Henry Wilson (born Jeremiah Jones Colbath; February 16, 1812 –
November 22, 1875) was the 18th Vice President of the United States
(1873–75) and a Senator from
Massachusetts (1855–73). Before and
during the American Civil War, he was a leading Republican, and a
strong opponent of slavery. He devoted his energies to the destruction
of the "Slave Power" – the faction of slave owners and their
political allies which anti-slavery Americans saw as dominating the
Originally a Whig, Wilson was a founder of the
Free Soil Party
Free Soil Party in
1848. He served as the party chairman before and during the 1852
presidential election. He worked diligently to build an anti-slavery
coalition, which came to include the Free Soil Party, anti-slavery
Democrats, New York Barnburners, the Liberty Party, anti-slavery
members of the Native American Party (Know Nothings), and anti-slavery
Whigs (called Conscience Whigs). When the Free Soil party dissolved in
the mid-1850s, Wilson joined the Republican Party, which he helped
found, and which was organized largely in line with the anti-slavery
coalition he had nurtured in the 1840s and 1850s.
While a Senator during the
American Civil War
American Civil War Wilson was considered a
"Radical Republican", and his experience as a militia general,
organizer and commander of a
Union Army regiment, and chairman of the
Senate military committees enabled him to assist the Abraham Lincoln
administration in the organization and oversight of the
Union Army and
Union Navy. Wilson successfully authored bills that outlawed slavery
in Washington, D.C., and incorporated
African Americans in the Union
Civil War effort in 1862.
After the Civil War, he supported the
Radical Republican program for
Reconstruction. In 1872, he was elected Vice President as the running
mate of Ulysses S. Grant, the incumbent President of the United
States, who was running for a second term. The Grant and Wilson ticket
was successful, and Wilson served as Vice President from March 4,
1873, until his death on November 22, 1875. Wilson's effectiveness as
Vice President was limited after he suffered a debilitating stroke in
May 1873, and his health continued to decline until he was the victim
of a fatal stroke while working in the
United States Capitol in late
Throughout his career, Wilson was known for championing causes that
were at times unpopular, including the abolition of slavery and
workers' rights for both blacks and whites.
George F. Hoar, who served in the
United States House of
Representatives while Wilson was a Senator, and later served in the
Senate himself, believed Wilson to be the most skilled political
organizer in the country. However, Wilson's reputation for personal
integrity and principled politics was somewhat damaged late in his
Senate career by his involvement in the Crédit Mobilier scandal.
1 Early life and education
3 Political career
3.2 U.S. Senator (1855–1873)
4 Civil War
4.1 Greenhow controversy
4.2 Equal rights activism
5 Reconstruction and Civil Rights
6 Vice Presidential campaign, 1868
7 Vice Presidential campaign, 1872
7.1 Crédit Mobilier scandal
8 Vice President
9 Illness and death
10 Historical reputation
11 Personal life
13 See also
15.3 New York Times
16 External links
Early life and education
Henry Wilson was born in Farmington, New Hampshire, on February 16,
1812, one of several children born to Winthrop and Abigail (Witham)
Colbath. His father named him Jeremiah Jones Colbath after a
wealthy neighbor who was a childless bachelor, vainly hoping that this
gesture might result in an inheritance. Winthrop Colbath was a
militia veteran of the War of 1812 who worked as a day laborer and
hired himself out to local farms and businesses, in addition to
occasionally running a sawmill.
The Colbath family was impoverished and, after a brief elementary
education, at the age of 10 Wilson was indentured to a neighboring
farmer, where he worked as a laborer for the next 10 years. During
this time two neighbors gave him books and Wilson enhanced his meager
education by reading extensively on English and American history and
biography. At the end of his service he was given "six sheep and a
yoke [two] of oxen." Wilson immediately sold his animals for $85,
which was the first money he had earned during his indenture.
Wilson apparently did not like his birth name, though the reasons
given vary. Some sources indicate that he was not close to his family,
or disliked his name because of his father's supposed intemperance and
modest financial circumstances. Others indicate that he was called
"Jed" and "Jerry", and disliked the nicknames so much that he resolved
to change his name. Whatever the reason, when he turned 21 he
successfully petitioned the
New Hampshire General Court
New Hampshire General Court to legally
change it. He chose the name Henry Wilson, inspired either by a
biography of a
Philadelphia teacher or a portrait from a book on
(The ideas that his name change resulted from disrespect of his father
or lack of closeness with his family seem to be belied by the fact
that some of his relatives followed him after he relocated to Natick,
Massachusetts, including brother George A. Colbath. In addition,
Winthrop and Abigail Colbath moved to Natick in 1848. Winthrop died in
Natick in 1860, and Abigail died there in 1866.)
Henry Wilson's shoeshop in Natick, Massachusetts
Henry Wilson's Natick home.
After trying and failing to find work in New Hampshire, in 1833 Wilson
walked more than one hundred miles to Natick, Massachusetts, seeking
employment or a trade. Having met William P. Legro, a shoemaker who
was willing to train him, Wilson hired himself out for five months to
learn to make leather shoes called brogans. Wilson learned the
trade in a few weeks, bought out his employment contract for $15, and
opened his own shop, intending to save enough money to study law.
Wilson had success as a shoemaker, and was able to save several
hundred dollars in a relatively short time. This success gave rise to
legends about Wilson's skill; according to one story that grew with
retelling, he once attempted to make one hundred pairs of shoes
without sleeping, and fell asleep with the one hundredth pair in his
hand. Wilson's shoe making experience led to the creation of the
political nicknames his supporters later used to highlight his working
class roots—the "Natick Cobbler" and the "Natick Shoemaker".
During this time Wilson read extensively and joined the Natick
Debating Society, where he developed into an accomplished speaker.
Wilson's health suffered as the result of the long hours he worked
making shoes, and he traveled to Virginia to recuperate. During a
stop in Washington, D.C., he heard Congressional debates on slavery
and abolitionism, and observed
African American families being
separated as they were bought and sold in the Washington slave
trade. Wilson resolved to dedicate himself "to the cause of
emancipation in America", and after regaining his health returned
to New England, where he furthered his education by attending several
New Hampshire academies, including schools in Strafford, Wolfeboro,
Having spent part of his savings on his traveling and schooling, and
having lost some as the result of a loan that was not repaid, Wilson
worked as a schoolteacher to get out of debt and begin saving money
again, intending to start a business of his own. Beginning with an
investment of only twelve dollars, Wilson started a shoe
manufacturing company. This venture proved successful, and Wilson
eventually employed over 100 workers.
Wilson became active politically as a Whig, and campaigned for William
Henry Harrison in 1840. He had joined the Whigs out of
disappointment with the fiscal policies of Democrats Andrew Jackson
and Martin Van Buren, and like most Whigs blamed them for the Panic of
1837. In 1840 he was also elected to the
Massachusetts House of
Representatives, and served from 1841 to 1842.
Wilson was a member of the
Massachusetts State Senate from 1844 to
1846 and 1850 to 1852. From 1851 to 1852 he was the Senate's
As early as 1845, Wilson had started to become disenchanted with the
Whigs as the party attempted to compromise on the slavery issue, and
as a Conscience Whig he took steps including the organization of a
convention in Concord opposed to the annexation of
Texas because it
would expand slavery. As a result of this effort, in late 1845
Wilson and abolitionist
John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier were chosen to submit
in person a petition to Congress containing the signatures of 65,000
Massachusetts residents opposed to
Wilson was a delegate to the 1848 Whig National Convention, but left
the party after it nominated slave owner
Zachary Taylor for president
and took no position on the Wilmot Proviso, which would have
prohibited slavery in territory acquired from Mexico in the
Mexican-American War. Wilson and Charles Allen, another
Massachusetts delegate, withdrew from the convention, and called for a
new meeting of anti-slavery advocates in Buffalo, which launched the
Free Soil Party.
