Hannibal Hamlin

Hannibal Hamlin

Infobox Officeholder
name =Hannibal Hamlin

imagesize =200px

caption =
order =15th
office =Vice President of the United States
term_start =March 4, 1861
term_end =March 4, 1865
president =Abraham Lincoln
predecessor =John C. Breckinridge
successor =Andrew Johnson
order2 =Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 6th district
term_start2 =March 4, 1843
term_end2 =March 3, 1847
predecessor2 =Alfred Marshall
successor2 =James S. Wiley
order3 =United States Senator
from Maine
term_start3 =June 8, 1848
term_end3 =January 7, 1857
March 4, 1857 – January 17, 1861
March 4, 1869 – March 3, 1881
predecessor3 =Wyman B. S. Moor
Amos Nourse
Lot M. Morrill
successor3 =Amos Nourse
Lot M. Morrill
Eugene Hale
order4 =26th Governor of Maine
term_start4 =January 8, 1857
term_end4 =February 25, 1857
predecessor4 =Samuel Wells
successor4 =Joseph H. Williams
birth_date =August 27, 1809
birth_place =Paris, Maine
death_date =July 4, 1891 (aged 81)
death_place =Bangor, Maine
nationality =
party =Democratic
spouse =Ellen Vesta Emery Hamlin
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater =
occupation =
profession =
religion = Unitarian

website =
footnotes =

Hannibal Hamlin (August 27, 1809ndash July 4, 1891) was the fifteenth Vice President of the United States, serving under President Abraham Lincoln from 1861-1865. He was the first Vice President from the Republican Party.

Prior to his election in 1860, Hamlin served in the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, and, briefly, as Governor of Maine.

Early life

Hamlin was born to Cyrus Hamlin and Anna Livermore [cite book |last=Merrill |first=Brian |authorlink= |title=From George W. to George W.: The Presidents and their Cabinets|publisher=CreateSpace.com |date=2008 |isbn=1438259298] on Paris Hill (now a National Register Historic District) in Paris, Maine, in Oxford County, a descendant of James Hamlin in the sixth generation, who had settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1639. Hamlin was a great nephew of U.S. Senator Samuel Livermore II of New Hampshire,fact|date=March 2008 and a grandson of Stephen Emery, Maine's Attorney General in 1839-40.

Hamlin attended the district schools and Hebron Academy there, and later managed his father's farm. For the next few years he worked at several jobs: schoolmaster, cook, woodcutter, surveyor, manager of a weekly newspaper in Paris, and a compositor at a printer's office. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1833. He began practicing in Hampden, a suburb of Bangor, where he lived until 1848.

Political beginnings

Hamlin's political career began in 1836, when he began a term in the Maine House of Representatives after being elected the year before. He served in the bloodless Aroostook War, which took place in 1839. Hamlin unsuccessfully ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1840 and left the State House in 1841. He later served two terms in the United States House of Representatives, from 1843-1847. He was elected to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy in 1848, and to a full term in 1851. A Democrat at the beginning of his career, Hamlin supported the candidacy of Franklin Pierce in 1852.

From the very beginning of his service in Congress he was prominent as an opponent of the extension of slavery; he was a conspicuous supporter of the Wilmot Proviso, and spoke against the Compromise Measures of 1850. In 1854 he strongly opposed the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise. After the Democratic Party endorsed that repeal at the 1856 Democratic National Convention, on June 12, 1856 he withdrew from the Democratic Party and joined the newly organized Republican Party, causing a national sensation.

The Republicans nominated him for Governor of Maine in the same year, and having carried the election by a large majority he was inaugurated in this office on the January 8, 1857. In the latter part of February, however, he resigned the governorship, and was again a member of the United States Senate from 1857 to January 1861.

Vice Presidency

In 1861, Hamlin became Vice President. Maine was the first state in the Northeast to be captured by the Republican Party, and the Lincoln-Hamlin ticket thus made sense in terms of regional balance. Hamlin was also a strong orator, and a known opponent of slavery. While serving as Vice President, Hamlin was not necessarily one of the chief advisers to President Abraham Lincoln, although he urged both the Emancipation Proclamation and the arming of African Americans. He strongly supported Joseph Hooker's appointment as commander of the Army of the Potomac, which was a dismal failure. It is believed that this was among the decisions that along with his identification with the Radical Republicans caused him to be dropped from the ticket in 1864. Lincoln left no record of why he was switching his Vice-President. He chose Andrew Johnson, a southern Democrat, probably with his mind on post-war reconciliation.

Hamilin's vice presidency would usher in a half-century of sustained national influence for the Maine Republican Party. In the 50-year period 1861-1911, Maine Republicans would occupy the offices of Vice President, Secretary of the Treasury (twice), Secretary of State, President pro tempore of the United States Senate, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (twice), and would field a national presidential candidate in James G. Blaine, a level of influence in national politics seldom matched by subsequent Maine political delegations.

