Allen G. Thurman
name=Allen Granberry Thurman
jr/sr=United States Senator
March 4, 1869– March 3, 1881
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
April 15, 1879
December 5, 1880
Thomas W. Ferry
Thomas F. Bayard
date of birth=birth date|1813|11|13|mf=y
place of birth=
Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S.
date of death=death date and age|1895|12|12|1813|11|13|mf=y
place of death=
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
spouse=Mary Dun Thomplins Thurman
Politician, Lawyer, Judge, Secretary
Allen Granberry Thurman (
November 13, 1813– December 12, 1895) was a Democratic Representative and Senator from Ohio, as well as the nominee of the Democratic Party for Vice President of the United Statesin 1888.
He was born in
Lynchburg, Virginia, to Pleasant Thurman and Mary Granberry Allen Thurman. Both his parents were teachers; his father also a Methodistminister. In 1815, his parents emancipated their slaves and moved to Chillicothe, Ohio. He attended the academy run by his mother, and then studied lawas an apprentice to his uncle, William Allen (who later became a Senator from Ohio).
At the age of eighteen, Thurman worked on a land survey, and at twenty-one became private secretary to the
Governor of Ohio, Robert Lucas.
In 1835 he was admitted to the Ohio bar and became his uncle's law partner. In 1837] his uncle entered the Senate. On
November 14, 1844, Thurman married Mary Dun Thomplins (or Tompkins), who was to bear him three children. The same year he was elected to the House of Representatives as its youngest member. He generally supported the majority of the Democrats on all issues except internal improvements, on which he tended to vote with the Whigs. He supported the Polk Administration's conduct of the Mexican-American War, spoke in favor of the 54o40' northern limit to the Oregonterritory, and voted for the Wilmot Proviso, which would have banned slaveryfrom the territory gained from Mexico. Ironically, his support for the latter was due to anti- African-Americanprejudice, as he wanted to reserve this territory for white settlement.
After a single two-year term, he left the House voluntarily to resume private law practice. However, in 1851, he accepted an appointment to the Ohio supreme court, where he served for five years, the last year as the chief justice. He then returned to private law practice.
In 1853 he moved from Chillicothe to
Columbus, Ohio, where he lived for the rest of his life.
Thurman spoke out against the repeal of the
Missouri Compromiseand opposed the pro-slavery Lecompton constitutionfor Kansas. In 1860 he was a supporter of Stephen A. Douglasfor President. He never accepted the right of a state to secede, but he felt it was unwise to fight a state that had already left the Union, so during the American Civil War, he was opposed to Lincoln's policies, especially on emancipation. While he supported the war effort, he encouraged compromise and a political settlement.
In 1867, he ran for Governor of Ohio, on a platform opposed to extending
suffrageto blacks, but lost to Rutherford B. Hayesin a close election. The Ohio voters chose a Democratic state legislature, however, which selected Thurman as Senator for the term beginning in 1869. He there became a strong opponent of the Republicans' Reconstruction measures. In 1873 Thurman crafted a strategy that led to Ohio choosing once more a Democratic legislature, and electing Thurman's uncle William Allen as governor. The legislature elected Thurman to another term in the Senate. During the twelve years he served in the Senate, he became the leader of the Democrats in that body.
In the 1876–1877 electoral college crisis, he helped to arrive at the solution of creating the Electoral Commission to settle the controversy, and ultimately served as one of the members of the commission, as one of the five Senators (one of the two Senate Democrats, and one of the seven Democrats altogether). As a Democrat, he voted with the seven-member minority, in favor of the
Samuel J. Tildenelectors in all cases, but the Republican majority prevailed in all the votes, and Thurman's 1867 gubernatorial opponent, Rutherford B. Hayes, became President. (One of the House of Representatives' members of the Commission, fellow Ohioan James Garfield, was to become the President four years later, after being chosen by the now-Republican Ohio legislature to succeed Thurman.)
In the Senate, Thurman served on the Judiciary Committee, becoming its chairman when the Democrats won control of the Senate in the 46th Congress. He also became President pro tempore of the Senate briefly, serving as president of the Senate because of the illness of Vice-President
William A. Wheeler, before Ohio chose a Republican legislature, which would not reelect Thurman. They first chose Garfield, but on his election to the Presidency, selected John Sherman to succeed Thurman beginning in 1881. Garfield did appoint Thurman as American representative to the international monetary conference in Paris.
Thurman was put forth as a
favorite soncandidate in the Democratic presidential nominating conventions in 1876, 1880, and 1884. In 1888, he was selected by the incumbent president, Grover Cleveland, as his vice presidential running mate, because Vice President Thomas Hendricks had died in office. But the Cleveland-Thurman ticket lost to the Republicans.
Thurman died at home in Columbus.
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7052066 Allen G. Thurman] at
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