The New Student's Reference Work/Blaine, James Gillespie

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James G. Blaine

Blaine (blān), James Gillespie, an American statesman, was born at West Brownsville, Pa., Jan. 31, 1830. He graduated at Washington College in 1847, and then taught for two years in the Western Military Institution, Georgetown, Ky. After studying law and being admitted to the bar, he removed to Augusta, Me., where he took charge of the Kennebec Journal. When the Republican party was formed, he became prominent as a public speaker; was chairman of the state committee of that party; and served four years in the state legislature, being speaker of the house for two years. He edited the Portland Advertiser, and in 1862 entered Congress, where he soon showed himself an able and ready debater, and, on the death of Thaddeus Stevens, became leader of his party in the house. Prom 1869 to 1875 he was speaker, and in the latter year was chosen senator from Maine. During the short administration of President Garfield, Blaine was secretary of state, and, on the death of his chief, he retired to his home in Augusta, having first delivered an eulogy on Garfield before the two houses of Congress, He now began to prepare his Twenty Years of Congress, a review of American political history during 1861–81, and had issued the first volume when he was nominated for the presidency in 1884, but was defeated by Mr. Cleveland. The next few years were spent in literary work and in visiting Europe, and when Mr. Harrison became president, in March, 1889, Blaine again became secretary of state. Here he carried out the scheme of a Pan-American congress, which he had begun in his former short term, and was chosen chairman of the meeting. The policy of reciprocity with other American states, at his suggestion, became a feature of the McKinley tariff law. In June, 1892, Blaine resigned from the cabinet. He died at Washington, D. C., Jan. 28, 1893.