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Historical Biography

Attorney General: John David Ashcroft

Ashcroft, John David
79th Attorney General, -

John David Ashcroft was born on May 9, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. He received his degree with honors from Yale in 1964, and he earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1967.

In 1967, Mr. Ashcroft and his wife opened a law practice in Springfield, Missouri. At the same time, he accepted a teaching position at Southwest Missouri State University where he remained until entering politics in 1972, when he became the state auditor for Missouri. He then became the assistant attorney general, serving from 1975-1977. In 1977, he became the attorney general of Missouri, serving in that capacity until 1984. From 1985 to 1992, Mr. Ashcroft was the governor of Missouri. He then returned to private practice at the law firm of Suelthaus and Kaplan P.C. until 1994. In 1995, he was elected an U.S. Senator from Missouri.

Mr. Ashcroft was the Chairman of the Task Force on Adult Literacy, Task Force on College Quality National Governor’s Association in 1991. Additionally, he was chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association in 1990 and co-chairman of the Republican Platform Committee in 1992. Further, he was the president of the National Association of Attorney Generals from 1980 to 1981. Mr. Ashcroft was vice chairman of the National Governors Association in 1990 and chairman from 1991 to 1992 as well as the chairman of the President’s Committee on Urban Families in 1992.

Mr. Ashcroft was the recipient of the Wyman award in 1983 and the National Sheriffs Association award in 1996. Also, he was named Christian Statesman of the Year in 1996. Mr. Ashcroft is author of Lessons from a Father to His Son and co-author of multiple editions of two college law textbooks with his wife.

President Bush announced Mr. Ashcroft as his pick for attorney general on December 22, 2000, and he became the 79th attorney general. His resignation took effect on February 3, 2005, after serving four years as attorney general.

About the Artist: John Howard Sanden

Sanden (1935-  ) was born in Austin, Texas, and moved to New York, New York, in 1969 to pursue a career in portrait painting. A graduate of the Minneapolis School of Art, he has also studied at The Art Students League of New York, and has authored five books on portrait painting. He painted Attorney General Ashcroft’s portrait in 2005.

Updated October 25, 2022