Having left the Whig Party, Wilson worked to build coalitions with
others opposed to slavery, including Free Soilers, anti-slavery
Democrats, Barnburners from New York's Democratic Party, the Liberty
Party, the anti-slavery elements of the Whig Party, and anti-slavery
members of the
Know Nothing or Native American Party. Although
Wilson's new political coalition was castigated by "straight party"
adherents of the mainstream Democratic and Whig parties, in April 1851
it elected Free Soil candidate
Charles Sumner to the U.S. Senate.
Free Soil Party
Free Soil Party leaders Charles Sumner, Henry Ward
Beecher, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, Gerrit Smith,
Horace Greeley, and Henry Wilson.
From 1848 to 1851 Wilson was the owner and editor of the Boston
Republican, which from 1841 to 1848 was a Whig outlet, and from 1848
to 1851 was the main
Free Soil Party
Free Soil Party newspaper.
During his service in the
Massachusetts legislature, Wilson took note
that participation in the state militia had declined, and that it was
not in a state of readiness. In addition to undertaking legislative
efforts to provide uniforms and other equipment, in 1843 Wilson joined
the militia himself, becoming a major in the 1st Artillery Regiment,
which he later commanded with the rank of colonel. In 1846 Wilson was
promoted to brigadier general as commander of the Massachusetts
Militia's 3rd Brigade, a position he held until 1852.
In 1852, Wilson was chairman of the Free Soil Party's national
convention in Pittsburgh, which nominated
John P. Hale
John P. Hale for president
George Washington Julian
George Washington Julian for vice president. Later that year
he was a Free Soil candidate for U.S. Representative, and lost to Whig
Tappan Wentworth. He was a delegate to the state constitutional
convention in 1853, which proposed a series of political and
governmental reforms that were defeated by voters in a post-convention
popular referendum. He ran unsuccessfully for Governor of
Massachusetts as a Free Soil candidate in 1853 and 1854, but declined
to be a candidate again in 1855 because he had his sights set on the
U.S. Senator (1855–1873)
U.S. Senator Henry Wilson, photograph by Mathew Brady
In 1855 Wilson was elected to the
United States Senate
United States Senate by a coalition
of Free-Soilers, Know Nothings, and anti-slavery Democrats, filling
the vacancy caused by the resignation of Edward Everett. He had
briefly joined the Know-Nothings in an attempt to strengthen their
anti-slavery efforts, but aligned himself with the Republican
Party at its creation, formed largely along the lines of the
anti-slavery coalition Wilson had helped develop and nurture.
Wilson was reelected as a Republican in 1859, 1865 and 1871, and
served from January 31, 1855 to March 3, 1873, when he resigned in
order to begin his vice presidential term on March 4.
Abolitionism in the United States
In his first Senate speech in 1855, Wilson continued to align himself
with the abolitionists, who wanted to immediately end slavery in the
United States and its territories. In his speech, Wilson said he
wanted to abolish slavery "wherever we are morally and legally
responsible for its existence", including Washington, D.C., Wilson
also demanded repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, believing the
federal government should have no responsibility for enforcing
slavery, and that once the act was repealed tensions between slavery
proponents and opponents would abate, enabling those Southerners who
opposed slavery to help end it in their own time.
Further information: Bleeding Kansas
Preston Brooks challenged Wilson to a duel in 1856.
On May 22, 1856,
Preston Brooks brutally assaulted Senator Charles
Sumner on the Senate floor, leaving Sumner bloody and unconscious.
Brooks had been upset over Sumner's Crimes Against Kansas speech that
denounced the Kansas-Nebraska Act. After the beating, Sumner
received medical treatment at the Capitol, following which Wilson and
Nathaniel P. Banks, the Speaker of the House, aided Sumner to travel
by carriage to his lodgings, where he received further medical
attention. Wilson called the beating by Brooks "brutal, murderous,
and cowardly". Brooks immediately challenged Wilson to a duel.
Wilson declined, saying that he could not legally or by personal
conviction participate. In reference to a rumor that Brooks might
attack Wilson in the Senate as he had attacked Sumner, Wilson told the
press "I have sought no controversy, and I seek none, but I shall go
where duty requires, uninfluenced by threats of any kind." The
rumors proved unfounded, and Wilson continued his Senate duties
The attack on Sumner took place just one day after pro-slavery
Missourians killed one person in the burning and sacking of Lawrence,
Kansas. The attack on Sumner and the sacking of Lawrence were
later viewed as two of the incidents which symbolized the "breakdown
of reasoned discourse." This phrase came to describe the period when
activists and politicians moved past the debate of anti-slavery and
pro-slavery speeches and non-violent actions, and into the realm of
physical violence, which in part hastened the onset of the American
In 1858, Wilson was challenged to a duel by
Senator William M. Gwin.
In June 1858 Wilson made a Senate speech in which he suggested
corruption in the government of California and inferred complicity
on the part of Senator William M. Gwin, a pro-slavery Democrat who had
served as a member of Congress from Mississippi before moving to
California. Gwin was backed by a powerful Southern coalition of
pro-slavery Democrats called the Chivs, who had a monopoly on federal
patronage in California. Gwin accused Wilson of demagoguery, and
Wilson responded by saying he'd rather be thought a demagogue than a
thief. Gwin then challenged Wilson to a duel; Wilson declined in
the same terms he used to decline a duel with Preston Brooks. In
fact neither Gwin nor Wilson wanted to follow through, and
commentary about the dispute broke down along partisan lines. One
pro-Gwin editorial called the insinuation that Gwin was corrupt "a
most malignant falsehood", while a pro-Wilson editorial called his
reluctance to take part in a duel evidence that he was "honest" and
"conscientious", and had "more respect for the laws of this country
than his adversary". After several attempts to find a face-saving
compromise, Gwin and Wilson agreed to refer their dispute to three
senators who would serve as mediators. William H. Seward, John J.
Jefferson Davis were chosen, and produced an acceptable
solution. At their instigation, Wilson stated to the Senate that
he had not meant to impugn Gwin's honor, and Gwin replied by saying
that he had not meant to question Wilson's motives. In addition,
the mediators caused to be removed from the Senate record both Gwin's
remarks about demagoguery and Wilson's suggestion that Gwin was a
Wilson as Colonel and commander, 22nd
During the American Civil War, Wilson was Chairman of the Committee on
Military Affairs and the Militia, and later the Committee on Military
Affairs. In that capacity, he oversaw action on over 15,000 War and
Navy Department nominations that
Abraham Lincoln submitted during the
course of the war, and worked closely with him on legislation
affecting the Army and Navy.
After his 1862 resignation as Secretary of War,
Simon Cameron praised
Wilson's work aiding the War Department.
In the summer of 1861, after the congressional session ended, Wilson
Massachusetts and recruited and equipped nearly 2,300 men
in forty days. They were mustered in as the 22nd Massachusetts
Volunteer Infantry, which he commanded from September 27 to October
29, an honor sometimes accorded to the individual responsible for
raising and equipping a regiment. After the war he became an
early member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United
Wilson's experience in the militia, service with the 22nd
Massachusetts, and chairmanship of the Military Affairs Committee
provided him with more practical military knowledge and training than
any other Senator. He made use of this experience throughout the
war to frame, explain, defend and advocate for legislation on military
matters, including enlistment of soldiers and sailors, and organizing
and supplying the rapidly expanding
Union Army and Union Navy.
