Thursday, August 27, 2009

The First Republican VP

The 15th Vice President of the United States, Hannibal Hamlin was born August 27th 1809. He served with Abraham Lincoln during his first term.

Hannibal Hamlin was born at Paris Hill, Oxford, Maine August 27th 1809, the son of Cyrus and Anna [Livermore] Hamlin. He attended school at the Hebron Academy in Maine, ran his families farm, worked as a surveyor, in a printing office, as a school teacher, and finally he studied the law. Hamlin would be admitted to the bar in 1833, and practice in Hampden, Penobscot, ME.

He began his political career in the Maine State House of Representative in 1836. He was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1848, by the antislavery wing of the party to fill the vacancy left by the death of John Fairfield. In 1854 he opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act which repealed the Missouri Compromise. When the Democrats endorsed the repeal at the National Convention in 1856, he left the party and became a Republican. Hamlin was the Governor of Maine from January to February 1857, when he resigned to be elected to the US Senate as a Republican. He would be elected Vice President on the ticket with Abraham Lincoln in 1861. He was strongly in favor of arming African American’s during the Civil War, and supported Joseph Hooker’s appointment to commander of the Army of the Potomac. Feeling frustrated by the lack of work involved in being the Vice President, Hamlin enlisted as a private in Maine Coast Guard and attended the summer encampment in Kittery ME in 1864. In 1864 Hamlin was not re-nominated for a second term, passed over instead for Andrew Johnson. He ended his political life as the United States Minister to Spain from 1881 to 1882.

Hamblin died July 4th 1891 while playing cards in Bangor Maine. He is interned in Mount Hope Cemetery.

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