Morton, Oliver Perry

Morton, Oliver Perry,

1823–77, American political leader, b. Salisbury, Ind. He was admitted (1847) to the bar and began practice in Centerville, Ind. Morton helped organize the Republican party in Indiana and was its unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1856. When Gov. Henry S. Lane went to the Senate in 1861, Morton, as lieutenant governor, succeeded him; he was elected to the office in his own right in 1864. Despite having to contend with a hostile Democratic legislature for part of his tenure, he was one of the ablest of the Civil War governors and a strong supporter of President Lincoln. In 1867 he resigned to enter the Senate, where he served till his death. There, as one of the leading radical Republicans, he fostered uncompromising Reconstruction legislation and was prominent in the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. He was a member of the electoral commission in the disputed presidential contest of 1876.


See biography by W. D. Foulke (1899, repr. 1974); W. B. Hesseltine, Lincoln and the War Governors (1948).

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Morton, Oliver (Hazard) Perry (Throck)

(1823–77) public official; born in Salisbury, Ind. He left the Democratic Party to help found the new Republican Party. As the Republican wartime governor of Indiana (1861–66) he triumphed over an unruly legislature bent on frustrating his support of the Federal war effort. Partially paralyzed (1865), he went to France for treatment; while there, he helped to persuade the French to withdraw their troops from Mexico. He served in the U.S. Senate (Rep., Ind.; 1867–77) and was one of President Grant's trusted advisers.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.