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Sun, 02.16.1812

Henry Wilson, Politician and Abolitionist born

Henry Wilson

*Henry Wilson was born on February 16, 1812. He was a white-American political leader and abolitionist.

From Farmington, N.H., his birth name was Jeremiah Jones Colbath, and was legally changed in 1833. As a young man he operated a shoe factory in Natick, Mass., and attended the Strafford, Wolfsboro, and Concord Academies and taught school in Natick, Mass. He was elected to the lower house of the Massachusetts legislature in 1840. Wilson was an opponent of slavery, which caused him to leave the Whig party.

He moved first to the Free Soil party and then to the new Republican Party, which he helped organize. He represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate from 1855 to 1873. During this time he helped Abraham Lincoln pass the bill to end slavery in the nations capital in 1862. Also during the Civil War he headed the Senate committee on military affairs. After the war he took an important part in reconstruction measures favoring full civil and political rights for Blacks.

Elected vice president with Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, Wilson suffered a stroke three years later and died in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 22, 1875.

The World Book Encyclopedia.
Copyright 1996, World Book, Inc.
ISBN 0-7166-0096-X

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