Winfield Scott, the Commanding General of the
United States Army since
1841, said that during the session of Congress that ended in the
Spring of 1861 Wilson had done more work "than all the chairmen of the
military committees had done for the last 20 years." On January
27, 1862, Simon Cameron, the recently resigned Secretary of War,
echoed Scott's sentiments when he said that "no man, in my opinion, in
the whole country, has done more to aid the war department in
preparing the mighty [Union] army now under arms than yourself
Rose O'Neal Greenhow
Rose O'Neal Greenhow and her daughter
In July 1861 Wilson was present for the Civil War's first major battle
at Bull Run Creek in Manassas, Virginia, an event which many senators,
representatives, newspaper reporters, and Washington society elite
traveled from the city to observe in anticipation of a quick Union
victory. Riding out in a carriage in the early morning, Wilson
brought a picnic hamper of sandwiches to feed Union troops.
However, the battle turned into a Confederate rout, forcing Union
troops to make a panicky retreat. Caught up in the chaos, Wilson
was almost captured by the Confederates, while his carriage was
crushed, and he had to make an embarrassing return to Washington
on foot. The result of this battle had a sobering effect on many
in the North, causing widespread realization that Union victory would
not be won without a prolonged struggle.
In seeking to place blame for the Union defeat, some in Washington
spread rumors that Wilson had revealed plans for the Union invasion of
Virginia to Washington society figure and southern spy Rose O'Neal
Greenhow. According to the story, although he was married, Wilson
had seen a great deal of Mrs. Greenhow, and may have told her about
the plans of Major General Irvin McDowell, which Mrs. Greenhow then
conveyed to Confederate forces under Major General P. G. T.
Beauregard. One Wilson biography suggests someone else—Wilson's
Senate clerk Horace White—was also friendly with Mrs. Greenhow and
could have leaked the invasion plan, although it is also possible that
neither Wilson nor White did so.
Equal rights activism
African Americans in the Civil War
On December 16, 1861, Wilson introduced a bill to abolish slavery in
Washington, D.C., something he had desired to do since his visit to
the nation's capital 25 years earlier. At this time fugitive
slaves from the war were being held in prisons of Washington, D.C.,
and faced the possibility of return to their owners. Wilson said of
his bill that it would "blot out slavery forever from the nation's
capital". The measure met bitter opposition from the Democrats who
remained in the Senate after those from the southern states vacated
their seats to join the Confederacy, but it passed. After passage
in the House, President Lincoln signed Wilson's bill into law on April
African American Union soldiers, Dutch Gap, Virginia, November 1864
On July 8, 1862, Wilson drafted a measure that authorized the
President to enlist
African Americans who had been held in slavery and
were deemed competent for military service, and employ them to
construct fortifications and carry out other military-related manual
labor, the first step towards allowing
African Americans to serve as
soldiers. President Lincoln signed the amendment into law on July
17. Wilson's law paid
African Americans in the military $10
monthly, which was effectively $7 a month after deductions for food
and clothing, while white soldiers were paid effectively $14
On January 1, 1863, Lincoln's
Emancipation Proclamation freed all
slaves held in bondage in the Southern states or territories then in
rebellion against the federal government. On February 2, 1863,
Congress built on Wilson's 1862 law by passing a bill authored by
Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, which authorized the
enlistment of 150,000
African Americans into the
Union Army for
service as uniformed soldiers.
On February 17, 1863, Wilson introduced a bill that would federally
fund elementary education for
African American youth in Washington,
D.C. President Lincoln signed the bill into law on March 3,
Wilson added an amendment to the 1864
Enrollment Act which provided
that formerly enslaved
African Americans from slave holding states
remaining in the Union who enlisted in the
Union Army would be
considered permanently free by action of the federal government,
rather than through individual emancipation by the states or their
owners, thus preventing the possibility of their re-enslavement.
President Lincoln signed this measure into law on February 24, 1864,
freeing more than 20,000 slaves in Kentucky alone.
African American Union Troops at Lincoln's second Inauguration,
Washington, D.C., March 4, 1865. Wilson successfully authored
legislation granting them equal pay in June 1864
Wilson supported the right of black men to join the uniformed
African Americans were permitted to serve in the
military, Wilson advocated in the Senate for them to receive equal pay
and other benefits. A Vermont newspaper portrayed Wilson's
position and enhanced his nationwide reputation as an abolitionist by
Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, in a speech in the U.S.
Senate on Friday, said he thought our treatment of the negro soldiers
almost as bad as that of the rebels at Fort Pillow. This is hardly an
African American Union soldier and his family ... circa
On June 15, 1864, Wilson succeeded in adding a provision to an
appropriations bill which addressed the pay disparity between whites
and blacks in the military by authorizing equal salaries and benefits
African American soldiers. Wilson's provision stated that "all
persons of color who had been or might be mustered into the military
service should receive the same uniform, clothing, rations, medical
and hospital attendance, and pay" as white soldiers, to date from
Wilson introduced a bill in Congress which would free in the Union's
slave-holding states the still-enslaved families of former slaves
serving in the Union Army. In advocating for passage, Wilson
argued that allowing the family members of soldiers to remain in
slavery was a "burning shame to this country ... Let us hasten
the enactment ... that, on the forehead of the soldier's wife and
the soldier's child, no man can write "Slave". President Lincoln
signed the measure into law on March 3, 1865, and an estimated 75,000
African American women and children were freed in Kentucky alone. 
Reconstruction and Civil Rights
Further information: Reconstruction Era, Assassination of Abraham
Lincoln, Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, and
African Americans in the
United States Congress
Wilson voted to impeach President Johnson
Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency after President Lincoln's
assassination in April 1865, Senators Sumner and Wilson both hoped
Johnson would support the policies of the Republican Party, since
Johnson, a Democrat, had been elected with Lincoln on a pro-Union
ticket. After the Civil War ended with a Union Victory in May
1865, the defeated former Confederacy was ruined. It had been
devastated economically, politically, and much of its infrastructure
had been destroyed during the war. The opportunity was ripe for
Congress and Johnson to work together on terms for Southern
restoration and reconstruction. Instead, Johnson launched his own
reconstruction policy, which was seen as more lenient to former
Confederates, and excluded
African American citizenship. When Congress
opened the session which began in December 1865, Johnson's policy
included a demand for admission of Southern Senators and
Representatives, nearly all Democrats, including many former
Confederates. Congress, still in Republican hands, responded by
refusing to allow the Southern Senators and Representatives to take
their seats, beginning a rift between Republicans in Congress and
the President. Wilson favored allowing only persons who had been
loyal to the
United States to serve in positions of political power in
the former Confederacy, and believed that Congress, not the
President, had the power to reconstruct the southern states. As a
result, Wilson joined forces with the Congressmen and Senators known
as Radical Republicans, those most strongly opposed to Johnson.
Henry Wilson (far left) defended Hiram Revels, the first African
American U.S. Senator.
On December 21, 1865, two days after the announcement that the states
had ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, Wilson
introduced a bill to protect the civil rights of African
Americans. Although Wilson's bill failed to pass Congress it was
effectively the same bill as the
Civil Rights Act of 1866
Civil Rights Act of 1866 that passed
Congress over Johnson's veto on April 9, 1866.
