Hannibal Hamlin

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Hannibal Hamlin
Hannibal hamlin.jpg
15th Vice President of the United States
From: March 4, 1861 – March 4, 1865
President Abraham Lincoln
Predecessor John C. Breckinridge
Successor Andrew Johnson
Former U.S. Senator from Maine
From: March 4, 1869 – March 3, 1881
Predecessor Lot M. Morrill
Successor Eugene Hale
Former U.S. Senator from Maine
From: March 4, 1857 – January 17, 1861
Predecessor Amos Norse
Successor Lot M. Morill
Former U.S. Senator from Maine
From: June 8, 1848 – January 7, 1857
Predecessor Wyman B. S. Moor
Successor Amos Nourse
Former U.S. Representative from Maine's 6th Congressional District
From: March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1847
Predecessor Alfred Marshall
Successor James S. Wiley
Party Democrat (before 1856)
Republican (since 1856)
Spouse(s) Ellen Vesta Emery Hamlin
Religion Unitarian

Hannibal Hamlin (August 27, 1809 – July 4, 1891) was Abraham Lincoln's first vice president. Abraham Lincoln later rejected him as a VP pick because he wanted a southerner as his running mate for the 1864 election.[1] Hamlin was also a governor and United States Senator from Maine.[2]

Political career

U.S. Senate, 1848–57

Hamlin ran for U.S. Senate in 1941 as a Jacksonian Democrat, though lost massively.[3] Although a member of the Democratic Party during this period, he was largely a nominal figure, as he consistently opposed slavery.[4] He was appointed to the Senate in 1848, and won re-election in 1850.[5]

Short gubernatorial tenure, 1857

In 1956, Hamlin ran for Governor of Maine and easily won by over twenty percentage points.[6] During the election cycle, Hamlin switched party allegiance to join the newly formed Republican Party which represented abolitionists like himself.[2][4]

Although he took the seat, Hamlin resigned from being Governor of Maine less than a month afterwards to return to the Senate.[2]

Vice Presidency

In the 1860 presidential election, the Lincoln/Hamlin Republican ticket won the general election. As disgruntled Southern Democrats seceded from the Union and the Civil War ensued, Hamlin proved to be strongly anti-slavery,[7] his ideology in line with the congressional Radical Republicans. Although not playing a highly significant role in the administration's policies, Hamlin bolstered the agenda as presiding officer in the U.S. Senate.[8]

In the following election cycle, the GOP led by Lincoln[9] reluctantly turned its back on Hamlin from the Republican presidential ticket due to fears of losing support from War Democrats and Unionists,[8] and the Republican National Convention instead nominated Andrew Johnson as the vice presidential pick.[7] Lincoln told Hamlin at the time:

You have not been treated right. It is too bad, too bad. But what can I do? I am tied hand and foot.

Following Lincoln's assassination by John Wilkes Booth, Johnson assumed the presidency and proved to be an ally of fellow racist Democrats in obstructing efforts to ensure civil rights and justice for newly freed slaves. He was impeached by the House though narrowly acquitted by one vote in the Senate.


Hamlin died in early July 1891. The funeral was described by The New York Times as the largest:[10]

...ever witnessed in Maine.

See also


  1. Fandex, Workman Publishing, 2002.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Gov. Hannibal Hamlin. National Governors Association. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  3. ME US Senate Race - Jan 28, 1841. Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hamlin, Hannibal. Maine: An Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  5. ME US Senate Race - Nov 03, 1950. Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  6. ME Governor Race - Sep 08, 1956. Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Witcover, Jules (November 16, 2014). Lincoln's vice-presidential switch changed history. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hamlin, Hannibal, 1809-1891. Social Networks and Archival Context. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  9. Hannibal Hamlin. Britannica. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  10. July 9, 1891. HANNIBAL HAMLIN BURIED.; THE LARGEST FUNERAL EVER WITNESSED IN MAINE.. The New York Times. Archived version available here. Retrieved August 20, 2021.

External links