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About George D. Robinson, Governor
George Dexter Robinson (born George Washington Robinson; January 20, 1834 – February 22, 1896) was an American politician.
He was born in Lexington, Massachusetts. He attended Lexington Academy and Hopkins Classical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard University in 1856. While at Harvard he was admitted to the Zeta Psi fraternity. He was the principal of Chicopee High School in Chicopee, Massachusetts from 1856 to 1865. Robinson studied law for nine years with his brother, and earned a masters degree from Harvard. He was admitted to the bar in Cambridge in 1866 and commenced practice in Chicopee. He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1874 and served in the Massachusetts Senate in 1876, both times representing Chicopee. He was elected as a Republican to the Forty-fifth and to the three succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1877, to January 7, 1884, when he resigned, having been elected the 34th Governor of Massachusetts. He held this position from 1884 to 1887.
As governor, Robinson's accomplishments included fiscal restraint. Nevertheless, he also proposed successful legislation to extend free public education to every student by requiring that textbooks be provided to each student free of charge. He also created a requirement that corporations pay workers weekly and established the Commonwealth's first State Board of Arbitration to resolve disputes between workers and employers.
Upon leaving office, Robinson resumed the practice of law in Springfield, Massachusetts, at what is now Robinson Donovan, P.C. It was in this period that he achieved, in 1892, the distinction of serving as Lizzie Borden's defense counsel; for a retainer of $25,000 he was able to secure her acquittal. He remained a prominent lawyer until his death in Chicopee; he is buried in Fairview Cemetery, Chicopee, Massachusetts.