James W. Grimes

James W. Grimes

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James Wilson Grimes was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

, serving as the third Governor of Iowa and a United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

.

Biography


Born in Deering, New Hampshire
Deering, New Hampshire
Deering is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,912 at the 2010 census.-History:First settled about 1765, the town was incorporated on January 17, 1774 by John Wentworth, governor of the province of New Hampshire...

, Grimes graduated from Hampton Academy and attended Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. The institution comprises a liberal arts college, Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business, as well as 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences...

. He studied law, moved west and commenced practice in a settlement in 'Black Hawk
Black Hawk War
The Black Hawk War was a brief conflict fought in 1832 between the United States and Native Americans headed by Black Hawk, a Sauk leader. The war erupted soon after Black Hawk and a group of Sauks, Meskwakis, and Kickapoos known as the "British Band" crossed the Mississippi River into the U.S....

 Purchase', Wisconsin Territory
Wisconsin Territory
The Territory of Wisconsin was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 3, 1836, until May 29, 1848, when an eastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Wisconsin...

, that was later incorporated as Burlington, Iowa
Burlington, Iowa
Burlington is a city in, and the county seat of Des Moines County, Iowa, United States. The population was 25,663 in the 2010 census, a decline from the 26,839 population in the 2000 census. Burlington is the center of a micropolitan area including West Burlington, Iowa and Middletown, Iowa and...

. He also farmed. Grimes served as a member of the Iowa Territorial
Iowa Territory
The Territory of Iowa was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1838, until December 28, 1846, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Iowa.-History:...

 House of Representatives for 18381839 and 18431844 terms. He served as Governor of Iowa from 1854 to 1858. While elected as a Whig in 1854, he was a guiding light in the Republican Party's
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 establishment in Iowa in 1855 and 1856.

U.S. Senate


Grimes was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 1859 and reelected in 1865. He served in the Senate from March 4, 1859, until December 6, 1869, when he resigned due to ill health.

In the Senate, he served as chairman of the Committee on the District of Columbia
United States Senate Committee on the District of Columbia
The United States Senate Committee on the District of Columbia was one of the first standing committees created in the United States Senate, in 1816. It had jurisdiction over the District of Columbia...

 (in the 37th and 38th Congresses), and the Committee on Naval Affairs (in the 39th through 41st Congresses). He also served on the Joint Committee on Reconstruction
United States Congress Joint Committee on Reconstruction
The Joint Committee on Reconstruction, also known as the Joint Committee of Fifteen, was a joint committee of the United States Congress that played a major role in Reconstruction in the wake of the American Civil War...

 which drafted the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

.

In 1861 Grimes was a member of the peace convention
Peace conference of 1861
The Peace Conference of 1861 was a meeting of more than 100 of the leading politicians of the antebellum United States held in Washington, D.C., in February 1861 that was meant to prevent what ultimately became the Civil War. The success of President Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party in the...

 held in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

.

During President Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

's impeachment trial
Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States, was one of the most dramatic events in the political life of the United States during Reconstruction, and the first impeachment in history of a sitting United States president....

, Grimes broke party ranks, along with six other Republican senators and voted for acquittal. These seven Republican senators were disturbed by how the proceedings had been manipulated in order to give a one-sided presentation of the evidence.

Senators William Pitt Fessenden, Joseph S. Fowler
Joseph S. Fowler
Joseph Smith Fowler was a United States Senator from Tennessee from 1866 to 1871.-Biography:Fowler was born in Steubenville, Ohio. He graduated from Grove Academy in that city and subsequently from Franklin College in New Athens, Ohio in 1843. He taught school in Shelby County, Kentucky in 1844...

, James W. Grimes, John B. Henderson
John B. Henderson
John Brooks Henderson was a United States Senator from Missouri and a co-author of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution....

, Lyman Trumbull
Lyman Trumbull
Lyman Trumbull was a United States Senator from Illinois during the American Civil War, and co-author of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.-Education and early career:...

, Peter G. Van Winkle
Peter G. Van Winkle
Peter Godwin Van Winkle was a United States Senator from West Virginia.Born in New York City, he completed preparatory studies, studied law, and was admitted to the bar, commencing practice in Parkersburg, Virginia in 1835...

, and Edmund G. Ross
Edmund G. Ross
Edmund Gibson Ross was a politician who represented the state of Kansas after the American Civil War and was later governor of the New Mexico Territory. His vote against convicting of President Andrew Johnson of "high crimes and misdemeanors" allowed Johnson to stay in office by the margin of one...

 of Kansas, who provided the decisive vote, defied their party and public opinion and voted against impeachment.

Grimes died in Burlington on February 7, 1872, aged 55. He is buried in the Aspen Grove cemetery, in Burlington.

The plot of land that his home was once located on is now home to an elementary school that bears his name.

External links

. Includes Guide to Research Collections where his papers are located.