Trumbull, Lyman

Trumbull, Lyman,

1813–96, U.S. Senator from Illinois (1855–73), b. Colchester, Conn. He taught school in Georgia, was admitted to the bar, and in 1837 moved to Illinois. After serving in the state legislature (1840), as Illinois secretary of state (1841–43), and as a justice of the state supreme court (1848–53), he was elected (1854) to the House of Representatives but was appointed to the Senate before Congress convened. Formerly a Democrat, he became a Republican and a staunch supporter of Abraham Lincoln. Often allied with the radical Republicans on Reconstruction measures, he nevertheless refused to follow them in their attempt to remove Andrew Johnson from office. In the impeachment trial he was one of the handful of Republican Senators who supported the President. In 1872 he was a leader of the Liberal Republican partyLiberal Republican party,
in U.S. history, organization formed in 1872 by Republicans discontented at the political corruption and the policies of President Grant's first administration. Other disaffected elements were drawn into the party.
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, but eventually returned to the Democratic fold. He was one of the counsels for Samuel J. Tilden in the contested Hayes-Tilden election of 1876.


See biographies by M. M. Krug (1965) and R. J. Roske (1979).

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Trumbull, Lyman

(1813–96) U.S. senator, jurist; born in Colchester, Conn. He first went to Georgia to teach school (1833–37), but after studying law he moved to Illinois to practice there and was named to that state's supreme court. Originally a Democrat, he opposed his party on the slavery issue and was appointed to the U.S. Senate as a free-soil Democrat (Ill.; 1855–61). He was reelected senator as a Republican (1861–67) but after the Civil War he came to reject the Radical Republicans' policies, voted to acquit President Johnson, and returned to the Democratic Party for his final term (1867–73). He served as Samuel Tilden's lawyer during the contested presidential election of 1876 and he ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate for governor of Illinois in 1880.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.