The rift between the Radicals, including Wilson, and President Johnson
grew as Johnson attempted to implement his more lenient Reconstruction
policies. Johnson vetoed the bill to establish the Freedmen's
Bureau, as well as other Radical measures to protect African American
civil rights—measures which Wilson supported. Wilson supported
the Senate effort to impeach Johnson, saying that Johnson was
"unworthy, if not criminal" in his conduct by resisting Congressional
Reconstruction measures, many of which were passed over his
vetoes. At the 1868 Senate trial Wilson voted for Johnson's
impeachment, but Republicans fell one vote short of the two-thirds
majority needed to remove Johnson from office. (With 36 "guilty" votes
needed for removal, the Senate results were 35 to 19 on all three
On May 27, 1868, Wilson spoke before the Senate to forcefully advocate
the readmission of Arkansas. Taking the lead on this issue, Wilson
urged immediate action, saying that the new state government was
constitutional, and was composed of loyal Southerners, African
Americans who were formerly enslaved, and Northerners who had moved
south. Wilson said he would not agree to Congressional adjournment
until all Southern states with reconstructed governments loyal to the
United States that adopted new constitutions were readmitted. The
New York Tribune called Wilson's speech "strong" and said that Wilson
steered the Senate away from "legal hair-splitting". Within a
month the Senate had acted, and Arkansas was readmitted on June 22,
1868. President Ulysses S. Grant, who succeeded Johnson in 1869, was
more supportive of Congressional Reconstruction, and the remaining
former Confederate states that had not rejoined the Union were
readmitted during his first term. Federal troops continued to be
based in the former Confederate states, allowing Republicans to
control state governments, and
African Americans to vote and hold
In 1870 Hiram Revels was elected to the U.S. Senate by the
reconstructed Mississippi Legislature. Revels was the first
African American elected to the Senate, and Senate Democrats attempted
to prevent him from being seated. Wilson defended Revels's
election, and presented as evidence of its validity signatures
from the clerks of the
Mississippi House of Representatives
Mississippi House of Representatives and
Mississippi State Senate, as well as that of Adelbert Ames, the
military Governor of Mississippi. Wilson argued that Revels's skin
color was not a bar to Senate service, and connected the role of the
Senate to Christianity's Golden Rule of doing to others as one would
have done to oneself. The Senate voted to seat Revels, and after
he took the oath of office Wilson personally escorted him to his desk
as journalists recorded the historic event.
Vice Presidential campaign, 1868
1868 Republican National Convention
1868 Republican National Convention and United
States presidential election, 1868
Prior to the presidential election of 1868, Wilson toured the South
giving political speeches. Many in the press believed Wilson was
promoting himself to be the Republican presidential candidate.
Wilson, however, supported the Civil War hero General Ulysses S.
Grant. During Reconstruction Grant supported Republican
Congressional initiatives rather than President Johnson's, and during
the dispute over the Tenure of Office Act which led to Johnson's
impeachment, Grant served as temporary Secretary of War, but then
returned the Department to Radical ally Edwin M. Stanton's control
over Johnson's strong objection, making Grant a favorite to many
The working-man's banner. For President, Ulysses S. Grant, "The Galena
Tanner." For Vice-President, Henry Wilson, "The Natick Shoemaker."
Wilson actually desired to be Vice President. During his
speech-making tour of the South, Wilson moderated his tougher
Reconstruction ideology, advocating a biracial society, while urging
African Americans and their white supporters to take a conciliatory
and peaceful approach with Southern whites who had favored the
Confederacy. Radicals, including Benjamin Wade, were stunned
by Wilson's remarks, believing blacks should not be subject to their
former white owners. At the Republican Convention, Wilson, Wade
and others competed for the Vice Presidential nomination, and Wilson
had support among Southern delegates, but he failed to win after five
ballots. Wade was also unable to win the convention vote, and Wilson's
delegates eventually switched their votes to Speaker of the House
Schuyler Colfax, who won the nomination and went on to win the general
election with Grant at the head of the ticket. After Grant and
Colfax won the 1868 election Wilson declined to serve as Secretary of
War in Grant's cabinet due to his desire to spend more time with Mrs.
Wilson during her lengthy final illness.
Vice Presidential campaign, 1872
1872 Republican National Convention
1872 Republican National Convention and United
States presidential election, 1872
Grant/Wilson campaign poster
In 1872 Wilson had a strong reputation among Republicans as a
principled but practical reformer who supported
African American civil
rights, voting rights for women, federal education aid, regulation of
businesses, and prohibition of liquor. In 1870, incumbent Vice
President Schuyler Colfax, said he would not run for another term,
creating the possibility of a contested nomination. In addition,
some Republicans, including Grant, desired another vice presidential
nominee because they believed Colfax had presidential aspirations and
might endanger Grant's reelection by bolting to the Liberal Republican
Party, which had formed because of opposition to charges of
corruption in the Grant administration and Grant's attempted Santo
Domingo annexation. The Liberal Republican convention, held in
Cincinnati in April, and headed by Carl Schurz, desired to replace
Grant because of corruption in his administration, end Reconstruction,
and return Southern state governments to white rule. They nominated
Horace Greeley for president and B. Gratz Brown for vice president.
Wilson standing behind Grant at Grant's second Inauguration
March 4, 1873
The Republican convention opened on June 5 in
Philadelphia and the
delegates were in an enthusiastic mood. For the first time in
party convention history, telegraph operators communicated
minute-by-minute proceedings to the nation. The Republican
platform supported amnesty for former Confederates, low tariffs, civil
service reform, Grant's Indian Peace policy, and civil rights for
African Americans. Grant was unanimously renominated on the
second day, to the loud cheers of the convention crowd. Wilson was
popular among Republicans for the vice presidential nomination, with
an appealing rags-to-riches story that included his rise from
indentured servant to owner and operator of a successful shoe making
business. On the first ballot, he defeated Colfax, who by then had
become an active candidate by renouncing his 1870 pledge and informing
his supporters that he would accept renomination if it was
offered. The Republicans believed Wilson's nomination, as a
politician of integrity coming from the anti-slavery movement, would
outflank the anti-corruption argument of the Liberal Republicans, who
counted Sumner among their members. Both Grant and his new running
mate Wilson were idealized by Republican posters, which depicted Grant
"the Galena Tanner" and Wilson "the Natick Shoemaker" carrying tools
and wearing workmen's aprons. (Grant's father operated a tanning
and leather goods manufacturing business, and before the Civil War
Grant had clerked in his father's Galena, Illinois, store.) In
July, in an unprecedented political party fusion influenced by Schurz,
the Democrats adopted the Liberal Republican platform and endorsed
that party's candidates. Grant's personal popularity proved
insurmountable in the general election, and Grant and Wilson went on
to overwhelmingly defeat Greeley and Brown in both the popular and
electoral college votes. Wilson's nomination for Vice President
had been intended to strengthen the Republican ticket, and was seen as
Crédit Mobilier scandal
During the 1872 campaign, Wilson's reputation for honesty was marred
by a September New York Sun article which indicated that he was
involved in the Crédit Mobilier scandal. Wilson was one of
several Representatives and Senators (mostly Republicans), including
Colfax, who were offered (and possibly took) bribes of cash and
discounted shares in the Union Pacific Railroad's Crédit Mobilier
subsidiary from Congressman
Oakes Ames during the late 1860s in
exchange for votes favorable to the Union Pacific during the building
of the First Transcontinental Railroad.
After denying to a reporter just a month before the election that he
had a Crédit Mobilier connection, Wilson admitted involvement when he
gave testimony before a Senate committee on February 13, 1873.
Wilson told members of the investigating committee that in December
1867 he had agreed to purchase $2,000 in Crédit Mobilier stock (20
shares) using Mrs. Wilson's money and in her name. According to
Wilson, his wife and he later had concerns about the propriety of the
transaction and had never taken possession of the actual stock
certificates, so Wilson asked Ames to cancel the transaction and Ames
refunded the $2,000 purchase price to Wilson. Wilson said he then
returned $814 to Ames – $748 in dividends and $66 in interest that
Mrs. Wilson had supposedly earned as profits, even though she had not
taken physical possession of her shares. Wilson further claimed that
because Mrs. Wilson had refused to take these proceeds from Ames,
Wilson took it upon himself to pay her $814 from his own funds to
compensate her for the profit she would have made if she had kept the
stock, which he said he felt obligated to do because his wife had
originally agreed to purchase the stock on his recommendation, and had
lost money by following his later recommendation to cancel the
Mrs. Wilson had died in 1870, so Senators had to rely on Wilson's word
and that of Ames, who corroborated Wilson. The Senate accepted
Wilson's explanation, and took no action against him, but his
reputation for integrity was somewhat damaged because of his initial
denial and later admission, though not sufficiently enough to prevent
him from becoming Vice President the following month.
