Benjamin Gwinn Harris
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (February 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
Born near Leonardtown, St. Mary's County, Maryland, Harris attended Yale College in the late 1820s, and Harvard Law School from 1829 to 1830. He served as member of the Maryland House of Delegates in 1833 and 1836, and was admitted to the bar in 1840. Harris was removed from Yale after taking part in a student protest against the poor quality of the food in the campus housing. While serving in the Maryland House of Delegates, he opposed the Know-Nothing Party and championed religious freedom. Yet, he also sought to enforce slavery and the oppression of African-Americans including the re-enslavement of Maryland's freedmen on the eve of the Civil War.
Harris was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth Congresses (March 4, 1863 – March 3, 1867). He voted against every war appropriations measure brought to the House of Representatives. His vote on the Thirteenth Amendment is recorded as nay. He was censured by the House of Representatives on April 9, 1864, for treasonable utterances. In his defense of Congressman Alexander Long, Harris openly prayed for a southern victory on the floor of the House. He was tried by a military court in Washington, D.C. in May 1865 for harboring two paroled Confederate soldiers, and sentenced to three years imprisonment and forever disqualified from holding any office under the United States Government, but President Andrew Johnson subsequently remitted the sentence. He died on his estate, "Ellenborough," near Leonardtown, Maryland, April 4, 1895. He was interred in the family burying ground on his estate.
- United States Congress. "Benjamin Gwinn Harris (id: H000232)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Benjamin Gwinn Harris at Find a Grave
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 5th congressional district
This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.