Albert Taylor Bledsoe
|Albert Taylor Bledsoe|
November 9, 1809|
|Died||December 8, 1877
Alexandria, Virginia (another source says Baltimore, Maryland)
|Alma mater||United States Military Academy
Kenyon College, Ohio
|Occupation||educator, attorney, author, and clergyman|
|Political party||Whig Party (United States)|
|Religion||Episcopal, Southern Methodist|
|Spouse(s)||Harriet Coxe (married in 1836)|
|Parents||Moses Owsley Bledsoe and Sophia Childress Taylor|
Albert Taylor Bledsoe (November 9, 1809 – December 8, 1877) was an Episcopal priest, attorney, professor of mathematics, and officer in the Confederate army and was best known as an architect of the Lost Cause and an apologist for the Confederate States of America.
Early life and education
Bledsoe was born on November 9, 1809 in Frankfort, Kentucky, the oldest of five children of Moses Owsley Bledsoe and Sophia Childress Taylor (who was a relative of President Zachary Taylor). He was a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point from 1825 to 1830, where he was a fellow cadet of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. After serving two years in the United States Army, he studied law and theology at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and received his M.A. and LL.M. In 1836. he married Harriet Coxe of Burlington NJ, and they had seven children, four of whom survived childhood.
College Professor and Mathematician
- Adjunct Professor of Mathematics and French, Kenyon College, (OH) 1833–1834.
- Professor of Mathematics, Miami University (OH), 1834–1835.
- Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy, University of Mississippi, 1848–1854.
- Professor of Mathematics, University of Virginia, 1854–1861.
Bledsoe in his lectures at the University of Virginia would frequently "interlard his demonstration of some difficult problem in differential or integral calculus--for example, the lemniscata of Bernouilli [sic] --with some vigorous remarks in the doctrine of States' rights". His book The Philosophy of Mathematics was one of the earliest American works on mathematics and includes chapters on Descartes, Leibnitz, and Newton.
In 1835, Bledsoe became an Episcopal minister and became an assistant to Bishop Smith of Kentucky. He abandoned his clerical career in 1838 because of his opposition to infant baptism. Later in life, he was ordained a Methodist minister in 1871, but he never took charge of a church. He was a strenuous advocate of the doctrine of free will and his views are set forth in his book Examination of Edwards on the Will (1845).
In 1838, Bledsoe moved to Springfield, Illinois, where he was a law partner of Edward D. Baker, and where he practiced law in the same courts as Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. He practiced before the United States Supreme Court in Washington DC from 1840–1848.
In 1861, Bledsoe received a commission as a colonel in the Confederate army, and later became Acting Assistant Secretary of War. In 1863 he was sent to London for the purpose of researching various historical problems relating to the North-South conflict, as well as guiding British public opinion in favor of the Confederate cause.
In 1868 he moved back to the United States and published the Southern Review. He was the "epitome of an unreconstructed Southerner" and published articles defending slavery and secession. His book Is Davis a Traitor has been called the "best book every written on the right of secession" by Gene Kizer.
- Examination of Edwards on the Will (Philadelphia, 1845)
- A Theodicy, or Vindication of the Divine Theory (1853)
- Essay on Liberty and Slavery (1856)
- Is Davis a Traitor? or Was Secession a Constitutional Right previous to the War of 1861? (1866)
- The Philosophy of Mathematics, with Special Reference to the Elements of Geometry and the Infinitesimal Method (1868)
- The Southern Review (1871)
- Terry A. Barnhart, Albert Taylor Bledsoe: Defender of the Old South and Architect of the Lost Cause (Louisiana State University Press; 2011)
- Hollis, C. Carroll (1979). "Sophia Bledsoe Herrick". In Flora , Joseph M. Southern writers: a biographical dictionary. LSU Press. pp. 223–. ISBN 978-0-8071-0390-6. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
- Barnhart, Terry A. Albert Taylor Bledsoe: Defender of the Old South and Architect of the Lost Cause (Louisiana State University Press; 2011) 288 pages; the standard scholarly biography
- Freeman, Douglas Southall, "The South to Posterity: An Introduction to the Writing of Confederate History" (1939).
- The Wonders of Plant Life under the Microscope, 1883
- Century of Sonnets, 1902
- Herrick, Sophia Bledsoe, "Albert Taylor Bledsoe (1809–1877)," in Library of Southern Literature, ed. Edwin Andersen Alderman and Joel Chandler Harris, vol. 1, New Orleans/Atlanta/Dallas: The Martin and Hoyt Company, 1907.
- Woodworth, Stephen E., "Bledsoe, Albert Taylor," American National Biography, vol. 3, pp. 11–12. 1999.
- Biography of Albert Taylor Bledsoe at Answers.com
- Biography of Albert Taylor Bledsoe at the University of Virginia
- Biography of Albert Taylor Bledsoe from the Encyclopedia of World Biography
- Biography on Albert Taylor Bledsoe from the Kentucky Historical Society
- Fact sheet on Albert Taylor Bledsoe from the United States Military Academy
- Entry on Bledsoe, Albert Taylor at the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge