Thomas A. Hendricks

Thomas A. Hendricks Brief Biography

Thomas Andrews Hendricks (September 7, 1819November 25, 1885) was an American politician and lawyer from Indiana who served as the 16th Governor of Indiana (1873-77) and the 21st Vice President of the United States (1885). Hendricks represented Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives (1851–55) and the U.S. Senate (1863–69). He also represented Shelby County, Indiana, in the Indiana General Assembly (1848–50) and as a delegate to the 1851 Indiana constitutional convention. In addition, Hendricks served as commissioner of the General Land Office (1855–59). Hendricks, a popular member of the Democratic Party, was a fiscal conservative known for his honesty and adherence to the U.S. Constitution. He defended the Democratic position in the U.S. Senate during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era and voted against the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. He also opposed Radical Reconstruction and President Andrew Johnson's removal from office following Johnson's impeachment in the U.S. House.

Born in Muskingum County, Ohio, Hendricks moved to Indiana, with his parents in 1820; the family settled in Shelby County in 1822. After graduating from Hanover College, class of 1841, Hendricks studied law in Shelbyville, Indiana, and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1843. Hendricks began his law practice in Shelbyville, moved to Indianapolis in 1860, and established a private law practice with Oscar B. Hord in 1862. The firm evolved into Baker & Daniels, one of the state's leading law firms. Hendricks also ran for election as Indiana's governor three times, but won only once. In 1872, on his third and final attempt, Hendricks defeated General Thomas M. Brown by a margin of 1,148 votes. His term as governor of Indiana was marked by numerous challenges, including a strong Republican majority in the Indiana General Assembly, the economic Panic of 1873, and an economic depression. One of Hendricks's lasting legacies during his tenure as governor was initiating discussions to fund construction of the present-day Indiana Statehouse, which was completed after he left office. A memorial to Hendricks was installed on the southeast corner of its grounds in 1890.

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