Roger Sherman Baldwin (1793 - 1863)

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Birthplace: New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Death: Died in New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Occupation: 17th Governor of Connecticut & U.S. Senator from Connecticut, U.S. Senator and Governor for Connecticut; defense attorney for Africans in Amistad slave ship case
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About Roger Sherman Baldwin

Roger Sherman Baldwin (January 4, 1793 – February 19, 1863) was an American lawyer involved in the Amistad case, who later became the 17th Governor of Connecticut and United States Senator.

His defense, in 1841, of the rights of the Africans of the Amistad, is celebrated both on account of its marked ability, and also because of the peculiar interest which was felt in these unfortunate captives. A simplified version of the events regarding the Amistad case was made into a movie called Amistad in 1997. Matthew McConaughey portrayed Roger Sherman Baldwin.

Baldwin was born in New Haven, Connecticut, attended Hopkins School, and entered Yale College at the age of fourteen, and graduated with high honors in 1811. After leaving Yale he studied law in his father's office in New Haven, and also in the Litchfield Law School, and was admitted to the bar in 1814. Although repeatedly called into public office, he devoted himself through life to the profession of his choice, attaining the highest distinction, especially in the discussion of questions of law.

After having been a member of the city government in New Haven, in 1826 and 1828, Mr. Baldwin was elected in 1837 and again in 1838, a member of the Connecticut State Senate. In 1840 and 1841 he represented the town of New Haven in the General Assembly. He was chosen Governor of Connecticut in 1844 and was reelected in 1845. On the death of Hon. J. W. Huntington in 1847, Baldwin was appointed by Governor Clark Bissell to fill the vacancy thus occasioned in the United States Senate, and in December of that year he took his seat as a member of that body. He was elected by the Legislature in the following May to the same position, which he held until 1851. After that period he held no public office, except that he was one of the presidential electors in the canvass of 1860, and by appointment of Governor William Alfred Buckingham was a delegate to the Peace Convention which met in Washington, in 1861, by request of the State of Virginia. He was described as a devout Christian who studied the Bible every day.

Baldwin died in New Haven, February 19, 1863; at the age of 70 and was interred at Grove Street Cemetery. A biographical discourse was pronounced at his funeral by Rev. Dr. Dutton, which was printed in the New Englander for April 1863, and was also published as a pamphlet.

He was grandson of Roger Sherman, son of Simeon Baldwin, nephew of Ebenezer Baldwin, husband of Emily Pitkin Perkins, father of Connecticut Governor Simeon Eben Baldwin, grandfather of New York Supreme Court Justice Edward Baldwin Whitney, and the great-grandfather of the famed Princeton University mathematics professor Hassler Whitney.

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Roger Sherman Baldwin, U.S. Senator & Governor's Timeline

January 4, 1793
New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
October 25, 1820
Age 27
February 5, 1840
Age 47
New Haven, New Haven County, Ct, USA
- 1846
Age 50
Connecticut, United States
November 11, 1847
- March 3, 1851
Age 54
United States
February 19, 1863
Age 70
New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
- present
Yale College
- present
Litchfield Law School
New Haven, New Haven County, Ct, USA