Jacob M. Howard
|Jacob M. Howard|
|United States Senator
January 17, 1862 – March 4, 1871
|Preceded by||Kinsley S. Bingham|
|Succeeded by||Thomas W. Ferry|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 1st district
March 4, 1841 – March 4, 1843
|Preceded by||Isaac E. Crary|
|Succeeded by||Robert McClelland|
|Born||Jacob Merritt Howard
July 10, 1805
|Died||April 2, 1871
He was born in Shaftsbury, Vermont and attended the district schools and the academies of Bennington and Brattleboro. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1830 and then studied law. He moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1832 and was admitted to the bar in 1833 and commenced practice in Detroit. He was city attorney of Detroit in 1834 and a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives in 1838.
He was elected as a Whig to the United States House of Representatives for the Twenty-seventh Congress, serving March 4, 1841–March 4, 1843. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1842. He helped draw up the platform of the first Republican Party convention held in Jackson, Michigan in 1854. He was Michigan Attorney General from 1855-1861.
Howard was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1861 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Kinsley S. Bingham. He was reelected in 1865 and in total served from January 1862, to March 1871. He was chairman of the Committee on Pacific Railroads in the Thirty-eighth through Forty-first Congresses.
As a Senator, he was the chief sponsor of the False Claims Act, a.k.a. "The Lincoln Law", that permitted whistle blowers to file qui tam lawsuits against government contractors for fraud, with the incentive of receiving a monetary reward based on the recovery made by the federal government. Howard justified giving rewards to whistle blowers, many of whom had engaged in unethical activities themselves, saying:
I have based the [qui tam provision] upon the old-fashioned idea of holding out a temptation, and ‘setting a rogue to catch a rogue,’ which is the safest and most expeditious way I have ever discovered of bringing rogues to justice.
Howard is credited with working closely with Abraham Lincoln in drafting and passing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery. In the Senate, he also served on the Joint Committee on Reconstruction which drafted the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
During debate over the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, he argued for including the phrase and subject to the jurisdiction thereof. Howard said:
[The 14th amendment] will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the government of the United States, but will include every other class of person.
Howard died in Detroit and is interred in Elmwood Cemetery.
- Maltz, Earl M., “Radical Politics and Constitutional Theory: Senator Jacob M. Howard of Michigan and the Problem of Reconstruction,” Michigan Historical Review, 32 (Spring 2006), 19–32.
- American National Biography
- Dictionary of American Biography
- "When Bad Things Happen to Good Rogues". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 - 1875 Congressional Globe, Senate, 39th Congress, 1st Session Page 2890 of 3840
- Jacob M. Howard at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Includes Guide to Research Collections where his papers are located.
- The Political Graveyard
|United States House of Representatives|
Isaac E. Crary
|United States Representative for the 1st Congressional District of Michigan
|Michigan Attorney General
|United States Senate|
Kinsley S. Bingham
|United States Senator (Class 2) from Michigan
Served alongside: Zachariah Chandler
Thomas W. Ferry