Francis Preston Blair

Blair, Francis Preston, 1791–1876, American journalist and politician, b. Abingdon, Va. Through the Frankfort, Ky., journal Argus of Western America, which he edited with Amos Kendall, Blair was an ardent supporter of Andrew Jackson. At William T. Barry's suggestion, he traveled to Washington and established the Washington (D.C.) Globe in Dec., 1830, which exerted great political influence as the Jacksonian "court journal" until 1841. Along with Kendall, Blair also was one of the leading members of the Kitchen Cabinet. In Washington he also founded the Congressional Globe (now the Congressional Record  ), in which the daily proceedings of Congress were recorded. When James K. Polk became President, Blair, a Van Buren Democrat, was forced to sell his interest in the Washington Globe to Thomas Ritchie. Later, because of his antislavery views, Blair was one of the founders of the Republican party, and he presided over its first national convention in 1856. In 1865 he engineered the futile Hampton Roads Peace Conference. An influential adviser to President Lincoln during the early years of the Civil War, he eventually returned to the Democratic party because he was opposed to radical Republicanism.

See W. E. Smith, The Francis Preston Blair Family in Politics (1933); A. M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Jackson (1945); B. J. Hendrick, Lincoln's War Cabinet (1946).

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