Benjamin Fitzpatrick

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Benjamin Fitzpatrick
Hon. Benjamin Fitzpatrick, Ala - NARA - 528657.jpg
United States Senator
from Alabama
In office
November 25, 1848 – November 30, 1849
January 14, 1853 – March 3, 1855
November 26, 1855 – January 21, 1861
Preceded by Dixon H. Lewis
William R. King
Benjamin Fitzpatrick
Succeeded by Jeremiah Clemens
Benjamin Fitzpatrick
George E. Spencer
Personal details
Born (1802-06-30)June 30, 1802
Greene County, Georgia, U.S.
Died November 21, 1869(1869-11-21) (aged 67)
Wetumpka, Alabama, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Sarah Terry Elmore
Aurelia Blassingame
Profession Politician, Lawyer

Benjamin Fitzpatrick (June 30, 1802 – November 21, 1869) was the 11th Governor of the U.S. state of Alabama and a United States Senator from Alabama. He was a Democrat.

Early years[edit]

Born in Greene County, Georgia, Fitzpatrick was orphaned at the age of seven and was taken by his sister (Celia Fitzpatrick Baldwin) to Alabama in 1815.

Fitzpatrick helped his brothers manage land they owned on the Alabama River, and served as deputy under the first sheriff of Autauga County. He worked in the law office of Nimrod E. Benson before he was admitted to the bar.[1]

Fitzpatrick studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1821, commencing practice in Montgomery, Alabama. Fitzpatrick served as solicitor of the Montgomery circuit from 1822 to 1823, but moved to his plantation in Autauga County in 1829 and engaged in planting.

Governor of Alabama[edit]

Fitzpatrick became Governor of Alabama in 1841, serving until 1845, and was appointed as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Dixon H. Lewis and served from November 25, 1848, to November 30, 1849, when a successor was elected.

He was again appointed and subsequently elected to the Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William R. King (who had been elected Vice President of the United States) and served from January 14, 1853 to March 3, 1855. He served in this Congress as Chairman of the Committee on Printing and the Committee on Engrossed Bills. He was elected to the Senate again to fill the vacancy caused by the failure of the legislature to elect his own successor on November 26, 1855. In this role he served several times as President pro tempore of the Senate.

Failure of state banks[edit]

The country was plagued by economic depression as a result of the Panic of 1837. Fitzpatrick's predecessor, Governor Arthur P. Bagby introduced measures to assist the state banks but the state legislature rejected most of the measures. All the state banks were closed by Fitzpatrick.[2]

Vice President nomination[edit]

In 1860, Fitzpatrick was nominated for vice president of the United States by the wing of the Democratic Party that had nominated Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois for President, but refused the nomination, and ultimately Herschel V. Johnson of Georgia was nominated in his stead. Fitzpatrick withdrew from the Senate on January 21, 1861, following the secession of his home state.

Confederacy[edit]

Fitzpatrick did not take a particularly active role in the politics of the Confederacy, but did serve as president of the constitutional convention of Alabama in 1865.

Fitzpatrick died on his plantation near Wetumpka, Alabama, on November 21, 1869, aged 67.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Benjamin Fitzpatrick". Alabama Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  2. ^ "Arthur Pendleton Bagby". Alabama Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Arthur P. Bagby
Governor of Alabama
1841–1845
Succeeded by
Joshua L. Martin
United States Senate
Preceded by
Dixon H. Lewis
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Alabama
November 25, 1848 – November 30, 1849
Served alongside: William R. King
Succeeded by
Jeremiah Clemens
Preceded by
Benjamin Fitzpatrick
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Alabama
January 14, 1853 – January 21, 1861
Served alongside: Clement C. Clay
Succeeded by
George E. Spencer(1)
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Thomas J. Rusk
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
December 7, 1857 – February 26, 1860
Succeeded by
Jesse D. Bright
Preceded by
Jesse D. Bright
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
June 26, 1860 – December 2, 1860
Succeeded by
Solomon Foot
Notes and references
1. Because of Alabama's secession, the Senate seat was vacant for seven years before Spencer succeeded Fitzpatrick.