Roscoe Conkling was a politician from New York who served both as a member of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. He was the leader of the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party, the first Republican senator from New York to be elected for three terms, and the last person to refuse a U.S. Supreme Court appointment after he had already been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. While in the House, Congressman Conkling served as body guard for Representative Thaddeus Stevens, a sharp-tongued anti slavery Congressman, and fully supported the Republican War effort. Conkling, who was temperate and detested tobacco, was known for being a body builder through regularly exercising and boxing. Conkling was elected to the Senate in 1867 as a leading Radical, who supported the rights of African Americans during Reconstruction. As leader of the Stalwarts, Conkling controlled patronage at the New York Customs House. Although Senator Conkling was supported by President Ulysses S Grant, Conkling did not support Grant's Civil Service Commission reform initiative. Additionally Conkling refused to accept Grant's nomination of Conkling to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, believing his talents belonged in the Senate. Conkling publicly led opposition to President Hayes attempt to administer Civil Service Reform at the New York Customs House. In 1880, Conkling supported Ulysses S. Grant for President, however, James A. Garfield was nominated and elected President. Conkling's conflict with President Garfield over New York Customs House patronage led to his resignation from the Senate in May, 1881.Conkling practiced law in New York until his death in 1888.
For questions about rights statements, or access to the original document please contact Lewis & Clark College Special Collections and Archives http://specialcollections.lclark.edu