George Hunt Pendleton

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George Hunt Pendleton

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Hamilton, Ohio, United States
Death: November 24, 1889 (64)
Brussels, Belgium
Immediate Family:

Son of Rep. Nathaniel Greene Pendleton, III and Jane Frances Pendleton
Husband of Mary Alicia Lloyd Pendleton
Father of Francis Key Pendleton; Mary Lloyd Abney and Jane Frances Brice
Brother of Susan Louisa Bowler; Martha Elizabeth (Eliza) Dandridge; Edmund H. Pendleton; Elliot Hunt Pendleton, Sr.; Anna Pierce Schenk and 3 others
Half brother of 2LT Edmund Henry Pendleton, USA and Charlotte Pendleton

Occupation: Rep. and Senator from Ohio. He was V. Pres. canidate with George McClellan,losing to Abraham Lincoln
Managed by: Shirley Stevens Isham
Last Updated:

About George Hunt Pendleton

George Hunt Pendleton was an American politician and lawyer. He represented Ohio in both houses of Congress and served as the Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1864.

After studying at the University of Cincinnati and Heidelberg University, Pendleton practiced law in his home town of Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the son of Congressman Nathanael G. Pendleton and the son-in-law of poet Francis Scott Key. After serving in the Ohio Senate, Pendleton won election to the United States House of Representatives. During the Civil War, he emerged as a leader of the Copperheads, a group of Democrats who favored peace with the Confederacy. After the war, he opposed the Thirteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

The 1864 Democratic National Convention nominated a ticket of George B. McClellan, who favored continuing the war, and Pendleton, who opposed it. The ticket was defeated by the Republican ticket of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, and Pendleton lost his Congressional re-election race that same year. Pendleton was a strong contender for the presidential nomination at the 1868 Democratic National Convention, but was defeated by Horatio Seymour. After Pendleton lost the 1869 Ohio gubernatorial election, he temporarily left politics.

He served as the president of the Kentucky Central Railroad before returning to Congress. Pendleton won election to the Senate in 1879 and served a single term, becoming Chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference. After the assassination of President James A. Garfield, he wrote and helped pass the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883. The act required many civil service hires to be based on merit rather than political connections. Passage of the act lost him support in Ohio and he was not nominated for a second term in the Senate. President Grover Cleveland appointed him as the ambassador to the German Empire. He served in that position until 1889, dying later that same year.

Pendleton was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the son of Nathanael Greene Pendleton and attended the local schools and Cincinnati College and the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Pendleton studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1847 and commenced practice in Cincinnati. He married Alice Key, the daughter of Francis Scott Key, in 1846 and had four children:

Sarah Pendleton (born in Ireland, about 1846) Francis Key Pendleton (born in Cincinnati, December 3, 1850) Mary Lloyd Pendleton (born in Cincinnati, March 26, 1852) Jane Francis Pendleton (born in the District of Columbia, April 22, 1860)

Currier and Ives print of the Democratic presidential party ticket, 1864. Lithograph with watercolor. He was a member of the Ohio Senate from 1854 to 1856. In 1854, he ran unsuccessfully for the Thirty-fourth United States Congress. Three years later, he was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-fifth Congress and would be re-elected to the three following Congresses (March 4, 1857 – March 3, 1865). During his time in the House of Representatives, he was one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1862 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against West H. Humphreys, a US judge for several districts of Tennessee. He was a leader of the peace faction of his party, with close ties to the Copperheads. He voted against the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude.

Pendleton ran as an antiwar Democrat in the 1864 presidential elections for Vice President, together with George McClellan. Their opponents were Lincoln (President) and Andrew Johnson (nominee for Vice President). At 39, Pendleton was one of the youngest candidates for national office in US history. McClellan and Pendleton lost, receiving about 45% of the vote. In the same election, Pendleton also lost re-election to the Thirty-ninth Congress.

Out of office for the first time in a decade, Pendleton ran for his old House seat in 1866 but lost. In 1868, he sought the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. He led for the first 15 ballots and was nearly the nominee, but his support disappeared and he lost to Horatio Seymour, primarily for his support of the "Ohio idea." The following year, he was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Ohio and again lost, this time to Rutherford B. Hayes.

Pendleton stepped away from politics, and in 1869, he became president of the Kentucky Central Railroad.

In 1879, he made his comeback when he was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate. During his only term, from 1881 to 1885, he served concurrently as the Chairman of the Democratic Conference. Following the 1881 assassination of James A. Garfield, he passed his most notable legislation, known as the Pendleton Act of 1883, requiring civil service exams for government positions. The Act helped put an end to the system of patronage in widespread use at the time, but it cost Pendelton politically, as many members of his own party preferred the spoils system. He was thus not renominated to the Senate.

