Baker, Edward Dickinson

Baker, Edward Dickinson

(1811–61) U.S. representative/senator, soldier; born in London, England. Brought to the U.S.A. as a child, he became a lawyer and practiced in Springfield, Ill., where he became a friend of Abraham Lincoln. After defeating Lincoln in a Whig party primary for the U.S. House of Representatives, he took the seat in 1845 but resigned in 1846 to volunteer for service in the Mexican War. Lincoln (who would name his second son after Baker) took the seat (1847–49) but Dickinson regained it (1849–51)—in part because of Lincoln's opposition to the war. Baker moved out to the West Coast where he practiced law in San Francisco and represented Oregon as a Republican in the U.S. Senate (1860–61), resigning to serve as a colonel with a California volunteer unit. He was killed on October 21 at Ball's Bluff, Va.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.