Horace Maynard bigraphy, stories - American politician

Horace Maynard : biography

August 30, 1814 - May 3, 1882

Horace Maynard (August 30, 1814 – May 3, 1882) was an American educator, attorney, politician and diplomat active primarily in the second half of the 19th century. Initially elected to the House of Representatives from Tennessee's 2nd Congressional District in 1857, Maynard, an ardent Union supporter, became one of the few Southern congressmen to maintain his seat in the House during the Civil War. Toward the end of the war, Maynard served as Tennessee's attorney general under Governor Andrew Johnson, and later served as ambassador to Turkey under President Ulysses S. Grant and Postmaster General under President Rutherford B. Hayes.Oliver P. Temple, (New York: Cosmopolitan Press, 1912), pp. 137-149.

Maynard left his teaching position at East Tennessee College in the early 1840s to pursue a career in law, and quickly developed a reputation among his peers for his reasoning ability and biting sarcastic style. He spent much of his first two terms in Congress fighting to preserve the Union, and during the Civil War he consistently urged President Abraham Lincoln to send Union forces to free East Tennessee from its Confederate occupiers.Oliver P. Temple, East Tennessee and the Civil War (Johnson City, Tenn.: Overmountain Press, 1995), pp. 437-441. Maynard returned to Congress after the war, but being a Republican in a Democrat-controlled state, he struggled in statewide elections.

References and notes


Early life

Born in Westborough, Massachusetts, Maynard was educated at Millbury Academy and later at Amherst College.East Tennessee Historical Society, Mary Rothrock (ed.), The French Broad-Holston Country: A History of Knox County, Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.: East Tennessee Historical Society, 1972), pp. 453-454. When Maynard entered Amherst, he puzzled his classmates by placing a "V" above his door, the meaning of which was revealed in 1838 when Maynard was named valedictorian of his graduating class. In 1839, he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he accepted a position as a professor at East Tennessee College (now the University of Tennessee). He initially taught in the university's preparatory (high school) department, but in 1841 he became a college-level teacher of mathematics and ancient languages.Kathleen Zebley, , Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, accessed 9 August 2011.

Maynard was initially disenchanted with Knoxville, which he considered backward and unsophisticated, and contemplated leaving Tennessee. After he was admitted to the bar in 1844, however, he found a niche arguing cases in local courts, and decided to make the city his permanent home. Knoxville attorney Oliver Perry Temple (1820–1907), a colleague of Maynard, described Maynard as "abrupt and unamiable, and often offensive in his manners, snapping up men without hesitation." This style agitated Maynard's peers, but at the same time gained their respect.

Early congressional terms

When Maynard first ran for Congress in 1853, he was ruthlessly attacked in local newspapers, and was defeated by William Churchwell. In 1857, with the Knoxville Whig backing his campaign, he captured the 2nd District's congressional seat. In his 1859 reelection campaign, Maynard easily defeated fellow attorney J. C. Ramsey, winning 67% of the vote.Robert McKenzie, Lincolnites and Rebels: A Divided Town in the American Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 36-37, 49, 145.

Maynard initially supported the Whig Party, and served as a presidential elector in 1852. After the collapse of the Whig Party, he ran for Congress on the American, Opposition and Unionist party tickets in 1857, 1859, and 1861, respectively.

Secession crisis and views on slavery

Maynard's complex views on slavery reflected shifting sentiments that were common among East Tennessee Unionists. During the 1830s, Maynard, the son of an abolitionist, found slavery contemptible, calling it "a curse to the country." By 1850, however, Maynard was defending the practice of slavery in letters to his father, arguing there was a "bright as well as a dark side to slavery." In 1860, Maynard owned four slaves, and while he opposed secession as a congressman, he nevertheless defended slavery. Toward the end of the Civil War, Maynard again adopted an abolitionist viewpoint, and supported Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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