Roscoe Conkling (1829-1881)
Roscoe Conkling was born in Albany on 30th October, 1829. After studying law he
was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Utica. Originally a member of
the Whig Party, Conkling joined the Republican Party and in 1858 was elected to
the House of Representatives.
Conkling became a prominent member of the Radical Republicans. This group was in
favour the abolition of slavery and believed that freed slaves should have
complete equality with white citizens. Conkling also opposed the policies of
President Andrew Johnson and argued in Congress that Southern plantations should
be taken from their owners and divided among the former slaves. He also attacked
Johnson when he attempted to veto the extension of the Freeman's Bureau, the
Civil Rights Bill and the Reconstruction Acts.
Conkling believed that it was very important for senators to have personal
control over all federal appointments within state boundaries. This resulted in
him clashing with President Rutherford B. Hayes to introduce civil-service
Roscoe Conkling practiced law in New York City until his death on 18th April,