James Harlan (senator)
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James Harlan (August 26, 1820 – October 5, 1899) was an attorney and politician, a member of the
United States Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, politi ...
, a U.S. Cabinet Secretary at the
United States Department of Interior The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the U.S. government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government of the U ...
under President
Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 July 31, 1875) was the 17th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of the pre ...

Andrew Johnson
, and a Federal Judge.


Early life

Harlan was born on August 26, 1820 in
Clark County, Illinois Clark County is a County (United States), county located in the southeastern part of U.S. state of Illinois, along the Indiana state line. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 16,335. Its county seat is Marshall, ...
and raised in
Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 38th-largest by area and the List of U.S. states and territories by population, 17th-most populous o ...

Indiana
. He was the son of Silas Harlan (1792–1868) and Mary (
née __NOTOC__ A birth name is the name of the person given upon their birth. The term may be applied to the surname In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name 300px, First/given, middle and l ...
Connolly) Harlan (1796–1896). As a boy, Harlan attended local schools before graduating from Indiana Asbury University (now
DePauw University DePauw University is a private liberal arts university A liberal arts college or liberal arts institution of higher education is a college with an emphasis on Undergraduate education, undergraduate study in the Liberal arts education, libera ...
) in 1845.


Career

In 1845, he moved to
Iowa City, Iowa Iowa City is a city in Johnson County, Iowa, United States. It is the home of the University of Iowa and county seat of Johnson County, at the center of the Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the time of the 2020 United States Census, ...
, where he served as Superintendent of Schools. He also studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1850. He joined the Whig Party and became active in politics. In 1850, Harlan declined the Whig nomination for
Governor of Iowa A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, ''governor'' may be t ...
. From 1853 to 1855, Harlan was president of
Iowa Wesleyan College Iowa Wesleyan University is a private four-year Liberal arts colleges in the United States, liberal arts college in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. It ranks as Iowa's first co-educational institution of higher learning and is the oldest of its type west of ...
in
Mount Pleasant, Iowa Mount Pleasant is a city in and the county seat of Henry County, Iowa, Henry County, Iowa. The population was 9,274 in the 2020 United States census, 2020 census, an increase from 8,668 in the 2010 United States census, 2010 census. It was founded ...
.


First Senate tenure

In 1855, Harlan was elected by the Iowa legislature to the
United States Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, politi ...
as a
Free Soil Party The Free Soil Party was a short-lived coalition political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas ...

Free Soil Party
candidate. In 1857, the U.S. Senate declared the seat vacant because of irregularities in that legislative election. He was re-elected by the legislature and seated as a
Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
, serving until 1865. In 1861, Harlan was a Delegate to the
Peace Conference A peace conference is a diplomatic Diplomatics (in American English, and in most anglophone countries), or diplomatic (in British English), is a scholarly discipline centred on the critical analysis of document A document is a writing, wr ...
that tried to arrange a compromise to prevent the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by other names Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon nove ...
.


Secretary of the Interior

Harlan was a close friend of President
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of governme ...

Abraham Lincoln
and his family. In 1865, after Lincoln's assassination, he resigned from the Senate when he was appointed as Secretary of the Interior under
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a chief executive officer ...

President
Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 July 31, 1875) was the 17th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of the pre ...

Andrew Johnson
, an appointment he held until 1866. As secretary he announced that he intended to "clean house" and fired "a considerable number of incumbents who were seldom at their respective desks".Loving, Jerome. ''Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself''. University of California Press, 1999. . p. 291. He had done so after requesting, in late May 1865, a report listing all employees who (1.) uttered disloyal statements since the bombardment of Fort Sumter, (2.) all those not known to entertain loyal sentiments or who had associated with those known to be disloyal, (3.) those who were inefficient or not necessary to transact public business, (4.) all such persons "as disregard in their conduct, habits, and associations, the rules of decorum, propriety proscribed by a
christian civilization Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated re ...
." Among this group was the poet
Walt Whitman Walter Whitman (; May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist Humanism is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as t ...

Walt Whitman
, then working as a clerk in the department, who received his dismissal note on June 30, 1865. Harlan had found a copy of ''
Leaves of Grass ''Leaves of Grass'' is a poetry collection by Poetry of the United States, American poet Walt Whitman. Though it was first published in 1855, Whitman spent most of his professional life writing and rewriting ''Leaves of Grass'', revising it multi ...

Leaves of Grass
'' on Whitman's desk as the poet was making revisions and found it to be morally offensive. "I will not have the author of that book in this Department", he said. "If the President of the United States should order his reinstatement, I would resign sooner than I would put him back." Twenty-nine years later, Harlan defended his firing of Whitman, saying that the clerk was dismissed solely "on the grounds that his services were not needed". Harlan was a member of the Southern Treaty Commission that renegotiated treaties with Indian Tribes that had sided with the Confederacy, such as the
Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi or Anigiduwagi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, translit=Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands Indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands, ...

