Fenton, Reuben Eaton, 1819–85, U.S. politician, b. Carroll, N.Y. He was elected to the New York assembly in 1849 and to Congress in 1852. Although he was elected as a Democrat, his position on slavery led him to become a founder of the Republican party in New York. He presided over the first Republican state convention, was a Republican member of Congress (1857–64), and in 1864 was elected governor, defeating Horatio Seymour. He was reelected in 1866. His administration was marked by progress in education, particularly in the establishment of normal schools; Cornell Univ. was established during his governorship. When Fenton entered the U.S. Senate (1869), he immediately entered into dispute with Senator Roscoe Conkling over control of the distribution of patronage. Conkling, having the support of President Grant, won, and in 1874 he prevented Fenton's renomination. Fenton spent his later years as a banker, and in 1878 he went to Paris as chairman of the U.S. commission to the International Monetary Conference.
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