Robert B. Elliott

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Robert Brown Elliott
Robert B. Elliott.jpg
South Carolina Attorney General
In office
December 14, 1876 – May 29, 1877
Governor Contested between Daniel Henry Chamberlain and Wade Hampton III
Preceded by Samuel W. Melton
Succeeded by James Conner
28th Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives
In office
November 24, 1874 – April 14, 1876
Governor Franklin I. Moses, Jr.
Daniel Henry Chamberlain
Preceded by Samuel J. Lee
Succeeded by William Henry Wallace
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from Aiken County
In office
November 24, 1874 – April 14, 1876
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from Barnwell County
In office
November 24, 1868 – March 1, 1870
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1871 – November 1, 1874
Preceded by Solomon L. Hoge
Succeeded by Lewis C. Carpenter
Personal details
Born (1842-08-11)August 11, 1842
Liverpool, United Kingdom (claimed)
Died August 9, 1884(1884-08-09) (aged 41)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Resting place St. Louis Cemetery No. 2
Political party Republican
Profession lawyer, civil servant
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch South Carolina National Guard
Years of service 1869–1871
Rank Commanding General
Battles/wars Reconstruction

Robert Brown Elliott (August 11, 1842 – August 9, 1884) was an African-American member of the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina, serving from 1871 to 1874.

Early life and education[edit]

Not much is known about Elliott's early life.[citation needed] He claimed to have been born in Liverpool, United Kingdom to West Indian immigrants, but biographers have been unable to corroborate these facts.


Elliott arrived in South Carolina in 1867 at the age of 25, where he established a law practice. Elliott helped organize the local Republican Party and served in the state constitutional convention.

In 1868 he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. The next year he was appointed assistant adjutant-general; he was the first African-American commanding general of the South Carolina National Guard. As part of his job, he helped form a state militia to fight the Ku Klux Klan.

Elliott was elected as a Republican to the Forty-second and Forty-third United States Congress. He "delivered a celebrated speech" in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1875.[1] He resigned on November 1, 1874, to fight political corruption in South Carolina. He served again in the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he was elected as Speaker of the House.

He ran successfully for South Carolina Attorney General in 1876. In the state elections that year, white Democrats regained dominance of the state legislature. The following year, 1877, when the last of the federal troops were withdrawn from South Carolina, he was forced out of office.[2]


  1. ^ "Biographical Sidebar: Robert B. Elliott". America's Reconstruction - People and Politics After the Civil War. University of Houston. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  2. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • "Robert Brown Elliott". Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007. Prepared under the direction of the Committee on House Administration by the Office of History & Preservation, U. S. House of Representatives. Washington: Government Printing Office. 2008. ISBN 978-0-16-080194-5. 
  • Lamson, Peggy (1973). The Glorious Failure: Black Congressman Robert Brown Elliott and the Reconstruction in South Carolina. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-05451-9. 
  • Black Americans in Congress - Robert Brown Elliott: Representative, 1871–1874, Republican from South Carolina

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Solomon L. Hoge
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Lewis C. Carpenter