Vice President Wilson
Onthank portrait 1875
Wilson served as Vice President from March 4, 1873, until his death.
As Vice President, Wilson's years of Senate experience enabled him to
perform as a "highly efficient and acceptable" presiding officer.
During his term he cast one tie-breaking vote, in favor of passing the
Civil Rights Act of 1875.
Illness and death
Wilson's ceremonial duties and work on History of the Rise and Fall of
Slave Power in America kept him extremely busy, working late hours
with little time to rest. In early May, 1873, Wilson attended
funeral services for
Salmon P. Chase
Salmon P. Chase in New York City. On May 19,
1873, he suffered a stroke which caused paralysis in his face, general
weakness, and impaired speech. His doctor ordered him to rest, but
Wilson allowed reporters to see him. The public first took notice
that Wilson was in ill health when he made an appearance in
May 30, and reporters were informed that Wilson was unable to work
or handle his correspondence. His health somewhat improved during
September and October, and on November 25 Wilson returned to
Washington for the opening of Congress. He was able to preside
over the Senate from December 1 through December 9, 1873, but was
unable to speak in public, including when he attended a Boston
commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the
Wilson participated in the White House state dinner for Hawaiian King
Kalākaua in December 1874.
Wilson remained in occasional ill health into 1874, but was able to
attend funeral services for
Charles Sumner in March. Throughout
his remaining tenure, Wilson's Senate attendance was irregular due to
his continued poor health. During periods when he was not ill,
Wilson was also able to resume some of his ceremonial duties,
including participating in a White House party for the King of Hawaii,
David Kalākaua, in December 1874. When Free Soil and abolitionist
Gerrit Smith died in
New York City
New York City on December 28, 1874,
Wilson traveled there to view the body and take part in funeral
Wilson's funeral procession passing New York City's St. Paul's Chapel.
Published in Harper's Weekly.
Wilson continued to go through bouts of ill health in 1875. While
working at the
United States Capitol on November 10, 1875, he suffered
what was believed to be a minor stroke, and was taken to the Vice
President's Room to recuperate. Over the next several days, his
health appeared to improve and his friends thought he was nearly
recovered. However, on November 22 at 7:20 AM, Wilson suffered a fatal
stroke while working at the Capitol. His remains were accorded the
honor of lying in state in the Capitol rotunda.
The subsequent funeral arrangements included military escorts as
Wilson's remains were transferred from one train station to another en
route from Washington to Natick, as well as nights lying in state. The
route included processions in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City,
and Boston, and nights lying in state at
Baltimore City Hall and
Independence Hall in Philadelphia. He was interred at Old Dell
Park Cemetery in Natick, Massachusetts.
Two other former Vice Presidents died in the same year as Wilson –
John C. Breckinridge and Andrew Johnson.
Wilson was the fourth Vice President to die in office, following:
George Clinton, who served under both
Thomas Jefferson and James
Madison; Elbridge Gerry, who served under James Madison; and William
R. King who served under Franklin Pierce.
Grave of Henry Wilson, Old Dell Park Cemetery, Natick, Massachusetts.
According to historian George H. Haynes, during his nearly thirty
years of public service Wilson practiced principled politics by
championing unpopular causes, sometimes at the expense of his personal
ambition. The causes Wilson supported included abolition of
slavery, and the rights of workers, both black and white.
Wilson was not hesitant to sever ties with old guard politicians and
form new coalitions in order to accomplish his objectives, even though
this gave him the reputation among opponents of being a "shifty"
politician. On the other hand, he was admired by fellow
abolitionists for his lifelong dedication to the cause, and workingmen
found inspiration in his career, since he had himself risen from a
manual laborer's background.
Wilson supported free public schools and libraries. In
Massachusetts he supported tax exemptions for the purchase and
maintenance of worker's tools and furniture, and the removal of
property qualifications for voting rights.
U.S. Senator George F. Hoar, a
Massachusetts political contemporary,
said Wilson was a "skilful, adroit, and practiced and constant
political manager" and "the most skilled political organizer in the
country" during his career.
Wilson is also recognized for being a political pioneer in techniques
for determining public opinion while he held office. In the 20th
century, the straw poll and scientific public opinion polls by
companies including Gallup became standard parts of political
campaigns and media coverage of elections. During his Senate career,
Wilson pioneered straw polling by sampling the views of Massachusetts
voters through in person conversations and unscientific written
surveys before making his own views known. These efforts were
credited with helping Wilson build coalitions, win elections, make
political allies, and determine the best time to act in the Senate on
issues of importance.
In 1891, the
Henry Wilson school, a facility for black students,
opened on what was then Central Street in the Washington County
portion of the District of Columbia (now 17th Street in the Adams
Morgan neighborhood). It was named for him in honor of his role
emancipating the district's slaves. The school was closed in 1956 due
to its small size, and shortly thereafter converted to the Morgan
Annex, a satellite location of the adjacent Thomas P. Morgan
School. The Morgan Annex was later closed; it was sold in
1989, and then reopened as the Morgan Annex Lofts condominiums.
On October 28, 1840, Wilson married Harriet Malvina Howe
(1824–1870). They were the parents of a son, Henry Hamilton
Wilson (1846–1866), who attended the Highland Military Academy in
During the Civil War, the younger Wilson attended the United States
Naval Academy, but left before graduating in order to accept a
commission in the Union Army. He attained success in the 31st and
104th Regiments of
United States Colored Troops, and was promoted to
lieutenant colonel and second-in-command of the 104th in July 1865.
After the war he accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the
regular Army's 6th Cavalry Regiment, and served until his death from a
ruptured appendix in 1866. Camp Wilson, an Army post in
Texas was named for Henry H. Wilson; it was later renamed Fort
In 1869 Henry and Harriet Wilson also became the de facto adoptive
parents of a girl, Evangelina, who was born between 1864 and 1866, and
took the name Eva Wilson. In a complicated series of events, in 1869 a
woman named Caroline Vreeland met Wilson's sister-in-law Nancy
Colbath, wife of his brother Samuel. Vreeland allowed Nancy Colbath to
adopt the child, with the understanding that she would be raised by
Henry Wilson and his wife. The child lived with the Wilsons until
shortly before Mrs. Wilson's death. Nancy Colbath then kept the child,
and received monthly payments from
Henry Wilson for her support.
Details later emerged which indicated the likelihood that Vreeland had
obtained a baby girl from an unknown parent or parents in
1866 so that her sister could use the baby in an attempt to extort a
man with whom she had had an affair. Vreeland went to prison for a
stabbing in the early 1870s. The child continued to live with Wilson,
and by 1874 he had asked Nancy Colbath to again be responsible for
her. Wilson agreed to provide them a suitable home and financial
support, but had not followed through by the time of his death.
Wilson requested that the executor of his will, nephew William L.
Coolidge, use most of Wilson's estate to ensure that Wilson's mother
in law was cared for, and that Eva receive an education and financial
support. Wilson had given Coolidge verbal instructions and
letters in addition to his will, and the situation became complicated
because Wilson's death occurred before he had incorporated these
additional instructions into his will. Coolidge acted as a trustee for
Eva, and by 1889, when she was more than 21 years old, she claimed she
was entitled to the remainder of Wilson's estate. Other Wilson family
members disagreed; because of the complexity of the details, Coolidge
Massachusetts courts for guidance. The courts
found in favor of Eva, by then married and known as Eva Carpenter, and
she received the bulk of the residue of the estate.