Instead, President Grover Cleveland appointed him Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Germany the year that he left office, which he served until April 1889. Five months later, during his return trip to the United States, he died in Brussels, Belgium. He is interred in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Pendleton had a very Jacksonian commitment to the Democratic Party as the best, perhaps the only, mechanism through which ordinary Americans could shape government policies. Mach (2007) argues that Pendleton's chief contribution was to demonstrate the Whig Party's willingness to use its power in government to achieve Jacksonian ideals.

While his Jacksonian commitment to states' rights and limited government made him a dissenter during the Civil War, what Mach calls Pendleton's Jacksonian "ardor to expand opportunities for ordinary Americans" was the basis for his leadership in civil service reform and his controversial plan to use greenbacks to repay the federal debt. What appeared to be a substantive ideological shift, Mach argues, represented Pendleton's pragmatic willingness to use new means to achieve old ends.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_H._Pendleton

George Hunt Pendleton (July 19, 1825 – November 24, 1889) was a Representative and a Senator from Ohio. Nicknamed "Gentleman George" for his demeanor, he was the Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States during the Civil War in 1864, running as a peace Democrat with war Democrat George B. McClellan; they lost to Abraham Lincoln. He is best known as the principal author of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883


Pendleton was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the son of Nathanael Greene Pendleton and attended the local schools and Cincinnati College and the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Pendleton studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1847 and commenced practice in Cincinnati. He married Alice Key, the daughter of Francis Scott Key.


He was a member of the Ohio Senate from 1854 to 1856. In 1854 he ran unsuccessfully for the Thirty-fourth United States Congress. Three years later he was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-fifth Congress and also succeeded in being reelected to the three following Congresses (March 4, 1857 to March 3, 1865), but in 1864 he failed to be elected to the Thirty-ninth Congress. Pendleton was a noted antiwar Democrat.


He was one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1862 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against West H. Humphreys, United States judge for several districts of Tennessee. He was a leader of the peace faction of the Democratic party, with close ties to the Copperheads. He ran in the 1864 U.S. presidential elections for Vice President, together with George McClellan. Their opponents were Abraham Lincoln (President) and Andrew Johnson (nominee for Vice President). McClellan and Pendleton lost, receiving about 45% of the vote.


Pendleton also failed to be elected to the Fortieth Congress and was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Governor of Ohio in 1869, losing to Rutherford B. Hayes.


In 1869 he became president of the Kentucky Central Railroad and kept this position until he was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1879. He served six years in the Senate from March 4, 1879, to March 3, 1885, but was unsuccessful in winning renomination. During this time, he sponsored the Pendleton Act of 1883 in response to the assassination of President James A. Garfield by Charles Guiteau. The Act helped put an end to the system of patronage that was in widespread use at the time.


From 1881 to 1885 he was Chairman of the Democratic Conference. He was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Germany in 1885, and served until his death in Brussels, Belgium. He is interred in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio.


Political role


Pendleton had a very Jacksonian commitment to the Democratic party as the best, perhaps the only, mechanism through which ordinary Americans could shape government policies. Mach (2007) argues that Pendleton's chief contribution was to show how a "Whiggish" willingness to use the power of government could be used to achieve Jacksonian ideals. So, while his Jacksonian commitment to states' rights and limited government made him a dissenter during the Civil War, what Mach calls Pendleton's Jacksonian "ardor to expand opportunities for ordinary Americans" was the basis for his leadership in civil service reform and his controversial plan to use greenbacks to repay federal debt. What appeared to be a substantive ideological shift, Mach argues, represented Pendleton's pragmatic willingness to use new means to achieve old ends.


Memorials


The city of Pendleton, Oregon is named after him. The Senator George H. Pendleton House in Cincinnati is a National Historical Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.


Bibliography

Mach, Thomas S. "Gentleman George" Hunt Pendleton: Party Politics and Ideological Identity in Nineteenth-Century America. (Kent State University Press, 2007) 317pp ISBN 978-0-87338-913-6.
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George Hunt Pendleton's Timeline

1825
July 19, 1825
Hamilton, Ohio, United States
1850
December 3, 1850
Cincinnati, OH
1852
May 26, 1852
Cincinnati, OH
1860
April 22, 1860
Cincinnati, OH
1889
November 24, 1889
Age 64
Brussels, Belgium