Wednesday, August 19, 2009

American Statesman

An American Statesman and lawyer Jeremiah Sullivan Black died on August 19th 1883.

Jeremiah Sullivan Black was born in Stony Creek, PA January 10th 1810. He was a basically self educated man, and admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar before he came of age. He worked his way up to become one of America’s leading lawyers. From 1851 to 1857 he was on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. In 1857 President James Buchanan appointed Black to be his Attorney General. At the end of President Buchanan’s term, from December 17th 1860 to March 4th 1861, Black served as the US Secretary of State. He argued during this time that Fort Sumter needed to be reinforced and better defended, that it was un-constitutional for a state to secede, but it was also illegal for the Federal Government to coerce a state. President Buchanan nominated Black to the Supreme Court, but he was defeated by single vote. At this point Black severed for two years as the Reporter of Decisions of the US Supreme Court, before he return to private practice.

Fallowing the Civil War, Black was strong opponent of the Congressional view of Reconstruction. He even drafted the message that President Andrew Johnson gave when vetoing the Reconstruction Act of March 2nd 1867. For a time he was President Johnson’s counsel during his Impeachment trial. He died August 19th 1883 at the age 72 in York County, Pennsylvania.

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