Lyman Trumbull - Encyclopedia




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LYMAN TRUMBULL (1813-1896), American jurist and political leader, was born at Colchester, Connecticut, on the 12th of October 1813, and was a grandson of Benjamin Trumbull (1735-1820), a Congregational preacher and the author of a useful Complete History of Connecticut (2 vols., 1818). He taught in Georgia, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1837. Removing to Belleville, Illinois, in the same year, he was elected to the state House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1840, and in1841-1843was secretary of state of Illinois. In1848-1853he was a justice of the state Supreme Court, and in1855-1873was a member of the United States Senate. Elected as an Anti-Nebraska Democrat, he naturally joined the Republicans, and when this party secured control in the Senate he was made chairman of the important judiciary committee, from which he reported the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States abolishing slavery. Throughout the Civil War he was a trusted counsellor of the president. In the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson he was one of the seven Republicans who voted to acquit, and he afterwards returned to the Democratic party. After 1873 he practised law in Chicago, was the Democratic candidate for governor of Illinois in 1880, became a Populist in 1894, and defended the railway strikers in Chicago in the same year. He died in Chicago on the 25th of June 1896.

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