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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesMinnesota / Pennsylvania

Alexander RAMSEY

(1815-1903)
Senate Years of Service:
1863-1875
Party:
Republican

RAMSEY, Alexander, a Representative from Pennsylvania and a Senator from Minnesota; born near Harrisburg, Pa., September 8, 1815; attended the common schools and Lafayette College, Easton, Pa.; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1839 and commenced practice in Harrisburg; secretary to the electoral college of Pennsylvania in 1840; clerk of the State house of representatives in 1841; elected from Pennsylvania as a Whig to the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Congresses (March 4, 1843-March 3, 1847); declined renomination in 1846; Territorial Governor of Minnesota 1849-1853; mayor of St. Paul 1855; unsuccessful candidate for election as governor of Minnesota in 1857; Governor of Minnesota 1860-1863; elected in 1863 as a Republican to the United States Senate; reelected in 1869 and served from March 4, 1863, to March 3, 1875; chairman, Committee on Post Office and Post Roads (Thirty-ninth through Forty-third Congresses), Committee on Revolutionary Claims (Thirty-ninth Congress); appointed Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President Rutherford Hayes 1879-1881; chairman of the Edmunds Commission, dealing with the question of Mormonism and polygamy in Utah 1882-1886, when he resigned; president of the Minnesota Historical Society 1849-1863, 1891-1903; delegate to the centennial celebration of the adoption of the Federal Constitution in 1887; died in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minn., April 22, 1903; interment in Oakland Cemetery.

Bibliography

Dictionary of American Biography; Haughland, John C. “Alexander Ramsey and the Republican Party, 1855-1875.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Nebraska, 1976; Swanholm, Marx. Alexander Ramsay and the Politics of Survival. Minnesota Historical Sites Pamphlet Series, no. 13. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1977.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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