Cherokee
and
Choctaw The Choctaw (in the Choctaw language The Choctaw language (Choctaw: ), spoken by the Choctaw, an Indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands, is part of the Muskogean languages, Muskogean language family. Chickasaw language, Chickasaw (C ...

Choctaw
. As part of the new treaties, they had to emancipate their
slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
, as was being done by amendment within the United States, and offer them full citizenship in the tribes if they chose to stay in Indian Territory. If they left, the freedmen would become United States citizens. (Membership issues related to the Cherokee Freedmen and Choctaw Freedmen have become significant since the late 20th century.) Harlan resigned from the post in 1866 when he no longer supported the policies of .


Second Senate tenure

In 1867, he was elected again by the Iowa legislature to the United States Senate and served until the end of his term in January 1873. During his senate service, Harlan was chairman of the committees of Public Lands; District of Columbia; Education; and Indian Affairs.


Later career

Harlan was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1872, and was also an unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1895. After his Senate career ended, Harlan turned a previous house of his into the Harlan House Hotel. From 1882 to 1886, Harlan was appointed by President as
presiding judge A chief judge (also known as chief justice, presiding judge, president judge or administrative judge) is the highest-ranking or most senior member of a court or tribunal with more than one judge. The chief judge commonly presides over trials and He ...

presiding judge
for the Court of Commissioners, which heard cases related to the Alabama claims.


Personal life

On November 5, 1845, Harlan was married to Ann Eliza Peck (1824–1884) by President
Matthew Simpson Matthew Simpson (21 June 1811 – 18 June 1884) was an American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, elected in 1852 and based mostly in Chicago orrection: Philadelphia. Simpson and his wife were fixtures of Society Hill During the R ...
, who later became a bishop of the
Methodist Episcopal Church The Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) was the oldest and largest Methodist Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** ...

Methodist Episcopal Church
. Ann was the daughter of James Peck and Eunice (née Knight) Peck, both of whom died during Cholera epidemic of 1832. Together, Ann and James were the parents of: *
Mary Eunice Harlan Mary Harlan Lincoln ( Mary Eunice Harlan; September 25, 1846 – March 31, 1937) was the daughter of United States Senator The United States Senate is the Upper house, upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the United ...
(1846–1937), who married Lincoln's son
Robert Todd Lincoln Robert Todd Lincoln (August 1, 1843 – July 26, 1926) was an American lawyer, businessman, and politician. He was the eldest son of President of the United States, President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, and the only one of their ...

Robert Todd Lincoln
in 1868. The couple lived during the summers at Harlan's home in Mount Pleasant. * Silas James Harlan (1850–1850), who died in infancy. * William Aaron Harlan (1852–1876), who was a close friend of
Tad Lincoln Thomas "Tad" Lincoln III (April 4, 1853 – July 15, 1871) was an American child who was the fourth and youngest son of Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common pat ...
. * Julia Josephine Harlan (1856–1862), who died young. Harlan died on October 5, 1899 at his hotel in Mount Pleasant, which become his residence in the early 1890s.


Legacy

Harlan's residence, today known as the Harlan-Lincoln House, has been listed on the
National Register of Historic Places The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government of the United States ...
. Operated as a house museum, it exhibits memorabilia from both the Harlan and Lincoln families. The Harlan House Hotel is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A commemorative sculpture was done of him; Iowa installed it in the
United States Capitol The United States Capitol, often called The Capitol or the Capitol Building, is the meeting place of the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicame ...

United States Capitol
along with one of pioneer Governor Samuel Kirkwood (each state may install two statues for display in the Capitol). The Harlan statue was located in the Hall of Columns until it was replaced in 2014 by a statue of
Norman Borlaug Norman Ernest Borlaug (; March 25, 1914September 12, 2009) was an American agronomist who led initiatives worldwide that contributed to the extensive increases in agricultural production termed the Green Revolution. Borlaug was awarded multiple h ...

Norman Borlaug
. It is now on display at
Iowa Wesleyan College Iowa Wesleyan University is a private four-year Liberal arts colleges in the United States, liberal arts college in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. It ranks as Iowa's first co-educational institution of higher learning and is the oldest of its type west of ...
. The city of
Harlan, Iowa Harlan is a city in Shelby County, Iowa, along the Nishnabotna River, West Nishnabotna River. The population was 4,893 at the time of the 2020 United States Census, 2020 census. It is the county seat of Shelby County, Iowa, Shelby County. History ...
in Shelby County was named for him.


References


External links

* * *
Harlan-Lincoln House, Mount Pleasant, Iowa

James Harlan, Secretary of the Interior
, - , - , - , - , - , - {{DEFAULTSORT:Harlan, James 1820 births 1899 deaths United States Secretaries of the Interior United States senators from Iowa People of Iowa in the American Civil War Union political leaders DePauw University alumni Iowa Whigs 19th-century American politicians Iowa Republicans Iowa Free Soilers Republican Party United States senators Free Soil Party United States senators Andrew Johnson administration cabinet members Members of the United States Senate declared not entitled to their seat