World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Schuyler Colfax

Article Id: WHEBN0000089151
Reproduction Date:

Title: Schuyler Colfax  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: United States presidential election, 1868, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Henry Wilson, Andrew Johnson, Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant
Collection: 1823 Births, 1885 Deaths, American Abolitionists, American Activists, American Odd Fellows, American People of Dutch Descent, Deaths from Myocardial Infarction, Delegates to the 1851 Indiana Constitutional Convention, Dudley–winthrop Family, Grant Administration Personnel, Indiana Oppositionists, Indiana Republicans, Indiana Whigs, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana, Opposition Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Opposition Party Members of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana, People from New York City, People from St. Joseph County, Indiana, Republican Party (United States) Vice Presidential Nominees, Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Republican Party Vice Presidents of the United States, Schuyler Family, Speakers of the United States House of Representatives, Union Political Leaders, United States Vice-Presidential Candidates, 1868, Vice Presidents of the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Schuyler Colfax

Schuyler Colfax
17th Vice President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1873
President Ulysses S. Grant
Preceded by Andrew Johnson
Succeeded by Henry Wilson
25th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
In office
December 7, 1863 – March 3, 1869
President Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Preceded by Galusha A. Grow
Succeeded by Theodore M. Pomeroy
Member of U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 9th district
In office
March 4, 1855 – March 4, 1869
Preceded by Norman Eddy
Succeeded by John P. C. Shanks
Personal details
Born Schuyler Colfax Jr.
March 23, 1823 (1823-03-23)
New York City, New York
Died Did not recognize date. Try slightly modifying the date in the first parameter. (aged 61)
Mankato, Minnesota
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Evelyn Clark Colfax
Ellen Maria Wade Colfax
Children Schuyler Colfax III

Schuyler Colfax Jr. (; March 23, 1823 – January 13, 1885) was a United States Representative from Indiana (1855–1869), Speaker of the House of Representatives (1863–1869), and the 17th Vice President of the United States (1869–1873). To date, he is one of only two Americans (John Nance Garner in the 20th century being the other) to have served as both House speaker and vice president.

President Ulysses S. Grant and Colfax, 46 and 45 respectively at the time of their inauguration, were the youngest Presidential team until the inauguration of Bill Clinton and Al Gore in 1993.[1]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Newspaper editor 2
  • Political career 3
    • Whig Party delegate 3.1
    • Know Nothing 3.2
    • Republican party 3.3
    • Vice Presidency under Ulysses S. Grant 3.4
  • Personal life 4
    • Founder of Rebekah Degree 4.1
    • Last years 4.2
  • Legacy 5
  • Publications 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life and education

Vice President Schuyler Colfax

Colfax was born in Life Guard during the American Revolution, became a general in the New Jersey militia and married Hester Schuyler, a cousin of general Philip Schuyler.[2]

Colfax’s father contracted tuberculosis shortly after marriage and died on October 30, 1822, five months before Colfax was born. His sister Mary died in July 1823, 4 months after he was born. His mother and grandmother ran a boarding house as their primary means of economic support. Colfax attended New York City schools until he was 10 years old, when family financial difficulties led him to take a job in a store. This concluded his formal education: Colfax never attended high school or college.[3]

Newspaper editor

In 1836, Colfax’s mother married George W. Matthews, and Colfax moved with his mother and stepfather to New Carlisle, Indiana. As a young man, Colfax contributed articles on Indiana politics to the New York Tribune and formed a friendship with the editor, Horace Greeley. He established a reputation as rising young Whig and at 19 became the editor of the pro-Whig South Bend Free Press. In 1845, Colfax purchased the newspaper and changed its name to the St. Joseph Valley Register. He remained in charge of the paper for nine years, and wrote editorials in support of first Whig and later Republican views.[4]

Political career

Whig Party delegate

Colfax was a delegate to the Whig Party Convention of 1848 and the Indiana Constitutional Convention of 1849. He was a member of the state constitutional convention in 1850. Colfax was nominated for Congress in 1852, but narrowly lost to his Democratic opponent. He ran again two years later, this time successfully,[5] in 1854 as an Indiana People's Party candidate in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

The same year, Colfax was initiated as a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at DePauw University, without ever having attended that (or any) university.[6]

Know Nothing

In 1855, Colfax considered the

Political offices
Preceded by
Andrew Johnson(1)
Vice President of the United States
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1873
Succeeded by
Henry Wilson
Preceded by
Galusha A. Grow
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
December 7, 1863 – March 4, 1869
Succeeded by
Theodore Medad Pomeroy
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Norman Eddy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 9th congressional district

March 4, 1855 – March 4, 1869
Succeeded by
John P. C. Shanks
Party political offices
Preceded by
Andrew Johnson(1)
Republican vice presidential nominee
Succeeded by
Henry Wilson
Notes and references
1. Lincoln and Johnson ran on the National Union ticket in 1864.
  • Schuyler Colfax's signature on the 1864 joint resolution proposing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery
  • Find-A-Grave profile for Schuyler Colfax
  • Schuyler Colfax, 17th Vice-PresidentUnited States Senate:
  • at archive.orgFremont's hundred days in Missouri : speech of Schuyler Colfax, of Indiana, in reply to Mr. Blair, of Missouri, delivered in the House of Representatives, March 7, 1862
  • at archive.orgThe life and public services of Schuyler Colfax: together with his most important speeches

