Benjamin Franklin Butler (lawyer)
|Benjamin Franklin Butler|
|12th United States Attorney General|
November 15, 1833 – July 4, 1838
Martin Van Buren
|Preceded by||Roger B. Taney|
|Succeeded by||Felix Grundy|
December 17, 1795|
Kinderhook Landing, Columbia County, New York
|Died||November 8, 1858
Benjamin Franklin Butler (December 17, 1795 – November 8, 1858) was a prominent lawyer from the state of New York. A professional and politial ally of Martin Van Buren, among the many elective and appointive positions he held were Attorney General of the United States and United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He was also a founder of New York University and one of the founders of the Children's Village school in New York City.
He was the son of Medad Butler and Hannah Butler (née Tylee), of Kinderhook Landing, in Columbia County, New York. He studied at Hudson Academy in Hudson, New York, and read law with Martin Van Buren, whose son John Van Buren later read law with Butler.
Butler was admitted to the bar in 1817, and became Martin Van Buren's partner. Francis Wellman, in his book The Art of Cross-Examination, regarded Butler as one of the most successful cross-examiners of his day (p. 233).
In 1818, he married Harriet Allen; their children included attorney William Allen Butler.
Butler was one of the earliest members of the Albany Regency. He began his political career as district attorney of Albany County, serving from 1821 to 1824. He was appointed one of the three commissioners to revise the State statutes in 1825. Butler was a member from Albany County of the New York State Assembly in 1828. In 1833, he served as commissioner for New York to adjust the New Jersey boundary line. On November 15, 1833, President Andrew Jackson appointed Butler Attorney General, an office he held until 1838. From that year until 1841, and from 1845 to 1848, he was United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Legacy and death
Butler was a regent of the University of the State of New York from 1829 to 1832. He was instrumental in founding New York University in 1831 and served in various capacities with the university from its inception. He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Rutgers University in 1834. He was appointed principal professor of New York University in 1837.
- Levy, Uriah Phillips; Butler, Benjamin F. (1858). Defence of Uriah P. Levy: Before the court of inquiry held at Washington City, November and December, 1857 (ebook). Washington D.C.: W. C. Gardner. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
- "OUR CITY CHARITIES--NO. II.; The New-York Juvenile Asylum.". New York Times. January 31, 1860. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
- Wellman, Francis L. (1903–1904). The Art of Cross-Examination. London: The Macmillan Company. Retrieved October 26, 2012. at Internet Archive
- Benjamin Franklin Butler at Find a Grave
- Riggs, Brett H.; Duncan, Barbara (2003). Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press in association with the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. p. 189. ISBN 0-8078-5457-3.
- Thomas, Gordon L. (1959). "Benjamin F. Butler, prosecutor". Quarterly Journal of Speech (Published on behalf of the National Communication Association 95th Anniversary in 2009) 45 (3): 288–298. doi:10.1080/00335635909382362. ISSN 0033-5630.
Roger B. Taney
|U.S. Attorney General
Served under: Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren