Henry W. Blair

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Henry William Blair
Henry W. Blair - Brady-Handy.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Hampshire's 1st & 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1875 – March 4, 1879 (3rd)
March 4, 1893 – March 4, 1895 (1st)
Preceded by Hosea Washington Parker
Luther F. McKinney
Succeeded by Evarts Worcester Farr
Cyrus A. Sulloway
United States Senator from
New Hampshire
In office
June 18, 1879 – March 4, 1891
Preceded by Charles H. Bell
Succeeded by Jacob H. Gallinger
Personal details
Born (1834-12-06)December 6, 1834
Campton, New Hampshire
Died March 14, 1920(1920-03-14) (aged 85)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Republican

Henry William Blair (December 6, 1834 – March 14, 1920) was a United States Representative and Senator from New Hampshire. Born in Campton, he attended the common schools and private academies, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1859 and commenced practice in Plymouth. He was appointed prosecuting attorney for Grafton County in 1860, and during the Civil War he served in the Union Army as lieutenant colonel of the Fifteenth Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry.

Blair was a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1866 and a member of the New Hampshire Senate in 1867-1868. He was elected as a Republican to the Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth Congresses (March 4, 1875-March 4, 1879). In 1876, he introduced the first prohibition amendment to be offered in Congress. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1878 but was elected by the New Hampshire legislature to the U.S. Senate on June 17, 1879, for the vacancy in the term ending March 4, 1885, and served from June 20, 1879, to March 4, 1885. The State legislature not being in session, he was re-appointed on March 5, 1885, and elected on June 17, 1885, to fill the vacancy in the term beginning March 4, 1885, and served from March 10, 1885, to March 4, 1891. He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1891. While in the Senate, he was chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor (Forty-seventh through Fifty-first Congresses). His proposed "Blair Education Bill" advocated federal aid for education but never passed.[1]

He declined an appointment by President Benjamin Harrison as judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire in 1891, but accepted an appointment as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to China on March 6, 1891. The Chinese Government objected to Blair because of his role in passing the Chinese Exclusion Act and declared him persona non grata.[2] He subsequently tendered his resignation from the diplomatic post, which was accepted October 6, 1891. He was again elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1892, served March 4, 1893-March 4, 1895, and was not a candidate for reelection in 1894. He engaged in the practice of law in Washington, D.C., until his death in 1920; his interment was in Campton Cemetery.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gordon B. McKinney. Henry W. Blair's Campaign to Reform America: From the Civil War to the U.S. Senate (University Press of Kentucky; 2013) 246 pages

See also[edit]


United States Senate
Preceded by
Charles H. Bell
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from New Hampshire
Served alongside: Edward H. Rollins, Austin F. Pike, Person C. Cheney, William E. Chandler, Gilman Marston, William E. Chandler
Succeeded by
Jacob H. Gallinger
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Hosea Washington Parker
U.S. Representative for the 3rd District of New Hampshire
March 4, 1875 – March 4, 1879
Succeeded by
Evarts Worcester Farr
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Luther F. McKinney
U.S. Representative for the 1st District of New Hampshire
March 4, 1893–March 4, 1895
Succeeded by
Cyrus A. Sulloway