Morton, Oliver Perry

Morton, Oliver Perry, 1823–77, American political leader, b. Salisbury, Ind. He was admitted (1847) to the bar and began practice in Centerville, Ind. Morton helped organize the Republican party in Indiana and was its unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1856. When Gov. Henry S. Lane went to the Senate in 1861, Morton, as lieutenant governor, succeeded him; he was elected to the office in his own right in 1864. Despite having to contend with a hostile Democratic legislature for part of his tenure, he was one of the ablest of the Civil War governors and a strong supporter of President Lincoln. In 1867 he resigned to enter the Senate, where he served till his death. There, as one of the leading radical Republicans, he fostered uncompromising Reconstruction legislation and was prominent in the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. He was a member of the electoral commission in the disputed presidential contest of 1876.

See biography by W. D. Foulke (1899, repr. 1974); W. B. Hesseltine, Lincoln and the War Governors (1948).

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