Charles D. Drake

Charles Daniel Drake (April 11, 1811 – April 1, 1892) was a United States senator from Missouri and Chief Justice of the Court of Claims.

Charles D. Drake
Charles D. Drake - Brady-Handy.jpg
Chief Justice of the Court of Claims
In office
December 12, 1870 – December 12, 1885
Appointed byUlysses S. Grant
Preceded byJoseph Casey
Succeeded byWilliam Adams Richardson
United States Senator
from Missouri
In office
March 4, 1867 – December 19, 1870
Preceded byBenjamin Gratz Brown
Succeeded byDaniel T. Jewett
Personal details
Charles Daniel Drake

(1811-04-11)April 11, 1811
Cincinnati, Ohio
DiedApril 1, 1892(1892-04-01) (aged 80)
Washington, D.C.
Resting placeBellefontaine Cemetery
St. Louis, Missouri
Political partyRepublican
RelativesBenjamin Drake
EducationSt. Joseph's College
Partridge's Military Academy
read law

Charles Drake was successively a Whig,an ardent Know Nothing, and a Democrat,as late as July 1 1861, he spoke out strongly against anti slavery agitation. The turmoil of the following winter brought a complete metamorphosis in his political thinking (Curry;Radicalism Racism and Party Realignment -Chapter 1 Willam E Parrish p7 1969)

Education and careerEdit

Born on April 11, 1811, in Cincinnati, Ohio,[1] Drake attended St. Joseph's College in Bardstown, Kentucky in 1823 and 1824, and Partridge's Military Academy in Middletown, Connecticut in 1824 to 1825.[1] He was a midshipman in the United States Navy from 1827 to 1830.[1] He read law with Benjamin Drake in Cincinnati.[1] He entered private practice in Cincinnati from 1833 to 1834.[1] He continued private practice in St. Louis, Missouri from 1834 to 1847, then returned to Cincinnati from 1847 to 1849.[1] He was treasurer of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in 1849.[1] He resumed private practice in St. Louis from 1850 to 1867.[1] He was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives from 1859 to 1860.[1] He was a delegate and Vice President of the Missouri constitutional convention in 1865.[1]

Leader of Radical RepublicansEdit

During the American Civil War, Drake became a fierce opponent of slavery, and a leader of the Radical Republicans. From 1861 to 1863, he proposed without success the immediate and uncompensated emancipation of slaves. He was defeated by the conservative Republicans led by Governor Hamilton Rowan Gamble and supported by Lincoln. By 1863, Drake had organized his Radical faction and called for immediate emancipation, a new constitution, and a system of disfranchisement of all Confederate sympathizers in Missouri. He served as vice president of the 1865 state constitutional convention, where he stood out as the most active leader. Missouri German leader Carl Schurz commented about him, "in politics he was inexorable ... most of the members of his party, especially in the country districts, stood much in awe of him."[2] The new Constitution was adopted and became known as the "Drake constitution." The Radicals maintained absolute control of the state from 1865 to 1871, with Drake as their leader. To maintain power, Drake and the Radical Republicans disfranchised every man who had supported the Confederacy, even indirectly. They made an 81-point checklists of actions. The United States Supreme Court reversed the imposition of the oath on ministers, and became a highly controversial political issue across the state. The German Republicans in particular were angry.[3] To further bolster his voting base, he secured the franchise for all black men in Missouri, despite qualms held by many Republicans.

Congressional serviceEdit

Drake was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1867, to December 19, 1870, when he resigned to accept a federal judicial position.[4] He served as Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Education for the 41st United States Congress.[4]

Federal judicial serviceEdit

Drake was nominated by President Ulysses S. Grant on December 12, 1870, to the Chief Justice seat on the Court of Claims (later the United States Court of Claims) vacated by Chief Justice Joseph Casey.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 12, 1870, and received his commission the same day.[1] His service terminated on December 12, 1885, due to his resignation.[1]

Later career and deathEdit

Following his resignation from the federal bench, Drake resumed private practice in Washington, D.C. from 1885 to 1892.[1] He died on April 1, 1892, in Washington, D.C.[1] His remains were cremated and the ashes interred in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.[4]


Drake's father, Daniel Drake (1785–1852), was an American physician and author.[citation needed] His uncle, Benjamin Drake (1795–1841), was an American historian, editor, and writer.[citation needed]


  • Drake, Charles D. (1891). Treatise on the Law of Suits by Attachment in the United States (7th ed.). Boston: Little, Brown and Co. LCCN 14016517.
  • Drake, Charles D. (1864). Union and Anti-Slavery Speeches. Cincinnati: Applegate & Co. LCCN 77083961.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Drake, Charles Daniel - Federal Judicial Center".
  2. ^ Carl Schurz (1909). The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz. J. Murray. p. 294.
  3. ^ Martha Kohl, "Enforcing a Vision of Community: The Role of the Test Oath in Missouri's Reconstruction." