Edmund G. Ross

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Edmund Gibson Ross
Edmund G. Ross - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Senator
from Kansas
In office
July 25, 1866 – March 3, 1871
Preceded by James H. Lane
Succeeded by Alexander Caldwell
13th Governor of New Mexico Territory
In office
1885–1889
Nominated by Grover Cleveland
Preceded by Lionel Allen Sheldon
Succeeded by L. Bradford Prince
Personal details
Born (1826-12-07)December 7, 1826
Ashland, Ohio, U.S.
Died May 8, 1907(1907-05-08) (aged 80)
Albuquerque, New Mexico Territory, U.S.
Political party Republican, Democrat
Military service
Service/branch Union Army
Years of service 1862–1865
Rank Major
Battles/wars American Civil War

Edmund Gibson Ross (December 7, 1826 – May 8, 1907) was a politician who represented the state of Kansas after the American Civil War and was later governor of the New Mexico Territory. His vote against convicting President Andrew Johnson of "high crimes and misdemeanors" allowed Johnson to stay in office by the margin of one vote. As the seventh of seven Republican U.S. Senators to break with his party, Ross proved to be the person whose decision would result in conviction or acquittal. When he chose the latter, the vote of 35–19 in favor of Johnson's conviction failed to reach the required two-thirds vote. Ross lost his bid for re-election two years later.

Biography[edit]

Ross was born in Ashland, Ohio, and attended high school in Sandusky, Ohio. He worked in the newspaper business, first in Sandusky, Ohio, then in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Topeka, Kansas. After the suicide of James H. Lane in 1866, Ross was appointed and then elected to the United States Senate as a member of the Republican Party; affiliated with the Democratic Party after 1872.

He was a Union army veteran and hero. A captain in the Eleventh Kansas Infantry, and later when the regiment became mounted cavalry, Ross had two horses shot out from under him during the skirmishing before the Battle of Westport.

Ross is best known for casting the decisive vote which acquitted Andrew Johnson during his 1868 Presidential Impeachment trial. Some people have claimed that Ross voted against the conviction due to concerns about his colleague Samuel C. Pomeroy receiving patronage from Benjamin Wade, and as a means to receive patronage favors from Johnson. Others claim Ross cast his vote because he genuinely believed that Johnson had the right to replace Edwin M. Stanton, since he had been appointed during the Lincoln Administration. Still others give voice to the opinion that, though the Kansas Senator did believe Johnson guilty of breaking the Tenure of Office Act, he did not believe that offense worthy of impeachment. Kansas newspapers thought clearly that Ross voted against his radical leanings in supporting Johnson because of the influence of his old Colonel in the civil war, Thomas Ewing Jr., an ardent Johnson supporter at the time.[1] Later in life, Ewing wrote Ross that he felt Ross was “preeminent for courage” among men – not only for his physical courage in battle but also for opposing Johnson’s impeachment. “In making [that] decision, you knew perfectly well that it could consign you to private life and the vehement denunciation of almost all your party friends.”[2] However, there is significant evidence that suggests Ross was bribed.[3]

Upon retirement from the Senate, Ross went back into the newspaper business briefly, launching a publication in Coffeyville, Kansas.[4] From 1885 to 1889, he served as governor of New Mexico Territory, appointed by President Grover Cleveland. He later served as secretary of the New Mexico Bureau of Immigration from 1894 to 1896.[5] In 1896, Ross published his book History of the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson.[6]

Edmund G. Ross is one of eight U.S. Senators featured in Profiles in Courage, the 1956 Pulitzer Prize-winning history co-written by then-Senator John F. Kennedy and Theodore Sorensen in commemoration of past acts of political courage in Congress. But this volume makes significant errors in its coverage of Ross.[7]

He is interred at the Fairview Memorial Park Cemetery in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[8]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Ronald D. Smith, "Thomas Ewing Jr., Frontier Lawyer and Civil War General," Columbia:University of Missouri Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8262-1806-3. See the discussion at pp. 292–299.
  2. ^ Thomas Ewing Jr. to Ross, July 16, 1894, Thomas Ewing Jr. Papers, Kansas State Historical Society.
  3. ^ Stewart, David O. Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy. Simon & Schuster, 2009, pp.185, 186, 188, 189, 242, 269, 278, 279, 280, 282, 285, 292, 297–99, 309.
  4. ^ Ross, Edmund G. – KS-Cyclopedia – 1912
  5. ^ Edmund G. Ross collection, no. 491, State Archives and Library, Kansas Historical Society.
  6. ^ Ross, Edmund G. (1896). History of the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, by the House of Representatives, and his trial by the Senate for high crimes and misdemeanors in office, 1868. Santa Fe, New Mexico: New Mexican Printing Co. p. 202. 
  7. ^ Stewart 2009, 424–25.
  8. ^ findagrave.com and personal site visit.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Bumgardner, Edward, 1949. The Life of Edmund G. Ross. The Fielding-Turner Press, Kansas City, Missouri.

United States Senate
Preceded by
James H. Lane
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Kansas
July 25, 1866 – March 3, 1871
Served alongside: Samuel C. Pomeroy
Succeeded by
Alexander Caldwell
Political offices
Preceded by
Lionel Allen Sheldon
Governor of New Mexico Territory
1885 – 1889
Succeeded by
L. Bradford Prince