Biography of James Gillespie Blaine
Famous American Biographies





JAMES GILLESPIE BLAINE was one of the most distinguished of American statesmen and leglislators. He was born January 31, 1830, in Washington county, Pennsylvania, and received a thorough edutation, graduating at Washington College in 1847. In early life he removed to Maine and engaged in newspaper work, becoming editor of the Portland ''Advertiser." While yet a young man he gained distinction as a debater and became a conspicuous figure in political and public affairs. In 1862 he was elected to congress on the Republican ticket in Maine and was re-elected five times. In March, 1869, he was chosen speaker of the house of representatives and was re-elected in 1871 and again in 1873. In 1876 he was a representative in the lower house of congress and during that year was appointed United States senator by the Governor to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Morrill, who had been appointed secretary of the treasury. Mr. Elaine served in the senate until March 5, 1881, when President Garfield appointed him secretary of state, which position he resigned in December, 1881. Mr. Elaine was nominated for the presidency by the Republicans, at Chicago in June, 1884, but was defeated by Grover Cleveland after an exciting and spirited campaign. During the later years of his life Mr. Elaine devoted most of his time to the completion of his work "Twenty Years in Congress," which had a remarkably large sale throughout the United States. Blaine was a man of great mental ability and force of character and during the latter part of his life was one of the most noted men of his time. He was the originatorof what is termed the "reciprocity idea" in tariff matters, and outlined the plan of carrying it into practical effect. In 1876 Robert G, Ingersoll in making a nominating speech placing Blame's name as a candidate for president before the national Republican convention at Cincinnati, referred to Elaine as the Plumed Knight" and this title clung to him during the remainder of his life. His death occurred at Washington, January 27, 1893.


FROM:
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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