Among Wilson's authored and published works include: History of the
Anti-Slavery Measures of the Thirty-seventh and Thirty-eighth
Congresses, 1861–64 (1864); History of the Reconstruction Measures
of the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congresses, 1865–68 (1868); and
History of the Rise and Fall of the
Slave Power in America, (three
volumes, 1872–77). Reverend Samuel Hunt completed Volume III of
History of the Rise and Fall of the
Slave Power in America upon
Wilson's sudden death in November 1875.
History of the Anti-Slavery Measures of the Thirty-seventh and
Thirty-eighth Congresses, 1861–64
Wilson, Henry (1864). History of the Anti-Slavery Measures of the
Thirty-seventh and Thirty-eighth Congresses, 1861–64. Boston:
Walker, Wise, and Company.
History of the Reconstruction Measures of the Thirty-ninth and
Fortieth Congresses, 1865–68
Wilson, Henry (1868). History of the Reconstruction Measures of the
Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congresses, 1865–68. Connecticut:
Hartford:Hartford Publishing Company.
History of the Rise and Fall of the
Slave Power in America
Volume One :
Wilson, Henry (1872). History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power
in America. 1. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Volume Two :
Wilson, Henry (1874). History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power
in America. 2. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Volume Three :
Wilson, Henry; Hunt, Rev. Samuel (1877). History of the Rise and Fall
Slave Power in America. 3. Boston: James R. Osgood and
United States Army portal
American Civil War
American Civil War portal
Henry Wilson Shoe Shop
Martin Delany and
Thornton Chase also in the 104th USCI
^ a b c Haynes 1936, p. 322.
^ Abbott 1972, p. 1.
^ New Hampshire Adjutant General 1868, p. 203.
^ Haynes 1936, pp. 322–323.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Haynes 1936, p. 323.
^ McKay 1971, p. 11.
^ Myers 2005, p. 8.
^ Abbott 1965, p. 8.
^ Scales 1914, p. 501.
^ a b Abbott 1972, p. 6.
^ "Current events: George A. Colbath, a brother of the late ex-Vice
President Henry Wilson, died at Natick, Massachusetts". Logansport
Pharos-Tribune. Logansport, IN. November 21, 1894. p. 2.
(Subscription required (help)).
^ "The Grave (From the
Boston Traveler)". Atlanta Constitution.
Atlanta, GA. December 2, 1875. p. 1. (Subscription required
^ "Henry Wilson's Funeral: Burial at Dell Park Cemetery". New York
Times. New York, NY. December 2, 1875. p. 5. (Subscription
^ Giddings 1889, p. 551.
^ Hide and Leather 1919, p. 36.
^ Winks 1883, p. 362.
^ McKay 1971, p. 16.
^ National Cyclopedia 1895, p. 14.
^ Congressional Serial Set 1913, p. 1125.
^ Garrison, William Lloyd; Merrill, Walter M. (1979). The Letters of
William Lloyd Garrison: Let the Oppressed go Free; 1861–1867.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 141.
^ Thayer, William M. (1895). Turning Points in Successful Careers. New
York, NY: Thomas Y. Crowell & Company. p. 253.
^ Myers 2009, p. viii.
^ Foner, Eric (1995). Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of
the Republican Party before the Civil War. New York, NY: Oxford
University Press. p. 113. ISBN 9780199762262.
^ Nelson, Michael (1996). Guide to the Presidency. New York, NY:
Routledge: Taylor & Francis Groups. p. 1545.
^ Bolino, August C. (2012). Men of Massachusetts: Bay State
Contributors to American Society. iUniverse. pp. 77–78.
^ Nason, Elias; Russell, Thomas (1876). The Life and Public Services
of Henry Wilson: Late Vice-President of the United States. B. B.
Russell. p. 52.
^ Spooner, Walter W.; Smith, Ray B. (1922). National Political Parties
with their Platforms. Syracuse, NY: The Syracuse Press.
^ Hurd, Duane Hamilton (1890). History of Middlesex County,
Massachusetts. 1. Philadelphia, PA: J. W. Lewis & Co.
^ Barnes, William Horatio (1871). History of Congress: The Fortieth
Congress of the United States, 1867–1869. 1. New York, NY: W. H.
Barnes & Co. pp. 134–135.
^ Anbinder, Tyler (1992). Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know
Nothings and the Politics of the 1850s. New York, NY: Oxford
University Press. pp. 146–147.
^ McPherson, James M. (1988). Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War
Era. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 139.
^ Smalley, Eugene Virgil (1896). A History of the Republican Party
from its Organization to the Present Time. St. Paul, MN: E. V.
Smalley. pp. 94, 97.
^ Gienapp, William E. (1987). The Origins of the Republican Party,
1852–1856. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
pp. 135–139. ISBN 978-0-19-504100-2.
^ LeMay, Michael C. (2013). Transforming America: Perspectives on U.S.
Immigration. 1. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger. p. 230.
^ Byrd, Robert C.; Wolff, Wendy (1993). Senate, 1789–1989:
Historical Statistics, 1789–1992. 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Government
Printing Office. p. 262. ISBN 9780160632563.
^ a b c Haynes 1936, pp. 323–324.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Haynes 1936, p. 324.
^ Phelps, Charles A. (1872). Life and Public Services of Ulysses S.
Grant. New York, NY: Lee and Shepard. p. 362.
^ New York Times (06-07-1856).
^ Willard, Emma (1866). History of the United States: or, Republic of
America. New York, NY: A. S. Barnes & Co. p. 487.
^ The Contrarians (August 8, 2013). "The July Crisis Part 3: "Excuses"
for Treason". In the Corner.
^ "May 22, 1856: The Caning of Senator Charles Sumner". US Senate
History, 1851–1877. Historian of the
United States States Senate.
Retrieved July 17, 2016.
^ a b c d e f Myers 2005, p. 384.
^ Historian, U.S. House of Representatives; Historian, U.S. Senate.
"Biography, William McKendree Gwin". Biographical Directory of the
United States Congress.
United States House of Representatives and
United States Senate. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
^ Richards 2007, pp. 93, 183-184.
^ a b Hornellsville Weekly Tribune (06-24-1858), p. 3.
^ Shelden 2013, p. 31–32.
^ Washington Union (06-04-1858), p. 2.
^ 371. Herndon, William H. and Jesse Weik. Douglas L. Wilson and
Rodney O. Davis (Editors) Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews,
and Statements About
Abraham Lincoln (1998), § 444, p. 561.
^ Miller, Richard F. (2013). States at War: A Reference Guide for
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and
Vermont in the Civil War. 1. Hanover, NH: University Press of New
England. pp. 264, 267. ISBN 978-1-61168-324-0.
^ Nicholson, John P. (1887). Register of the Commandery of the State
of Pennsylvania from April 15, 1865 to May 5, 1887. Philadelphia, PA:
Pennsylvania Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the
United States. p. 6.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Hatfield SHO
^ "Visitors from Congress:
Henry Wilson (1812–1875)". Mr. Lincoln's
White House. The Lehrman Institute. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
^ a b McKay 1971, p. 233.
^ a b c d Nason Russell 1876, pp. 316–317.
^ a b Nason Russell 1876, p. 315.
^ John G. Nicolay and John Hay (2009), Life of
Abraham Lincoln Volume
VI, pp. 441–442
^ Allan C. Bogue (December 1987), "William Parker Cutler's
Congressional Diary of 1862–63," Civil War History, p. 329 (February
^ a b Nason Russell 1876, p. 326.
^ a b Nason Russell 1876, p. 331.
^ pp. 1805–6, United States. Congress. The Congressional Globe:
Containing the Debate and Proceedings of the First Session of the
Thirty-eight Congress. Edited by John C. Rives. Washington, DC:
Congressional Globe Printing Office, 1864.
