Blaine taught school and studied law before moving (1854) to Maine, where he became an influential newspaper editor. A leader in the formation of the Republican party in Maine, he was state chairman (1859–81) and was elected to three terms in the legislature. In 1863 he entered Congress, serving in the House of Representatives until 1876 and holding the speakership from 1869 to 1875. His friendship with James A. Garfield of Ohio and William B. Allison of Iowa brought him support in the West, but a slighting personal remark he made in 1866 about Roscoe Conkling won him the lifelong enmity of that leader of the "Stalwart" Republicans.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.