Charles R. Buckalew, U.S. Senator

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Senator Charles Rollin Buckalew

Birthdate: (77)
Birthplace: Fishing Creek Township, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: May 19, 1899 (77)
Bloomsburg, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: Bloomsburg, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John McKinney Buckalew and Mary Buckalew
Husband of Permelia Stevens Buckalew
Father of Warren Jay Buckalew and Mary Alice Buckalew
Brother of William Buckalew; Perry Buckalew; Mahala B Buckalew; Capt John M. Buckalew; Baby 1 Buckalew and 1 other

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About Charles R. Buckalew, U.S. Senator

Charles Rollin Buckalew (December 28, 1821 – May 19, 1899) was an American lawyer and Democratic party politician from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. He served in the state senate and represented Pennsylvania in both the U.S. House and Senate. He was a graduate of Harford Academy, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, where he studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1843.

Buckalew was the most influential early advocate of proportional representation in the United States. His proposals for a type of voting system known as cumulative voting gained significant support in Congress, and he played a central role in the adoption of cumulative voting in several places, including Illinois for state legislative elections in 1870, a system that lasted in that state until 1980.

In a number of speeches, notably in the Senate on July 11, 1867; at a large public meeting in Philadelphia in November of the same year; before the Social Science Association at Philadelphia in October 1870; and in the Senate of Pennsylvania on March 27, 1871; as well as in the report of the Select Committee on Representative Reform of the United States Senate, of which be was chairman, Buckalew argued persuasively for the use of cumulative voting in the election of representatives in Congress, state legislatures, town councils and other bodies.

Buckalew's bill in the Senate would have allowed all the electors of a state to have the number of votes equal to the number of house of representatives members to be elected from that state. The voter could give all his votes to one candidate, or distribute them in any fashion, equally or unequally, among candidates. The candidates with the highest number of votes would be elected.

In addition to serving in Congress and the Pennsylvania state legislature, Buckalew was commissioner to exchange ratifications of a treaty with Paraguay in 1854; chairman of the Democratic State committee in 1857; appointed one of the commissioners to revise the penal code of Pennsylvania in 1857; Minister Resident to the Republic of Ecuador 1858-1861; unsuccessful candidate for governor of Pennsylvania in 1872; and a delegate to the Pennsylvania constitutional convention of 1873.

He resumed the practice of law when he left Congress in 1891, age 69, in Bloomsburg, Columbia County, where he died on May 19, 1899.

Buckalew's writings and speeches on cumulative voting were collected in an 1872 book titled Proportional Representation. 1872, Philadelphia, J. Campbell & Son. See

US Senator, US Diplomat, US Congressman. He served as United States Minister to Ecuador from 1858 to 1861, and was later elected as a Senator from Pennsylvania to the United States Senate, serving from 1863 to 1869. He was then elected to represent two different Pennsylvania Congressional Districts in the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1887 to 1891, first representing the 11th District from 1887 to 1889, then the 17th District from 1889 to 1891. (bio by: [fg.cgi?page=mr&MRid=309" target="_blank Russ Dodge)] Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 15, 2001

Find A Grave Memorial# 19489

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Charles R. Buckalew, U.S. Senator's Timeline

December 28, 1821
Fishing Creek Township, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States
December 20, 1849
Age 27
Bloomsburg, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Age 29
Bloomsburg, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States
May 19, 1899
Age 77
Bloomsburg, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Bloomsburg, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States