^ The Burlington Free Press. "Our Colored Soldiers." April 29, 1864:
^ a b Nason Russell 1876, p. 334.
^ a b c Nason Russell 1876, p. 335.
^ a b c d e Nason Russell 1876, pp. 353–354.
^ a b Nason Russell 1876, pp. 354–355.
^ a b Nason Russell 1876, p. 355.
^ a b c d Myers 2009, p. 95.
^ a b Coffee 2014, p. 128.
^ a b c d e Myers 2009, p. 129.
^ Coffey, Walter (2014). The Reconstruction Years: The Tragic
Aftermath of the War Between the States. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse,
LLC. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-4918-5192-0.
^ Diller 1996, p. 1545.
^ Ball, W. S. (February 1, 1872). "Grant and Colfax". The New North
State. Greensboro, NC. p. 2. (Subscription required (help)). It
is now stated by authorities that Mr. Colfax, while not desiring
renomination, would not decline were it tendered.
^ Tulloch, Hugh (2006). The Routledge Companion to the American Civil
War Era. New York, NY: Routledge. p. 45.
^ a b c d e White 2016, p. 532.
^ Etheredge, Robert C. (2011). The American Challenge: Preserving the
Greatness of America in the 21st Century. Orinda, CA: Miravista Press.
p. 42. ISBN 978-0-9665804-4-0.
^ Republican Party Platform of 1872.
^ White 2016, pp. 532–533.
^ a b White 2016, p. 533.
^ Zuczek, Richard (2006). Encyclopedia of the Reconstruction Era. 1.
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 719.
^ Kionka, T. K. (2006). Key Command: Ulysses S. Grant's District of
Cairo. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press. p. 30.
^ White 2016, pp. 533–534.
^ Crawford, Jay Boyd (1880). The Credit Mobilier of America: Its
Origin and History, Its Work of. Boston, MA: C. W. Calkins & Co.
^ Dickerson, Donna Lee (2003). The Reconstruction Era: Primary
Documents on Events from 1865 to 1877. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
p. 339. ISBN 978-0-313-32094-1.
^ Purcell, L. Edward (2010). Vice Presidents: A Biographical
Dictionary. York, PA: Maple Press. p. 171.
^ a b New York Times (02-14-1873).
^ a b McFeely 1974, p. 146.
^ Indiana Historical Collections. 33. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana
Historical Commission. 1952. p. 405.
^ Crawford, Jay Boyd (1880). The Credit Mobilier of America: Its
Origin and History. Boston, MA: C. W. Calkins & Co.
^ McKay 1971, pp. 232–233.
^ Tsesis, Alexander (2004). The Thirteenth Amendment and American
Freedom: A Legal History. New York, NY: New York University Press.
p. 68. ISBN 978-0-8147-8276-7.
^ a b c d e Myers 2009, p. 212.
^ Blue 1987, p. 319.
^ Myers 2009, p. 213–214.
^ a b Myers 2009, p. 215.
^ Puleo 2011, Chapter 9.
^ "Our Royal Guest". Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. New York,
NY. January 2, 1875. p. 343.
^ Myers 2009, p. 221.
^ (Memorial Addresses; Life and Character of Henry Wilson, January 21,
1875. Washington Government Printing Office 1876)
^ "The Late Henry Wilson: Arrangements for the Funeral". New York
Times. November 25, 1875.
^ The Encyclopædia Britannica. 4 (11 ed.). New York, NY: The
Encyclopædia Britannica Company. 1910. p. 483.
^ Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of Andrew Johnson.
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1876.
^ HNN Staff (2002). "How Many Vice Presidents Died in Office?".
Historical News Network.
^ Annual Report of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia.
1904. p. 66. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
^ Lautier, Louis (2 October 1956). "'Every Child Shall be Given a
Chance' Miss Lyon Says". Washington Afro-American. Retrieved 14 July
^ U.S. House of Representatives (1965). Hearing Records of the
Subcommittees of the Committee on Appropriations. Washington, DC: US
Government Printing Office. p. 495.
^ Richard, Paul (June 2, 1990). "Art". Washington Post. Washington,
^ Heitman 1903, p. 1046.
^ Myers 2009, p. 55.
^ Uglow 2001, p. 106.
^ Myers, John L. (2009).
Henry Wilson and the Era of Reconstruction.
University Ptess of America: Lanham, MD. pp. 123–124.
^ Nason, Elias (July 1, 1878). "Biographical Sketch of Henry Wilson".
New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: David
Clapp & Son. 32: 267.
^ "Henry Wilson's Will". New York Times. New York, NY. February 13,
1889. p. 1. (Subscription required (help)).
^ "The Courts: Supreme Judicial Court -- Feb. 12 -- J. Devens; William
L. Coolidge vs. Vreeland, et al".
Boston Post. Boston, MA. February
13, 1889. p. 8. (Subscription required (help)).
^ Myers, John L. (2009).
Henry Wilson and the Era of Reconstruction.
University Press of America: Lanham, MD. p. 233.
^ Myers, John L. "The Writing of History of the Rise and Fall of the
Slave Power in America," Civil War History, June 1985, Vol. 31 Issue
2, pp 144–162
Abbott, Richard H. (1965). Cobbler in Congress: Life of Henry Wilson,
1812–1875. 1. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin—Madison.
Abbott, Richard H. (1972). Cobbler in Congress: The Life of Henry
Wilson, 1812–1875. Lexington, KY: University Press of
Blue, Frederick J. (1987). Salmon P. Chase: A Life in Politics. Kent,
OH: Kent University Press. p. 319.
Coffey, Walter (2014). The Reconstruction Years: The Tragic Aftermath
of the War Between the States. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, LLC.
p. 128. ISBN 978-1-4918-5192-0.
Diller, Daniel C. (1996). Michael Nelson, ed. Guide to the Presidency.
New York: Routledge. ISBN 1-56802-018-X.
Giddings, Edward J. (1889). American Christian Rulers: Or, Religion
and Men of Government. New York, NY: Bromfield & Co.
Hatfield, Mark O.; Senate Historical Office (1997). Vice Presidents of
the United States, 1789–1993
Henry Wilson (1873–1875) (PDF).
Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Haynes, George H. (1936). Dumas Malone, ed. Dictionary of American
Biography Henry Wilson. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Heitman, Francis Bernard (1903). Historical Register and Dictionary of
United States Army. 1. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office. p. 1046.
"The Natick Cobbler". Hide & Leather: the International Weekly;
Shoe Factories – Tanneries – Allied Industries. Chicago, Illinois:
Hide and Leather Publishing Co.: 36 June 21, 1919.
McKay, Ernest A. (1971). Henry Wilson: Practical Radical; A Portrait
of a Politician. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press. pp. 11, 16.
233. ISBN 978-0-8046-9010-2.
McFeely, William S. (1974). Woodward, C. Vann, ed. Responses of the
Presidents to Charges of Misconduct. New York, New York: Delacorte
Press. pp. 133–162. ISBN 0-440-05923-2.
Myers, John L. (2009).
Henry Wilson and the Era of Reconstruction.
Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, Inc.
Myers, John L. (2005).
Henry Wilson and the Coming of the Civil War.
Lanham, MD: University Press of America. p. 8.
Myers, John L. "The Writing of History of the Rise and Fall of the
Slave Power in America," Civil War History, June 1985, Vol. 31 Issue
2, pp 144–162
Richards, Leonard L. (2007). The
California Gold Rush and the Coming
of the Civil War. New York, New York: Vintage Books Random House Inc.
Nason, Elias; Russell, Thomas (1876). The Life and Public Services of
Henry Wilson. Boston: B.B. Russell.
