Michael Hahn

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Michael Hahn
Michael Hahn.jpg
19th Governor of Louisiana
In office
March 4, 1864 – March 4, 1865
Lieutenant James M. Wells
Preceded by Henry Watkins Allen (Confederate Governor)
George F. Shepley
Succeeded by James M. Wells
Member of the U. S. House of Representatives from Louisiana's 2nd district
In office
December 3, 1862 – March 4, 1863
Preceded by Miles Taylor
Succeeded by James Mann
Member of the U. S. House of Representatives from Louisiana's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1885 – March 15, 1886
Preceded by Ezekiel John Ellis
Succeeded by Nathaniel Dick Wallace
Personal details
Born (1830-11-24)November 24, 1830
Klingenmünster, Rhineland-Palatinate
Died March 15, 1886(1886-03-15) (aged 55)
Washington, DC
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Unmarried
Alma mater Tulane University
Religion Roman Catholic

George Michael Decker Hahn (November 24, 1830 – March 15, 1886) was the 19th Governor of Louisiana, Congressman, United States Senator during Reconstruction and after.

Early life[edit]

Hahn was born in Klingenmünster, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Hahn was born to Jewish parents, but was a Roman Catholic most of his life.[1] With his mother and four siblings, the family immigrated to New York and then to Texas before arriving in New Orleans in 1840, when Hahn was ten years of age. The following year his mother died of yellow fever. Hahn graduated from City High School and in 1849, began reading law under Christian Roselius, a prominent Whig attorney and later Attorney General of Louisiana.

Political career[edit]

In 1851, Hahn graduated from the University of Louisiana (Tulane University) and the following year he was elected to the city school board at the age of 22; he ran the school system as its director. He joined the Democratic party faction led by Pierre Soulé and, in the Presidential Election of 1856, Hahn supported Stephen Douglas over President James Buchanan because of Hahn's philosophical opposition to slavery and secession.

Hahn became a vocal activist in 1860 against the prevailing Southern view and delivered a pro-Union speech in Lafayette Square. He would avoid taking an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. An adherent of the Union, Hahn became the U. S. Representative from the Louisiana's 2nd congressional district in 1862. Hahn was one of two Louisiana Representatives seated in the 37th Congress which adjourned on March 4, 1863. Eventually, Hahn advised that there should be no more representation from Louisiana until it was reconstructed. During his time in Washington, Hahn met and befriended President Abraham Lincoln.

Term as Governor[edit]

In 1864, with almost all of Louisiana under federal occupation, General Banks, the Union Military Commander of the Union's Department of the Gulf (responsible, among other things, for civil order in occupied Louisiana) called state elections and convened a constitutional convention. Benjamin Franklin Flanders and Thomas Jefferson Durant, prominent and radical Unionists, opposed the moderate plan called for by General Banks. Hahn purchased a pro-slavery newspaper, the New Orleans True Delta and converted it to moderate Unionism supporting Banks' plan. Hahn also ran for Governor as a moderate Republican and won the election with 54% or 11,411 votes. J. Q. A. Fellows, a conservative received 26% or 2,996 votes and Benjamin Franklin Flanders, the radical Republican received 20% or 2,232 votes.

Hahn's inauguration in Lafayette Square, New Orleans featured a huge brass band led by Patrick Gilmore.

On March 4, 1864, Hahn was inaugurated as Governor of Union-held Louisiana in an elaborate ceremony paid for by General Banks. In his term, Hahn tried to give the ability to vote to blacks, but was only able to adopt the 15th Amendment. Hahn's Administration made serious attempts at ensuring enfranchisement of black Louisianans and laid the foundation for a black school system and began an aborted Reconstruction in Louisiana. Governor Hahn played a leading role in the state constitutional convention of 1864, but he was opposed by Major General Stephen A. Hurlbut who replaced Banks as commander of the Department of the Gulf. General Hurlburt refused to recognize the civil government of Hahn, and so, Hahn ran for and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1865. On March 3, 1865, Governor Hahn resigned and his Lieutenant Governor James Madison Wells succeeded him.

Political editor and congressman[edit]

After President Lincoln was assassinated in April, 1865, and Congress refused to seat any Representatives or Senators from the South until a reconstruction plan could be carried out. So, Senator-elect Hahn returned to New Orleans and allied himself with radical Republicans calling for a Convention to revise the Constitution of 1864 to include black suffrage. This led to his almost being killed on July 30, 1866 during a New Orleans Police riot.

Hahn subsequently became Editor and manager of the New Orleans Republican newspaper, and in 1872 he moved to a plantation in St. Charles Parish and established the village of Hahnville where he published the St. Charles Herald.

From 1871-1878 Hahn served in the state legislature. There he served as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and Speaker of the House. He was appointed Superintendent of the U. S. Mint in 1878, serving until January 1879. At that point, Hahn was appointed Judge of the 26th Judicial District which included Saint John the Baptist, Saint Charles and Jefferson parishes. In the 1880 elections, Hahn established and edited the New Orleans Ledger to promote Republican candidates, and in 1884 Hahn was elected to Congress as the Republican candidate for Louisiana's 2nd congressional district—a race which he won by 1,300 votes. Finally serving as a federal legislator from Louisiana, Hahn died on March 15, 1886, in his room at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, with a ruptured vessel near his heart. He was buried in New Orleans' Metairie Cemetery; he died poor and unmarried.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Miles Taylor
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 2nd congressional district

1862–1863
Succeeded by
vacant
Preceded by
Ezekiel John Ellis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 2nd congressional district

1885–1886
Succeeded by
Nathaniel Dick Wallace
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Watkins Allen
Confederate Governor
George F. Shepley
Military Governor
Governor of Louisiana
1864–1865
Succeeded by
James M. Wells
Preceded by
Charles W. Lowell
Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives

Michael Hahn (Disputed) Louis A. Wiltz
1875

Succeeded by
E.D. Estilette

Wheeler Compromise

United States Senate
Preceded by
vacant
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Louisiana
1865–1865
Served alongside: none
Succeeded by
vacant