Name:  Hannibal Hamlin

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Born:  August 27, 1809
Died:  July 4, 1891
Complete HarpWeek Biography:
Hannibal Hamlin was a U.S. representative and a U.S. senator from Maine and U.S. vice president (1861-1865) under President Abraham Lincoln. Hamlin worked at a variety of jobs before being admitted to the bar in 1833. As a Democrat he served in Maine's lower house (1836-1841), occasionally as its speaker (1837, 1839, 1840), in the U.S. House of Representatives (1843-1847), and in the U.S. Senate (1848-1856). In 1856 he switched to the Republican party and was elected as Maine's first Republican governor. After less than two months in office he was elected to the U.S. Senate (1857-1861).

In 1860 he was selected by the Republicans to be the vice-presidential running-mate of Abraham Lincoln. Because of his darker complexion, rumors circulated that he was part black. In 1864, hoping to gain the support of War Democrats, the Republican party replaced Hamlin with Democrat Andrew Johnson, who ran with Lincoln under the National Union label. After the Civil War Hamlin again served in the U.S. Senate (1869-1881) where he supported the Reconstruction policies of the Radical Republicans. He ended his political career as U.S. minister to Spain (1881-1882).

Source consulted: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress; The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, ed. William A. DeGregorio.











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