Thursday, March 19, 2009
John Bingham the son of a carpenter was born in Mercer, Pennsylvania, January 21st 1815. After working for a few years as a printer, he decide to study the law at Franklin College. After being admitted to the bar he opened a practice in Cadiz, Ohio in 1840. He served as a Republican Representative from Ohio from 1855 to 1863. He advocated for emancipation, and in January 1864 was appointed judge-advocate. It was in that position that he presided over the trial of Abraham Lincoln’s assassins.
Bingham returned to Congress in 1866 and was one of the leaders in trying to impeach President Andrew Johnson. He drafted the first section of the 14th Amendment during reconstruction, extending constitutional protection of due process. In 1873 he was appointed United States Minister to Japan, a position he held for twelve years. He died March 19th 1900 in Cadiz, Ohio.