James Gillespie Blaine
U.S. congressman, senator, secretary of state and presidential candidate for the Republican Party.
Biography in Brief
Born: January 31, 1830 in West Brownsville, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: January 27, 1893 in Washington, D.C., USA
- Washington College, Washington, PA, USA
(now known as Washington and Jeffereson college.)
- 1854: Becomes editor and part owner of Kennebec Journal, crusading Republican journal in Augusta, Maine, hometown of his wife of four years, Harriet Stanwood.
- 1856: attends the first national convention of the reorganized Republican party.
- 1858: elected to the Maine state legislature.
- 1860: elected as Speaker of the Maine state legislature.
- 1862: elected to the House of Representatives.
- 1868: elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.
- 1876: nominated at the Republican Convention, losing to Rutherford B. Hayes due to political scandal and illness.
- 1876: appointed to the Senate, then elected.
- 1880: nominated at the Republican Convention, turning his support to James A. Garfield (elected president)
- 1881: resigned from Senate, appointed secretary of State.
- 1881: forced to resign after assassination of James A. Garfield.
- 1884: nominated for President by Republicans, losing to Democrat Grover Cleveland.
- 1889: appointed secretary of State by Benjamin Harrison, chaired the first Pan-American conference
- 1892: resigned position as secretary of State
- Twenty Years in Congress: From Lincoln to Garfield
- Political Discussions: Legislative, Diplomatic and Popular
Characterization of Blaine's contribution
"Blaine, James Gillespie" in Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 3, p 753.
Blaine envisaged a system of inter-American arbitration which might relieve international tensions, prevent future conflict and strengthen the Monroe Doctrine. He also hoped to increase commercial relations between the United States and its southern neighbors and to create a more favourable balance of trade.
Though an ardent protectionist, he nevertheless foresaw that reciprocity was essential to the improvement of trade relations with Latin America. He fought hard to include a reciprocity clause in the high-tariff McKinley bill of 1890. His plea for greater reciprocity was heartily endorsed by midwestern farmers who desired an enlarged market for their produce. Blaine's stand prevented the wholesale defection [from the Republican Party] of the midwestern vote in succeeding elections