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HomeFEATUREDWho was Benjamin Helm Bristow? (June 20, 1832 A.D – June 22, 1896...

Who was Benjamin Helm Bristow? (June 20, 1832 A.D – June 22, 1896 A.D)

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Benjamin Helm Bristow (June 20, 1832 A.D – June 22, 1896 A.D), American lawyer and politician, born in Elkton, Kentucky, and educated at Jefferson College (now Washington and Jefferson College). Bristow practiced law in his native state until the beginning of the American Civil War, when he volunteered for service as an officer in the Union army.

In 1863 A.D Bristow was elected state senator and in 1866 A.D was appointed U.S. attorney for the Kentucky district. As district attorney, Bristow worked to protect the rights of blacks and to reduce the influence of the Ku Klux Klan. Bristow became the first U.S. solicitor general in 1870 A.D, and in 1874 A.D President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him secretary of the treasury.

In that capacity he accomplished the breakup of the so-called Whiskey Ring. His success in this work gained Bristow a reputation as a reformer, but conflicts with Grant caused him to resign in 1876 A.D. At the Republican national convention of 1876 A.D he received 113 votes on the first ballot for the presidential nomination. After losing the nomination Bristow moved to New York City to practice law; later he was elected the second president of the American Bar Association.

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