Name:  Daniel Wolsey Voorhees

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Born:  September 26, 1827
Died:  April 10, 1897
Complete HarpWeek Biography:
Daniel Voorhees, a U.S. representative and senator from Indiana, was born to Rachel Elliott Voorhees and Stephen Voorhees, farmers, in Liberty Township, Ohio, but the family soon moved to a farm outside Veedersburg, Indiana. Young Voorhees attended common schools in the town, then graduated in 1849 from Indiana Asbury (now DePauw) University. Two years later he was admitted to the Indiana state bar and joined the firm of Edward Hannegan, a former U.S. senator, where he gained a reputation as a talented criminal lawyer. In 1853 Voorhess was elected as the countyís prosecuting attorney, then in 1856 was nominated for Congress by the Democrats, but lost. He moved to Terre Haute and in 1858 was appointed U.S. district attorney.

In 1860 Voorhees won the first of three consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. During the Civil War, the Democratic Voorhees opposed the Lincoln administrationís policies of habeas corpus suspension, emancipation, the military draft, and the financing of the war. After losing a reelection bid in 1866, he was returned to Congress in 1868 and 1870 before losing again in 1872. During that time, he stood firmly against Radical Republican policies for Reconstruction.

Voorhees practiced law in Indiana until he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1877 to fill the vacancy created upon the death of Senator Oliver Morton. Two years later he was elected to a full term and, elected twice more, served until his death in April 1897. Nicknamed the "Tall Sycamore of the Wabash," Voorhees opposed civil service reform and promoted legislation he considered favorable to farmers, including low tariffs and increased "soft" money. In 1893, however, Democratic President Grover Cleveland convinced a reluctant Voorhees, chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, to back repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. 

Source consulted: American National Biography; Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.











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