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*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 he was legally changed in 1833. As a young man, he operated a shoe factory in Natick, Mass., attended the Strafford, Wolfeboro, 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. He helped Abraham Lincoln pass the bill to end slavery in the nation's capital in 1862. Also, during the American 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.
An 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.