New Hampshire Adjutant General (1868). Annual Report. Manchester, NH:
John B. Clarke. p. 203.
Puleo, Stephen (2011). A City So Grand: The Rise of an American
Boston 1850–1900. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
p. Chapter 9. ISBN 978-0-8070-0149-3.
Scales, John (1914). History of Strafford County, New Hampshire and
Representative Citizens. Chicago, Illinois: Richmond-Arnold Publishing
Company. p. 501.
Shelden, Rachel A. (2013). Washington Brotherhood: Politics, Social
Life, and the Coming of the Civil War. Chapel Hill, NC: University of
North Carolina Press. pp. 31–32.
The National Cyclopedia of American Biography. IV. New York, NY: James
T. White & Company. 1895. p. 14.
Uglow, Loyd M. (2001). Standing in the Gap: Army Outposts, Picket
Stations, and the Pacification of the
Texas Frontier, 1866-1886. Fort
Texas Christian University Press. p. 106.
United States Congressional Serial Set. Washington, DC: U.S.
Government Printing Office. 1913. p. 1125.
Wilson, Wilson, History of the Rise and Fall of the
Slave Power in
America, 2 vols. (Boston: J. R. Osgood and Co., 1873–77)
Winks, William Edward (1883). Lives of Illustrious Shoemakers. London,
England: Sampson Lowe, Marston, Searle & Rivington.
White, Ronald C. (2016). American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant.
Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-58836-992-5.
"Democratic Illiberality". Hornellsville Weekly Tribune. Hornelsville,
NY. June 24, 1858. p. 3. (Subscription required (help)).
"Senators Gwin and Wilson". Washington Union. Washington, DC. July 4,
1858. p. 2.
New York Times
"Brooks and Senator Wilson". New York Times. June 7, 1856.
"Credit Mobilier Senator Wilson". New York Times. February 14,
"Republican Party Platform of 1872". The American Presidency Project.
June 5, 1872.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Henry Wilson.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Henry Wilson
United States Congress. "
Henry Wilson (id: W000585)". Biographical
Directory of the
United States Congress. Retrieved on 2008-02-15
History of the antislavery measures of the Thirty-seventh and
Thirty-eighth United-States Congresses, 1861–64 by
Henry Wilson at
History of the reconstruction measures of the Thirty-ninth and
Fortieth Congresses, 1865–68 by
Henry Wilson at archive.org
History of the rise and fall of the slave power in America, Vol 1, Vol
2 and Vol 3 by
Henry Wilson at archive.org
"Wilson, Henry". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.).
"Wilson, Henry". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914.
Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of Henry Wilson, (Vice
President of the United States). 1876. U.S. Government Printing
The Life and Public Services of Henry Wilson, Late Vice President of
the United States. 1876. Elias Nason and Thomas Russell.
Tribute to the Memory of Henry Wilson, Late Vice President of the
United States. 1876. Union League Club of New York.
Henry Wilson Memorial Park
Henry Wilson's Regiment: History of the Twenty-second Massachusetts
Infantry, the Second Company Sharpshooters, and the Third Light
Battery in the War of the Rebellion. 1887. John L. Parker and Robert
G. Carter, authors. Rand Avery Company (Boston, MA), publisher.
Memorial addresses on the life and character of Henry Wilson,
(vice-president of the United States,) delivered in the Senate and
House of representatives, January 21, 1876, with other congressional
tributes of respect (1876) Washington: Government Printing Office
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Massachusetts
January 31, 1855 – March 3, 1873
Served alongside: Charles Sumner
George S. Boutwell
Republican nominee for
Vice President of the United States
William A. Wheeler
Vice President of the United States
March 4, 1873 – November 22, 1875
Persons who have lain in state or honor
United States Capitol rotunda
November 25–26, 1875
Vice Presidents of the
United States (list)
John Adams (1789–1797)
Thomas Jefferson (1797–1801)
Aaron Burr (1801–1805)
George Clinton (1805–1812)
Elbridge Gerry (1813–1814)
Daniel D. Tompkins
Daniel D. Tompkins (1817–1825)
John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun (1825–1832)
Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren (1833–1837)
Richard M. Johnson (1837–1841)
John Tyler (1841)
George M. Dallas
George M. Dallas (1845–1849)
Millard Fillmore (1849–1850)
William R. King
William R. King (1853)
John C. Breckinridge
John C. Breckinridge (1857–1861)
Hannibal Hamlin (1861–1865)
Andrew Johnson (1865)
Schuyler Colfax (1869–1873)
Henry Wilson (1873–1875)
William A. Wheeler
William A. Wheeler (1877–1881)
Chester A. Arthur
Chester A. Arthur (1881)
Thomas A. Hendricks
Thomas A. Hendricks (1885)
Levi P. Morton
Levi P. Morton (1889–1893)
Adlai Stevenson (1893–1897)
Garret Hobart (1897–1899)
Theodore Roosevelt (1901)
Charles W. Fairbanks
Charles W. Fairbanks (1905–1909)
James S. Sherman
James S. Sherman (1909–1912)
Thomas R. Marshall
Thomas R. Marshall (1913–1921)
Calvin Coolidge (1921–1923)
Charles G. Dawes
Charles G. Dawes (1925–1929)
Charles Curtis (1929–1933)
John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner (1933–1941)
Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace (1941–1945)
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman (1945)
Alben W. Barkley
Alben W. Barkley (1949–1953)
Richard Nixon (1953–1961)
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson (1961–1963)
Hubert Humphrey (1965–1969)
Spiro Agnew (1969–1973)
Gerald Ford (1973–1974)
Nelson Rockefeller (1974–1977)
Walter Mondale (1977–1981)
George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush (1981–1989)
Dan Quayle (1989–1993)
Al Gore (1993–2001)
Dick Cheney (2001–2009)
Joe Biden (2009–2017)
Mike Pence (2017–present)
United States Republican Party
of the RNC
T. B. Morton
Reagan/G. H. W. Bush (twice)
G. H. W. Bush/Quayle (twice)
G. W. Bush/Cheney (twice)
Parties by state
District of Columbia
Northern Mariana Islands
1896 (Saint Louis)
1928 (Kansas City)
1956 (San Francisco)
1964 (San Francisco)
1968 (Miami Beach)
1972 (Miami Beach)
1976 (Kansas City)
1988 (New Orleans)
1996 (San Diego)
2004 (New York)
2008 (St. Paul)
National Republican Congressional Committee
National Republican Senatorial Committee
Republican Conference of the
United States House of Representatives
Republican Conference of the
United States Senate
Republican Governors Association
Congressional Hispanic Conference
International Democrat Union
Log Cabin Republicans
Republican Jewish Coalition
Republican National Hispanic Assembly
Teen Age Republicans
Republican Main Street Partnership
Republican Majority for Choice
Republican Liberty Caucus
Republican National Coalition for Life
Republican Study Committee
The Wish List
2009 chairmanship election
2011 chairmanship election
2013 chairmanship election
2015 chairmanship election
2017 chairmanship election
Timeline of modern American conservatism
Republican Party portal
United States Senators from Massachusetts
Chairmen of the
United States Senate
United States Senate Committee on Armed Services
Military Affairs Committee
Naval Affairs Committee
Armed Services Committee
United States presidential election, 1872 (1876 →)
Ulysses S. Grant
Liberal Republican Party
Benjamin G. Brown
Charles F. Adams
Benjamin G. Brown
Salmon P. Chase
Benjamin G. Brown
Jeremiah S. Black
James A. Bayard
William S. Groesbeck
Third party and independent candidates
Labor Reform Party
Charles O'Conor (declined nomination)
People's (Equal Rights) Party
Other 1872 elections: House
ISNI: 0000 0000 6323 2192
BNF: cb16507379n (data)
US Congress: W000585