External links

  1. ^ Ifill, Gwen (July 10, 1992). "THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: Democrats; CLINTON SELECTS SENATOR GORE OF TENNESSEE AS RUNNING MATE". The New York Times. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ William Nelson (1876). Biographical Sketch of William Colfax, Captain of Washington's Body Guard. 
  3. ^ Hollister, Ovando James (1886). Life of Schuyler Colfax. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. pp. 14–19.  
  4. ^ Trefousse, Hans (1991). Historical dictionary of reconstruction. New York: Greenwood Press. pp. 47–48.  
  5. ^ a b c d Bain, David Haward (2004). The Old Iron Road: An Epic of Rails, Roads, and the Urge to Go West. New York City, New York: Penguin Books. pp. 65–6.  
  6. ^ William Raimond Baird (1906). Hand-book of Beta Theta Pi. New York. p. 297. 
  7. ^ Brand, Carl Fremont (1916). The History of the Know Nothing Party in Indiana. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University. p. 74, note 39. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Brinkley, Alan (2008). The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People (5th ed.). New York City, New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 409.  
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Our Rebekah History". Official website. Rebekah Assembly of Idaho. Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  12. ^ "The International Association of Rebekah Assemblies". Rebekahs In the San Francisco/San Jose Bay Area – website. Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  13. ^ Hollister, 1886.
  14. ^ "Schuyler Colfax Dead", The New York Times, January 14, 1885, p. 1.
  15. ^ Political Graveyard
  16. ^


See also

  • Hollister, Ovando James (1886). Life of Schuyler Colfax. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. 


Colfax is portrayed in the Steven Spielberg film Lincoln by actor Bill Raymond during his time as Speaker in 1865.

There is a Colfax Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Elementary School and High School in Colfax, California also bear is last name. The Schuyler-Colfax House, built by Colfax's antecedents,[16] can be found in Wayne, NJ. Also in Wayne is a middle school bearing the same name. Members of his family reside in northern New Jersey, but no longer own the Colfax museum. They are currently trying to purchase the museum and all of its contents.

The main east-west street traversing Aurora, Denver and Lakewood, Colorado, and abutting the Colorado State Capitol is named Colfax Avenue in the politician's honor. There is another Colfax Avenue in South Bend, Indiana (a few miles east of his New Carlisle home and adjacent to his burial site); Colfax Place in the Highland Square neighborhood in Akron, Ohio, in Grant City in New York’s Staten Island; in Minneapolis, Minnesota; in Roselle Park, New Jersey; and a Colfax Street on Chicago's South Side. There is a Colfax Street leading up Mt. Colfax in Springdale, Pennsylvania, in Palatine, Illinois, in Evanston, Illinois, and Jamestown, New York. Dallas, Texas and one of its suburbs, Richardson, each have separate residential roads named Colfax Drive. There is also a Colfax Avenue in Concord, California as well as in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where the school fight song contains the phrase “of that Colfax school” because the high school is located on the street.

Towns in the U.S. states of California, North Carolina, Illinois, Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, and Louisiana are named after him. Schuyler, Nebraska, named after Colfax, is the county seat of Colfax County, Nebraska. The ghost town of Colfax, Colorado, was named after him, as was Colfax County, New Mexico. Colfax, California boasts a bronze statue of Colfax, at the Amtrak station.


He was buried in the City Cemetery at South Bend, Indiana.[15] A historical marker in Mankato in Washington Park, site of the former depot, marks the spot where he died.

After leaving office, Colfax embarked on a successful career as a lecturer. On January 13, 1885, he walked about three-quarters of a mile (1 kilometer) in −30 °F (−34 °C) weather from the Front Street depot to the Omaha depot in Mankato, Minnesota, intending to change trains to reach South Bend via Chicago for a speaking engagement.[13] Five minutes after arriving at the depot, Colfax died of a heart attack brought on by the extreme cold and exhaustion.[14]

Last years

As a member of the [12]

Founder of Rebekah Degree

On October 10, 1844, Colfax married childhood friend Evelyn Clark. She died childless in 1863. On November 18, 1868, two weeks after he was elected vice president, Colfax married Ella M. Wade, a niece of Senator Benjamin Franklin Wade. They had one son, Schuyler Colfax III (born 1870), who served as mayor of South Bend, Indiana from 1898 to 1901. [10]

Personal life

In 1865, Colfax, along with author Samuel Bowles and Lieutenant-Governor of Illinois William Bross, set out across the western territories from Mississippi to the California coast to record their experiences in the new land. They compiled their observations in a book called, OUR NEW WEST, published in 1869 (Hartford Publishing Company in Hartford, CT), thus making Colfax a published author the same year he was inaugurated. Included in their eye-witness accounts were views of Los Angeles, with its wide panorama of vast citrus groves and orchards, and conversations with Brigham Young.

In 1868, Colfax was elected Vice President of the United States on the ticket headed by Ulysses S. Grant.[5] He was inaugurated March 4, 1869, and served until March 4, 1873. Colfax was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination for the vice presidency in 1872 and was replaced by Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson. Colfax had been involved in the Crédit Mobilier of America scandal and left office under a cloud.[5][9]

Vice Presidency under Ulysses S. Grant

When the Whig Party collapsed completely, Colfax joined the new Republican Party that was formed as a fusion of northern Whigs, Anti-Nebraska Act Democrats, Know Nothings, and Free Soilers. After the Republicans gained the majority in the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections of 1858, Colfax became chairman of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads. He was an energetic opponent of slavery and his speech attacking the pro-slavery Lecompton Legislature in Kansas became the most widely requested Republican campaign document in the election. In 1862, following the electoral defeat of House Speaker Galusha Grow, Colfax was elected Speaker of the House.[5] During his term as Speaker, he announced the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Though it is unusual for a Speaker to vote, Colfax, perhaps with an eye towards posterity, directed the clerk to call his name after the roll call had been taken. He then cast the final vote in favour of the amendment, to much applause from the supporters in the House.[8]

Republican party


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.