Later life

Hamlin served in the Senate from 1869 to 1881. In June 1881, President James Garfield nominated him for the post of ambassador to Spain, in which capacity he served from 1881 to 1882. After he completed the posting he retired from public life to his home in Bangor, Maine. He continued, however, to be a behind-the-scenes influence in the local and state Republican Party. Hamlin died while playing cards at the Tarratine Club in downtown Bangor.


Hamlin had three sons who grew to adulthood: Charles Hamlin, Cyrus Hamlin, and Hannibal Emery Hamlin. Charles and Cyrus served in the Union forces during the Civil War, both becoming generals. Cyrus was among the first Union officers to argue for the enlistment of black troops, and himself commanded a brigade of freemen in the Mississippi River campaign. Charles and sister Sarah were present at Ford's Theater the night of Lincoln's assassination. Hannibal Emery Hamlin was Maine Attorney General from 1905 to 1908. Hannibal Hamlin's great-granddaughter Sally Hamlin was a child actor who made many spoken word recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company in the early years of the 20th century.

Hannibal's older brother, Elijah Livermore Hamlin, was president of the Mutual Fire Insurance Co. of Bangor, and the Bangor Instutution for Savings. [Augustus C. Smith, "Bangor, Brewer, and Penobscot Co. Directory, 1859-60" (Bangor, 1859)] He was twice an unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Maine in the late 1840s, though he did serve as Mayor of Bangor in 1851-52. The brothers were members of different political parties (Hannibal a Democrat, and Elijah a Whig) before both becoming Republican in the later 1850s. [Obituary of Elijah L. Hamlin, "New York Times", July 23, 1872]

Hannibal's nephew (Elijah's son) Augustus Choate Hamlin was a physician, artist, minerologist, author, and historian. He was also Mayor of Bangor in 1877-78, and a founding member of the Bangor Historical Society. [Warren King Moorhead, "A Report on the Archeology of Maine", p. 34] Augustus served as surgeon in the 2nd Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, eventually becoming a U.S. Army Medical Inspector, and later the Surgeon General of Maine. He wrote books about Andersonville Prison and the Battle of Chancellorsville. [Augustus Choate Hamlin, "The Battle of Chancellorsville" (Bangor, Me., 1896)]

Hannibal's first cousin Cyrus Hamlin, who was a graduate of the Bangor Theological Seminary, became a missionary in Turkey, were he founded Robert College. He later became president of Middlebury College in Vermont. His son, A.D.F. Hamlin, Hannibal's second cousin, became a professor of architecture at Columbia University and a noted architectural historian.

There are biographies of Hamlin by his grandson Charles E. Hamlin (published 1899, reprinted 1971) and by H. Draper Hunt (published 1969).

Monuments and memorials

Hamlin County, South Dakota is named in his honor, as is Hamlin, New York. There are statues in Hamlin's likeness in the United States Capitol and in a public park (Norumbega Mall) in Bangor. There is also a building on the University of Maine Campus, in Orono, named Hannibal Hamlin Hall.

Hamlin's house in Bangor subsequently housed the Presidents of the adjacent Bangor Theological Seminary. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

External links

* [http://www.mlwh.org/inside.asp?ID=89&subjectID=2 Biography at Mr. Lincoln's White House]
* [http://www.archive.org/details/hannibalhamlin00hamlrich "The life and times of Hannibal Hamlin " by Charles Eugene Hamlin]
* [http://bangorinfo.com/Focus/focus_hannibal_hamlin.html Bangor in Focus: Hannibal Hamlin]
*Find A Grave|id=2206


before=Alfred Marshall
after=James S. Wiley
years=March 4, 1843ndash March 3, 1847 (obsolete district)
U.S. Senator box
before=Wyman B. S. Moor
after=Amos Nourse
alongside=James W. Bradbury and William P. Fessenden
years=June 8, 1848ndash January 7, 1857
U.S. Senator box
before=Amos Nourse
after=Lot M. Morrill
alongside=William P. Fessenden
years=March 4, 1857ndash January 17, 1861
U.S. Senator box
before=Lot M. Morrill
after=Eugene Hale
alongside=William P. Fessenden, Lot M. Morrill and James G. Blaine
years=March 4, 1869ndash March 3, 1881
succession box|title=Republican Party vice presidential candidate
before=William L. Dayton
after=Andrew Johnson(1)
years=1860 (won)
succession box
title=United States Minister to Spain
before=Lucius Fairchild
after=John W. Foster
years=June 30, 1881ndash October 17, 1882

NAME= Hamlin, Hannibal
SHORT DESCRIPTION=first Republican to serve as Vice President of the United States
DATE OF BIRTH=birth date|1809|8|27|mf=y
DATE OF DEATH=death date|1891|7|4|mf=y
PLACE OF DEATH=Bangor, Maine, U.S.

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