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Photographic portrait of a middle-aged, curly-haired man with a short beard and a slight smile.  He is formally dressed in the fashions of the mid-19th century.

Judah Benjamin (1811–1884) was a lawyer and United States Senator from Louisiana, a Cabinet officer of the Confederate States and, after his escape to the United Kingdom at the end of the American Civil War, an English barrister. He was the first person professing the Jewish faith to be elected to the Senate, and the first Jew to hold a cabinet position in North America. After attending Yale, Benjamin moved to New Orleans, where he read law and passed the bar. He rose rapidly both at the bar and in politics, becoming a wealthy slaveowner, and serving in both houses of the Louisiana legislature prior to his election to the Senate in 1852. There, he was an ardent supporter of slavery. When war began, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed him Attorney General, and later Secretary of War. Made Secretary of State in 1862, Benjamin unsuccessfully tried to gain recognition of the Confederacy by France and the United Kingdom. When Davis fled from Virginia in early 1865, Benjamin went with him. He escaped to Britain and settled there, becoming a barrister and again rising to the top of his profession before retiring in 1883. He died in Paris the following year. (Full article...)

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Anna Ancher: Harvesters (1905)
Anna Ancher: Harvesters (1905)

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August 30: Constitution Day in Kazakhstan (1995); St. Rose of Lima's Day in Peru; Victory Day in Turkey

Parliament House, Melbourne
Parliament House, Melbourne

Today's featured picture

Nighthawks

Nighthawks is an oil painting on canvas completed by the American artist Edward Hopper in 1942. It portrays people in a downtown diner late at night. The painting is held by the Art Institute of Chicago, which purchased it within months of its completion. The painting has frequently been referenced in American popular culture, and several writers have searched for its real-life inspiration.

Painting: Edward Hopper

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