Voorhees, Daniel W.

Indiana Democrat US Senator 1877-97, led powerful Senate Finance Committee 1893-95 in coinage & tariff issues

Price: $10.00

Description:
(1827-1897) ‘Uncle Dan”, "The Tall Sycamore of the Wabash," Ohio-born Indiana US Senator 1877-97, a leader of the Democratic party and an anti-war Copperhead during the Civil War. Graduated from Indiana Asbury University (now DePauw University) in 1849, admitted to the bar 1850, and moved to Terre Haute in 1857. He was US Attorney for Indiana 1858-61, US Rep (D) 1861-66 & 1869, and was a US Senator 1877-97. During the Civil War he was an anti-war Copperhead, but not as radical as Clement Vallandigham and others. Voorhees was a member of the powerful Senate Finance Committee and his 1st Senate speech was a defense of free coinage of silver and a plea to preserve the full legal tender value of greenbacks. On tariff matters, he voted with his party, but was no free trade enthusiast. In allusion to his unusual stature he was called "the Tall Sycamore of the Wabash." While a partisan Democrat, he was widely liked on both sides of the Senate aisle. He had a warm friendship with Abraham Lincoln in their circuit-riding days, and that friendship outlasted their political differences to the end Lincoln's life. President Grant also got along well with him, as did President Arthur. Stories abounded about his generosity with anyone telling a hard luck story and he rarely met a pension bill that he could oppose. The Treasury, to him, was open to whoever needed help. In 1893, Voorhees came in for serious controversy when President Cleveland called Congress into extra session to repeal the silver purchase clause of the 1890 Sherman Act. As chair of the Senate Finance Committee, he could prevent action, and 3 years before, he was among the leading supporters for unlimited coinage of silver. He remained a believer in bimetallism: the use of both silver and gold to back up the US currency. Indiana was less friendly to an inflated currency than 20 years before, and manufacturers and industrialists were much more decisive in their demand for a gold standard. Members of the Indiana House delegation wanted him to do nothing to risk their own political futures, as any blockage of the repeal bill would be sure to do. Voorhees also had to reckon with the other big issue pending, on which he and the president would have to part company: tariff reduction. Realizing that he would have to pick his fights, and sweetened with great dollops of patronage by the Administration, Voorhees agreed to carry the repeal bill through, and he kept absolute faith. He delivered his last speech in the Senate in January 1896 on behalf of silver coinage and denouncing tariff protectionists and centralizers of government power. The following winter, he was replaced with a Republican, though every Democratic vote went for him in the legislature. He returned to Indiana, preparing to write a memoir that he hoped would be completed and would sell, as Grant's memoirs did; without it, he would be leaving his daughter with no estate at all. Only 3 sections of it were completed before his death and his estate could not even afford his funeral expenses. Signed 4 ¾ x 7 autograph album page, adds “Indiana” under his signature. Undated but ca. 1877-79.

Condition: Very good
Type:Signed album page






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