Yates, Richard, 1815–73, American political leader, b. Warsaw, Ky. He studied law and became a lawyer and Whig politician in Jacksonville, Ill. A state legislator (1842–46, 1848–50) and U.S. Congressman (1851–55), he failed to win reelection because of his adherence to the new Republican party. As governor of Illinois (1861–65), Yates was active in raising troops (he gave Ulysses S. Grant his first Civil War commission) and managed to hold in check the powerful pro-Southern group in Illinois. In the U.S. Senate from 1865 to 1871, he supported the radical Republican program.