Hendricks ran as the Democratic candidate
for vice president with New York governor Samuel Tilden as the party’s presidential
nominee. Hendricks did not attend the Democratic convention
in Saint Louis, but the party was pursuing the strategy of carrying the Solid South along
with New York and Indiana. The Indiana delegation urged Hendricks as
the vice presidential nominee, and he was nominated unanimously.Although they received
the majority of the popular vote, Tilden and Hendricks lost the disputed election by one
vote in Electoral College balloting to Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican Party’s presidential
nominee, and William A. Wheeler, his vice presidential running mate. A fifteen-member Electoral Commission that
included five representatives each from the House, Senate, and U.S. Supreme Court determined
the outcome of the contested electoral votes. In an 8 to 7 partisan vote, the commission
awarded all twenty of the disputed votes from South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, and Oregon
to the Republican candidates. Tilden and Hendricks accepted the decision,
despite deep disappointment at the outcome.As chairman of the Indiana delegation, Hendricks
attended the Democratic Party’s national convention in 1884 in Chicago, where he was again nominated
as its vice presidential candidate by a unanimous vote. Grover Cleveland was the party’s presidential
nominee in the 1884 presidential election; once again the Democrats’ strategy was to
win New York, Cleveland’s home state, and Hendricks’s home state of Indiana, plus the
electoral votes of the Solid South. Democrats narrowly won New York, Indiana,
and two more Northern states plus the Solid South to secure the election.===Vice President, 1885===
Hendricks, who had been in poor health for several years, served as vice president during
the last eight months of his life, from his inauguration on March 4 until his death on
November 25, 1885. The vice presidency remained vacant after
Hendricks’s death until Levi P. Morton assumed office in 1889.On September 8, 1885, in Indianapolis,
Hendricks made a controversial speech in support of Irish independence. Soon afterwards, Boston machine politician
Martin Lomasney named the Hendricks Club after him.==Death and legacy==Hendricks died unexpectedly on November 25,
1885, during a trip home to Indianapolis. He complained of feeling ill the morning of
November 24, went to bed early, and died in his sleep the following day.Hendricks’s funeral
service at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Indianapolis was a large one. Hundreds of dignitaries were in attendance,
including President Grover Cleveland, and thousands of people gathered along the city’s
street to see the 1.2 mile long funeral cortege as it traveled from downtown Indianapolis
to Crown Hill Cemetery, where his remains were interred.Hendricks, a popular member
of the Democratic Party, remained on good terms with both Democrats and Republicans. He was a fiscal conservative and a powerful
orator who was known for his honesty and firm convictions.Hendricks was one of four vice-presidential
candidates from Indiana who were elected during the period 1868 to 1920, when Indiana’s electoral
votes were critical to winning a national election. (The three other men from Indiana who became
U.S. vice presidents during this period were Schuyler Colfax, Charles W. Fairbanks, and
Thomas R. Marshall.) Five other men from Indiana, George Washington
Julian, Joseph Lane, Judge Samuel Williams, John W. Kern, and William Hayden English,
lost their bids for the vice presidency during this time period.==Honors and tributes==Hendricks remains the only vice president
who did not serve as president whose portrait appears on U.S. paper currency. An engraved portrait of Hendricks appears
on the $10 “tombstone” silver certificate of 1886. The currency note’s nickname is derived from
the tombstone-shaped border outlining Hendricks’s portrait. The Bates-Hendricks House, where the family
lived from 1865 to 1872, is located in Indianapolis at 1526 South New Jersey Street. The home was added to the National Register
of Historic Places on April 11, 1977. Thomas A. Hendricks Library (Hendricks Hall)
at Hanover College, which overlooks the Ohio River near Madison, Indiana, was built in
1903. Hendricks’s widow, Eliza, provided funding
for the project as a tribute to her late husband, an alumnus of the college. The library was added to the National Register
on February 26, 1982. Portraits of Thomas and Eliza Hendricks hang
in the library. The Thomas A. Hendricks Monument was installed
on the southeast corner of state capitol building’s grounds in 1890. At 11 feet (3.4 m) it is the tallest bronze
statue on the statehouse grounds.==Electoral history====
See also==List of Governors of Indiana
Thomas A. Hendricks Monument Hendricks, West Virginia, named for him==Notes

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