Schuyler Colfax

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New York City,
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New York City,

Schuyler Colfax was an American politician who worked for Ulysses Grant from 1869 to 1873 as the 17th Vice President of the United States. Colfax was born in New York City and went to school there. When he was young, he worked as a newspaper reporter and publisher and made important political connections. After that, he joined the Whig party, where he became known as a young politician on the rise and was given a number of party positions. But when the Whig party fell apart, Colfax joined the new Republican party and ran for Congress. He won and served from 1855 to 1869. In addition, from 1863 until the end of his term, he was also Speaker of the House. Colfax joined the Radical Republicans because he was against slavery. He was a strong backer of the Freeman’s Bureau, the Civil Rights Bill, and the Reconstruction Acts. After that, Ulysses S. Grant chose Colfax to be his running mate when he ran for president. When Grant won, Colfax became Vice President of the United States and held that job from 1869 to 1873. Colfax was later caught up in the Credit Mobilier scandal, which hurt his reputation and kept him from being nominated for vice president again. After his term was over, Colfax started a successful career as a lecturer. He did this until he died in 1885.

Early years and childhood

Schuyler Colfax was born in New York City on March 23, 1823, to bank clerk Schuyler Colfax Sr. and Hannah Delameter Stryker, his wife. Unfortunately, his father died of tuberculosis five months before his son was born, in October 1822. Colfax also had a sister who passed away in July 1823.

He went to public schools in New York until he was 10 years old when his family’s financial problems forced him to get a job as a clerk in a store. Colfax worked there until his mother got married again in 1836 and moved the family to New Carlisle, Indiana.

In 1841, he was named the deputy auditor of St. Joseph County, a position he held for many years. Between 1842 and 1844, he worked as the assistant enrolling clerk for the state senate and as a senate reporter for the Indiana State Journal.

Colfax wrote about Indiana politics for the New York Tribune and became known as a young Whig with a lot of potentials. After that, he was put in charge of the Whig-supporting South Bend Free Press.

Colfax started the St. Joseph Valley Register in 1845. During its 18-year run, it became one of the most important papers in the state, first as a powerful Whig paper and then as a Republican-journal.

Schuyler Colfax’s Career

Schuyler Colfax went to the Whig Party convention in 1848 as a delegate, and the next year he went to the Indiana Constitutional Convention to represent his party.
In 1850, he was put on the state’s constitutional convention. Two years later, he tried to get on the Whig Party’s ticket for the U.S. Congress but failed.

In the middle of the 1850s, he switched from the Whig Party to the Know-Nothing Party and then to the Republican Party as the political climate changed. Colfax ran again for the U.S. Congress in 1854, and this time he won. This time, he ran as a candidate for the Indiana People’s Party, which was against the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

After that, he was elected to represent Indiana’s 9th district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was a member of the U.S. Congress from 1855 to 1869. In 1863, he was chosen to be the Speaker. After that, for the last six years, until 1869, he was also the speaker of the House of Representatives.

In 1868, the Republican Party chose him to be Ulysses S. Grant’s running mate. Colfax was then elected Vice President of the United States and served from March 1869 to March 1873.

In 1872, a congressional investigation linked Colfax to the Crédit Mobilier Scandal. He was charged with being involved in the scandal. The investigation showed that Colfax had been involved in corrupt deals with Credit Mobilier. These deals involved illegally handling construction contracts for the Union Pacific Railroad.

So, the Republican Party didn’t nominate Colfax for vice president again in 1872. When he left office in 1873, Colfax became a successful lecturer who went all over the country. He gave lectures to make a living and then lived alone for the rest of his life.

Works of note

During his time in Congress, when the United States was going through the hard times of the American Civil War, Colfax was very against slavery. During the Reconstruction Era, which came after the Civil War, he was the leader of the Radical Republicans and pushed for all the former high-ranking officials of the Confederate States of America to lose their voting rights.

Colfax was a strong supporter of the Freeman’s Bureau, the Civil Rights Bill, and the Reconstruction Acts. He did this because he was against slavery.

Personal History and Legacies

Colfax married Evelyn Clark, a childhood friend, in 1844. She died in 1863 without having any children, which was sad.

Colfax married Ella M. Wade two weeks after becoming Vice President in 1868. They were lucky to have a son named Schuyler Colfax III.
In 1885, when he was giving a talk in the Midwest, he walked almost a mile in very cold weather from one train station to another so he could switch trains and get to South Bend.

On January 13, 1885, when Colfax got to the station, he had a heart attack because he was cold and tired. He died at the Omaha depot in Mankato, Minnesota. He was 61 years old when he died and was buried in South Bend, Indiana’s City Cemetery.

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