James G. Blaine (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Blaine was the most popular Republican politician of the late nineteenth century. Through his personal appeal and his advocacy of the protective tariff, he laid the basis for the emergence of the Republican Party as the majority party in the 1890’s.
James Gillespie Blaine was born January 31, 1830, in West Brownsville, Pennsylvania. His father, Ephraim Lyon Blaine, came from a Scotch-Irish and Scotch-Presbyterian background. Blaine’s mother, Maria Louise Gillespie, was an Irish Catholic. Blaine was reared a Presbyterian, as were his brothers, while his sisters followed their mother’s faith. In later life, Blaine became a Congregationalist but was tolerant of all creeds and avoided the religious issue in politics. Blaine’s maternal background gave him an electoral appeal to Irish-Catholic voters.
Ephraim Blaine was a lawyer who was elected to a county clerk position in Washington County, Pennsylvania, in 1842. His son entered Washington and Jefferson College, a small school in the area, and was graduated in 1847. Blaine then taught at the Western Military Institute in Georgetown, Kentucky, from 1848 to 1851. He admired the policies of Henry Clay, the Whig leader, during his stay in the state. He also found time to court and then marry a teacher at a woman’s seminary, Harriet Stanwood, on June 30, 1850. Leaving Kentucky in late 1851, Blaine taught at the Pennsylvania...
(The entire section is 2140 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!