John T. Stuart

John T. Stuart

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John Todd Stuart was a lawyer and a U.S. Representative
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 from Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...


Born near Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 63rd largest in the US. Known as the "Thoroughbred City" and the "Horse Capital of the World", it is located in the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass region...

, Stuart graduated from Centre College
Centre College
Centre College is a private liberal arts college in Danville, Kentucky, USA, a community of approximately 16,000 in Boyle County south of Lexington, KY. Centre is an exclusively undergraduate four-year institution. Centre was founded by Presbyterian leaders, with whom it maintains a loose...

, Danville, Kentucky
Danville, Kentucky
Danville is a city in and the county seat of Boyle County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 16,218 at the 2010 census.Danville is the principal city of the Danville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Boyle and Lincoln counties....

, in 1826. He then studied law, was admitted to the bar
Admission to the bar in the United States
In the United States, admission to the bar is the granting of permission by a particular court system to a lawyer to practice law in that system. Each U.S. state and similar jurisdiction has its own court system and sets its own rules for bar admission , which can lead to different admission...

 in 1828, and commenced practice in Springfield, Illinois
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

. He was a major in the Black Hawk War
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....

 in 1832, where he first met Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

, who was in the same battalion as Stuart.

He served as member of the Illinois House of Representatives
Illinois House of Representatives
The Illinois House of Representatives is the lower house of the Illinois General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Illinois. The body was created by the first Illinois Constitution adopted in 1818. The state House of Representatives is made of 118 representatives elected from...

 between 1832 and 1836. Stuart encouraged Lincoln to study law and the two subsequently became law partners, between 1837 and 1841. If not for Stuart's influence, it is conceivable that Lincoln might never have been interested in the law - and thus, might not ever have become president.

Stuart was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1836 to the Twenty-fifth
25th United States Congress
-House of Representatives:-Leadership:- Senate :* President: Richard Mentor Johnson * President pro tempore: William R. King - House of Representatives :* Speaker: James K. Polk -Members:This list is arranged by chamber, then by state...

 Congress. He was, however, elected as a Whig
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

 to the Twenty-sixth
26th United States Congress
-House of Representatives:- Leadership :- Senate :*President: Richard M. Johnson *President pro tempore: William R. King - House of Representatives :*Speaker: Robert M.T. Hunter -Members:This list is arranged by chamber, then by state...

 and Twenty-seventh
27th United States Congress
The Twenty-seventh United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1841 to March 3, 1843, during the one-month...

 Congresses (March 4, 1839-March 3, 1843), winning over Stephen Douglas in 1838. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1842.

Stuart established a law partnership with Benjamin S. Edwards
Benjamin S. Edwards
Benjamin S. Edwards was an Illinois lawyer, politician, and judge.-Biography:...

 in 1843, a partnership that would last for forty years. Stuart served as member of the Illinois Senate
Illinois Senate
The Illinois Senate is the upper chamber of the Illinois General Assembly, the legislative branch of the government of the state of Illinois in the United States. The body was created by the first state constitution adopted in 1818. The Illinois Senate is made up of 59 senators elected from...

 between 1848 and 1852. He was the unsuccessful Constitutional Union
Constitutional Union Party (United States)
The Constitutional Union Party was a political party in the United States created in 1860. It was made up of conservative former Whigs who wanted to avoid disunion over the slavery issue...

 candidate for Governor of Illinois
Governor of Illinois
The Governor of Illinois is the chief executive of the State of Illinois and the various agencies and departments over which the officer has jurisdiction, as prescribed in the state constitution. It is a directly elected position, votes being cast by popular suffrage of residents of the state....

 in 1860.

Stuart was elected as a Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 to the Thirty-eighth
38th United States Congress
-House of Representatives:Before this Congress, the 1860 United States Census and resulting reapportionment changed the size of the House to 241 members...

 Congress (March 4, 1863-March 3, 1865), and served there while Lincoln was president.

Stuart was a favorite cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln
Mary Todd Lincoln
Mary Ann Lincoln was the wife of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and was First Lady of the United States from 1861 to 1865.-Life before the White House:...

 and as a member of Congress after his election in 1862 over Republican Leonard Swett was a frequent visitor at the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 even though he was an anti-emancipation
Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation is an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War using his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with nearly...


He was defeated in 1864 by Republican Shelby Moore Cullom
Shelby Moore Cullom
Shelby Moore Cullom was a U.S. political figure, serving in various offices, including the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate and the 17th Governor of Illinois....

, a Lincoln ally.

Following his defeat in 1864, Stuart resumed the practice of law in Springfield. He died there and was interred in the Oak Ridge Cemetery
Oak Ridge Cemetery
Oak Ridge Cemetery is a cemetery located in Springfield, Illinois in the United States.Lincoln's Tomb, which serves as the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife and all but one of his children, is located at Oak Ridge...


In the fall of 2007, Centre College (Stuart's alma mater) dedicated Stuart Hall, a building that once housed the College's bookstore but is now a residence hall, in honor of the influence Stuart had over Lincoln's career path as well as Stuart's contribution to law.

The firm that he founded in Springfield Illinois, once known as "Stuart and Lincoln," is still operating under the name "Brown, Hay, & Stephens," and includes his great-great-grandson as a partner.

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