George F. Hoar

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George Frisbie Hoar
George F. Hoar - Brady-Handy.jpg
Former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
From: March 4, 1877 – September 30, 1904
Predecessor George S. Boutwell
Successor Winthrop M. Crane
Former U.S. Representative from Massachusetts's 9th Congressional District
From: March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1877
Predecessor Alvah Crocker
Successor William W. Rice
State Senator from Massachusetts (Worcester District)
From: June 1876 – November 1, 1879
Predecessor Francis H. Dewey
Jabez Fisher
Artemas Lee
Salem Towne
Successor John M. Earle
State Representative from Massachusetts (Worcester District)
From: January 7, 1852 – January 4, 1853
Predecessor ???
Successor ???
Party Free Soil (before 1855)
Republican (since 1855)
Spouse(s) Mary Louisa Spurr
(died 1859)
Ruth Ann Miller (died 1903)
Religion Christian[1]

George Frisbie Hoar (August 29, 1826 – September 30, 1904) was a Free Soiler and Republican from Massachusetts who represented the state's 8th and 9th congressional districts in the United States House of Representatives, later serving as a U.S. senator until his death. Hoar was previously a member of the state legislature, similarly having served in both houses.

An abolitionist and Radical Republican,[2] Hoar recognized the immorality of slavery[3] and was raised by parents who actively opposed racial bigotry and often defied unjust laws.[1] Hoar expressed sharp disdain for the Democratic Party, which he viewed as the party of the saloon keeper, ballot stuffer, and Ku Klux Klan.

Interestingly enough, Hoar was an early member of the GOP Half-Breeds faction,[3][4] which as a whole[note 1] was associated with moderate/liberal Republicanism in opposition towards the conservative, pro-spoils system Stalwarts who were largely comprised of the Radical Republican faction remnants.

Hoar was referred to by his middle name "Frisbie" among friends.[3]

Political career

An economic nationalist, Hoar believed in capitalism as progress for civilization in accordance to the plans by God.[3] He supported measures which aimed at protecting American industries from foreign competition.

According to an analysis of his voting record, Hoar supported the conservative side in Congress 89% of the time.[2]

U.S. House of Representatives

In 1868, Hoar was easily elected to the U.S. House from Massachusetts' 8th congressional district, defeating Democrat Henry H. Stevens by a landslide.[5] He was re-elected for three additional terms,[6] generally facing little serious competition except for the 1874 midterms, where he only narrowly defeated Democrat Eli Thayer by only 2.5 percentage points.[7]

In Congress, Hoar established a reputation as a conservative on economic issues.[2] He opposed inflation, post-war greenbacks without the backing of gold, and free coinage of silver. In addition to viewing silver as an "inferior metal," Hoar supported protectionist tariffs, a common position within the Republican Party.[2]

In 1874, a dying Charles Sumner lied on his deathbed, and among his last visitors were Rep. Hoar.[2] Sumner told the representative to ensure passage of what became known as the Civil Rights Act of 1875:

You must take care of the civil rights bill – my bill, the civil rights bill – don't let it fail!

—Charles Sumner, March 11, 1874

Indeed, Hoar successfully fought in ensuring the bill's passage,[8] although it became law in a weakened form.[2]

Hoar declined to seek a fifth consecutive House term in 1876, instead running for Senate.

U.S. Senate

In the 1876 elections, Hoar ran for U.S. Senate from the state's Class II seat, and easily won; he was re-elected four times.[6]

Hoar was a leading opponent of the Chinese Exclusion Act on principled grounds against racial and ethnic bigotry,[1] believing in America being a land that should not make legal distinctions on race or color.[2] He was one of fifteen Republican senators to vote against the bill in 1882.[9]

During the 1884 presidential election, Hoar expressed sharp anger at Mugwumps, Republicans who supported Bourbon Democrat Grover Cleveland over GOP nominee James Gillespie Blaine; he asserted to a friend who supported Cleveland:[1]

There was a time when I hoped to meet you in heaven, it is gone.

—Sen. George Frisbie Hoar

Sen. Hoar in 1886 vocally voiced support for women's suffrage.[2] His viewpoints advocating equal treatment for women received praise from National Legislative League president Lillie D. Blake, who wrote:[1]

[Hoar] was instrumental in the passage of many laws which gave to us better opportunities of education or of wage earning, and, above all, he was the fearless champion of our [women's] absolute political equality.

— Lillie Devereaux Blake

Picture of Sen. Hoar in 1899.[10]

In 1891, Hoar was a leading senator who sponsored the Federal Elections Bill (also known as the Force Bill) introduced by colleague Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr. that aimed to utilize the 15th Amendment for securing black voting rights in the South.[2][8] When the legislation faced filibusters by Democrats, Republican Vice President Levi P. Morton refused to help the Senate GOP make further efforts in support of the bill; an angered Hoar denounced Morton as having:[11]

...asserted their authority with as little show of force as if they were presiding over a company of guests at their own table.

—Sen. George Frisbie Hoar, 1891

Western liberal, pro-inflation Silver Republicans opposed the Lodge Bill, believing their anti-civil rights stance would attract Southern Democrat support for their pro-silver cause.[11] When the Democrat/Silver Republican coalition narrowly passed a resolution by a 35–34 vote over main GOP opposition substituting the Force Bill from Senate business, the legislation was effectively defeated.

An adamant fiscal conservative, Hoar stated in 1893:[2]

A sound currency is to the affairs of this life what a pure religion and a sound system of morals are to the affairs of the spiritual life.

—Sen. George Frisbie Hoar, 1893

While opposing racist immigration policies, Hoar also favored literacy tests as prerequisites for immigrating to the United States, voting for the Lodge immigration bill.[2] Although vetoed by President Grover Cleveland, its provisions later re-appeared in the Immigration Act of 1917.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Cohn, Henry S.; Gee, Harvey. “No, No, No, No!”: Three Sons of Connecticut Who Opposed the Chinese Exclusion Acts. University of Connecticut. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Fascinating Politics (February 17, 2021). George Frisbie Hoar: An Honorable Senator. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 George Hoar. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  4. Welch, Richard E., Jr. George Frisbie Hoar and the Half-Breed Republicans. Harvard University Press. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  5. MA District 8 Race - Nov 03, 1868. Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Candidate - George Frisbie Hoar. Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  7. MA District 9 Race - Nov 03, 1874. Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Legislative Interests. US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  9. TO PASS H.R. 5804. (P. 3412). Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  10. Sen. George Frisbie Hoar, 1826-1904. Library of Congress. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  11. 11.0 11.1 About the Vice President | Levi Parsons Morton, 22nd Vice President (1889-1893). United States Senate. Retrieved November 11, 2021.


  1. The Half-Breeds were not always uniformly in line on all issues; although the faction is regarded having supported civil service reform, its leader James G. Blaine did not.

Further reading

External links