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Schuyler Colfax

American politician

Died when: 61 years 296 days (741 months)
Star Sign: Aries

 

Schuyler Colfax

Schuyler Colfax Jr. (;March 23, 1823 – January 13, 1885) was an American journalist, businessman, and politician who served as the 17th vice president of the United States from 1869 to 1873, and prior to that as the 25th speaker of the House of Representatives from 1863 to 1869.

Originally a Whig and later a Republican, he was the U.S.Representative for Indiana's 9th congressional district from 1855 to 1869.

Colfax was known for his opposition to slavery while serving in Congress, and was a founder of the Republican Party.

During his first term as speaker he led the effort to pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery.

When it came before the House for a final vote in January 1865, he emphasized his support by casting a vote in favor—by convention the speaker votes only to break a tie.

Chosen as Ulysses S.Grant's running mate in the 1868 election, the pair won easily over Democratic Party nominees Horatio Seymour and Francis Preston Blair Jr.

As was typical during the 19th century, Colfax had little involvement in the Grant administration.In addition to his duties as president of the U.S.

Senate, he continued to lecture and write for the press while in office.Believing Grant would only serve one term, in 1870 Colfax attempted unsuccessfully to garner support for the 1872 Republican presidential nomination by telling friends and supporters he would not seek a second vice presidential term.

When Grant announced that he would run again, Colfax reversed himself and attempted to win the vice-presidential nomination, but was defeated by Henry Wilson.

An 1872–73 Congressional investigation into the Crédit Mobilier scandal identified Colfax as one of several federal government officials who in 1868 accepted payments of cash and discounted stock from the Union Pacific Railroad in exchange for favorable action during the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

Though he vociferously defended himself against charges, his reputation suffered.Colfax left the vice presidency at the end of his term in March 1873, and never again ran for office.

Afterward he worked as a business executive and became a popular lecturer and speechmaker.Colfax suffered a heart attack and died at a railroad station in Mankato, Minnesota, on January 13, 1885, while en route to a speaking engagement in Iowa.

He is one of only two persons to have served as both speaker of the House and vice president, the other being John Nance Garner.


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