Seymour, Horatio

Seymour, Horatio

(sē`môr, sē`mər), 1810–86, American politician, b. Pompey Hill, N.Y. He studied law at Utica, N.Y. and was admitted to the bar in 1832. A Democrat, he was military secretary to Gov. William L. Marcy (1833–39), was thrice elected to the New York state assembly (1841, 1844, 1845), and was chosen mayor of Utica in 1842. Elected governor in 1852, he was criticized for vetoing a prohibition bill and was defeated for reelection. Again elected (1862) governor, Seymour declared the Emancipation Proclamation unconstitutional, opposed federal conscription as an unwarranted invasion of states' rights (but vigorously promoted voluntary enlistments), and denounced the military arrest of Clement L. VallandighamVallandigham, Clement Laird
, 1820–71, American political leader, leader of the Copperheads in the Civil War, b. New Lisbon (now Lisbon), Ohio. He became (1842) a lawyer, was elected to the Ohio legislature (1845, 1846), and was editor (1847–49) of the Dayton
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. His speech in New York City on the occasion of the draft riotsdraft riots,
in the American Civil War, mob action to protest unfair Union conscription. The Union Conscription Act of Mar. 3, 1863, provided that all able-bodied males between the ages of 20 and 45 were liable to military service, but a drafted man who furnished an acceptable
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 (July, 1863) played into Republican hands and was a factor in his defeat (1864). He was the Democratic presidential candidate in 1868, and after his defeat by Ulysses S. Grant he assumed the role of elder statesman in his party.

Bibliography

See biography by S. Mitchell (1938, repr. 1970).

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Seymour, Horatio

(1810–86) governor; born in Pompey Hill, N.Y. (brother-in-law of Roscoe Conkling). A protégé of William Marcy and an "Albany Regency" Democrat, he served in the New York Assembly (1842, 1844–45) and gained a reputation for compromise and moderation. As Democratic governor (1853–55), he improved the prison system and opposed prohibition. He worked in business but remained a respected figure in Democratic politics. Elected to a second term as New York's governor (1863–65), he provided the Union army with soldiers and financing even though he was initially opposed to the war and to Lincoln's war powers. He made an unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination for president in 1868, helped force Boss Tweed from power, and helped his own protégé, Grover Cleveland, become president.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.