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Historical Biography

Attorney General: Edwin McMasters Stanton

Stanton, Edwin McMasters
25th Attorney General, -
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Edwin McMasters Stanton was born in Steubenville, Ohio, on December 19, 1814. He attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio then studied law with his guardian, Daniel Collier when funds ran out and commenced practice in Cadiz, Ohio. He received an LL.D. degree from Yale in 1867. Stanton served from 1837 to 1839 as county prosecutor. In 1842, he was elected Reporter of the Decisions of the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio, an office which he held for three years. He was Counsel for the State of Pennsylvania from 1849-1856. He moved to Washington to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1858, he was sent by the Government to California to defend the United States interests in important land cases in Mexico. On December 20, 1860, he was appointed Attorney General of the United States by President Buchanan. In 1862, Stanton was appointed Secretary of War by President Lincoln, and was continued in that position by President Johnson until August 5, 1867, when he was suspended by the President. He was reinstated on January 14, 1868, by order of the Senate. On February 21, 1869, President Johnson made a second effort to remove him, but, by direction of the Senate, he continued in office. Stanton's friends in Congress prevailed upon Grant to offer him a justiceship of the Supreme Court of the United States. His nomination was confirmed on December 20, 1869, but he died on December 24 in Washington, D.C., without occupying his seat.
About the Artist: Francis Bicknell Carpenter


Carpenter was born in Homer, New York, and died in New York City. He spent most of his career in these cities with professional visits to the District of Columbia in 1855 and 1864. The portrait of Attorney General Stanton was painted in March 1865 in Washington, D. C.. Probably his most famous work, "President Lincoln Signing Emancipation Proclamation," hangs today in the House of Representatives.

Updated October 24, 2022