Joseph S. Fowler

Joseph S. Fowler

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Joseph Smith Fowler was 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 Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 from 1866 to 1871.


Fowler was born in Steubenville, Ohio
Steubenville, Ohio
Steubenville is a city located along the Ohio River in Jefferson County, Ohio on the Ohio-West Virginia border in the United States. It is the political county seat of Jefferson County. It is also a principal city of the Weirton–Steubenville, WV-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area...

. 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
Shelby County, Kentucky
Shelby County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of 2010, the population was 42,074. Its name is in honor of Isaac Shelby, the first Governor of Kentucky. Its county seat is Shelbyville...

 in 1844. He served as a professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

 of mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 at Franklin College in Davidson County, Tennessee
Davidson County, Tennessee
Davidson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of 2010, the population was 626,681. Its county seat is Nashville.In 1963, the City of Nashville and the Davidson County government merged, so the county government is now known as the "Metropolitan Government of Nashville and...

 from 1845 to 1849. He studied law in Bowling Green, Kentucky
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Bowling Green is the third-most populous city in the state of Kentucky after Louisville and Lexington, with a population of 58,067 as of the 2010 Census. It is the county seat of Warren County and the principal city of the Bowling Green, Kentucky Metropolitan Statistical Area with an estimated 2009...

 and was subsequently admitted to the bar
Bar (law)
Bar in a legal context has three possible meanings: the division of a courtroom between its working and public areas; the process of qualifying to practice law; and the legal profession.-Courtroom division:...

 and practiced in Tennessee until 1861. He also served as president of Howard Female College in Gallatin, Tennessee
Gallatin, Tennessee
Gallatin is a city in and the county seat of Sumner County, Tennessee, United States, along a navigable tributary of the Cumberland River. The population was 23,230 at the 2000 census. Named for U.S...

 from 1856 to 1861.

Fowler was an ardent Unionist. He served as State Comptroller of Tennessee from 1862 until 1865. The official Tennessee Blue Book
Tennessee Blue Book
The Tennessee Blue Book is an official government manual for the U.S. state of Tennessee, published by the Secretary of State of Tennessee.The Blue Book is typically published on a biennial basis...

states that the holder of that office during this period was "Joseph S. Foster". It is likely that the Biographical Directory is the correct source; the Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 state government of Tennessee was never very effective and largely dysfunctional due to the early loss of much Tennessee territory to Union forces by the Confederates and also because neither the Confederacy nor slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 had ever had much public support in East Tennessee
East Tennessee
East Tennessee is a name given to approximately the eastern third of the U.S. state of Tennessee, one of the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee defined in state law. East Tennessee consists of 33 counties, 30 located within the Eastern Time Zone and three counties in the Central Time Zone, namely...

. Most of the state was under the control of the Union military government of 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...

's appointed governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

, 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...

, for most of the duration of the American 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...

; his government was fairly functional and it is likely that Fowler served this regime as Comptroller and that the Blue Book records his name erroneously.

In 1866 Tennessee became the first former Confederate state to be readmitted to the Union; the Tennessee General Assembly
Tennessee General Assembly
The Tennessee General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Tennessee.-Constitutional structure:According to the Tennessee State Constitution of 1870, the General Assembly is a bicameral legislature and consists of a Senate of thirty-three members and a House of Representatives of...

 elected Fowler to the Senate, where his service began on July 24, 1866. Fowler became a part of the majority Republican caucus
A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a political party or movement, especially in the United States and Canada. As the use of the term has been expanded the exact definition has come to vary among political cultures.-Origin of the term:...

. In the 40th Congress he served as chairman of the Committee on Engrossed Bills.

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....

, Fowler broke party ranks, along with six other Republican senators, and in a courageous act of political suicide, 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, James W. Grimes
James W. Grimes
James Wilson Grimes was an American politician, serving as the third Governor of Iowa and a United States Senator from Iowa.-Biography:...

, 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.

He did not seek a subsequent term in the Senate upon the expiry of his term in 1871. He also did not return to Tennessee to live, but remained in Washington DC, practicing law there until shortly before his death in 1902. His remains were interred at Lexington Cemetery in Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...