Reed, Thomas (Brackett)(1839–1902) U.S. representative; born in Portland, Maine. After working his way through Bowdoin College, he went to California where he became a lawyer in 1863, returning to Maine to practice law and serve in the state legislature. A Republican attorney general (1870–73), he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1876–99). A fierce debater, he used his prosecutorial skills to uncover Democratic fraud in the 1876 presidential elections in Louisiana, connecting Samuel Tilden's nephew to dirty tricks, thereby guaranteeing a Republican victory in 1880. In the reconstruction period, he supported the passage of laws to guarantee blacks' voting rights and opposed funds to compensate the College of William and Mary for war damage. Fiscally conservative, he opposed measures to increase currency through greenbacks or free silver. A member of the Committee on Rules, he supported measures to limit filibustering by the Democrats, thereby securing passage of a protectionist tariff bill in 1883.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.