David Colbreth Broderick

Broderick, David Colbreth (brōˈdərĭk) [key], 1820–59, American politician, b. Washington, D.C. Brought up in New York City, he was active in Tammany Hall before moving to California in 1849. He became equally active in politics there, being a member of the state constitutional convention of 1849. He was elected to the state senate in 1850 and was chosen to preside over it in 1851. Broderick, who drew his support chiefly from Northerners, fought bitterly for control of the Democratic party in the state against U.S. Senator William M. Gwin, leader of the proslavery element. Both were sent to the U.S. Senate in 1857 under a compromise by which Broderick was to have control of the federal patronage. However, President Buchanan and Gwin ignored the understanding, and Broderick fiercely attacked them both. He was killed by Chief Justice David S. Terry of the California supreme court, a supporter of Gwin, in a famous duel near San Francisco. An eloquent eulogy at his elaborate funeral and editorial reverberations throughout the land made him the martyr of the Union cause in California.

See biographies by J. Lynch (1911) and D. A. Williams (1969).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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