Blair, Francis Preston

Blair, Francis Preston

, 1791–1876, American journalist and politician
Blair, Francis Preston, 1791–1876, American journalist and politician, b. Abingdon, Va. Through the Frankfort, Ky., journal Argus of Western America, which he edited with Amos Kendall, Blair was an ardent supporter of Andrew Jackson. At William T. Barry's suggestion, he traveled to Washington and established the Washington (D.C.) Globe in Dec., 1830, which exerted great political influence as the Jacksonian “court journal” until 1841. Along with Kendall, Blair also was one of the leading members of the Kitchen Cabinet. In Washington he also founded the Congressional Globe (now the Congressional Record ), in which the daily proceedings of Congress were recorded. When James K. Polk became President, Blair, a Van Buren Democrat, was forced to sell his interest in the Washington Globe to Thomas Ritchie. Later, because of his antislavery views, Blair was one of the founders of the Republican party, and he presided over its first national convention in 1856. In 1865 he engineered the futile Hampton Roads Peace Conference. An influential adviser to President Lincoln during the early years of the Civil War, he eventually returned to the Democratic party because he was opposed to radical Republicanism.

Bibliography

See W. E. Smith, The Francis Preston Blair Family in Politics (1933); A. M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Jackson (1945); B. J. Hendrick, Lincoln's War Cabinet (1946).


Blair, Francis Preston

, 1821–75, American political leader
Blair, Francis Preston, 1821–75, American political leader and Union general in the Civil War, b. Lexington, Ky., son of Francis Preston Blair (1791–1876). A St. Louis lawyer, Blair led the Free-Soil party in Missouri in 1848, served as state legislator (1852–56), and as Congressman (1857–59; June, 1860; 1861–62). In Congress he attacked slavery as harmful to the interests of poor whites and became an energetic Lincoln supporter in 1860. Instrumental in keeping Missouri loyal to the Union by seizing, with Nathaniel Lyon, secessionist Camp Jackson and the U.S. arsenal early in 1861, he was appointed major general of volunteers (Nov., 1862) and served in the Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Atlanta campaigns. After the Civil War, Blair was denied political preferment by the radical Republicans and in 1868 ran for Vice President on the unsuccessful Democratic ticket with Horatio Seymour. He helped overthrow the radicals in Missouri in 1870 and was elected to the state legislature, which, in turn, sent him to the U.S. Senate (1871–73).

Bibliography

See W. E. Smith, The Francis Preston Blair Family in Politics (1933); B. J. Hendrick, Lincoln's War Cabinet (1946).

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Blair, Francis Preston

(1791–1876) journalist; born in Abingdon, Va. A founding editor of the Washington, D.C. Globe, a Democratic party paper, in 1830, he was a member of President Andrew Jackson's "kitchen cabinet" of advisers. For a time he also published the Congressional Globe, a predecessor of the Congressional Record. Opposed to the extension of slavery, he helped organize the Republican Party and became a close adviser to Abraham Lincoln.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.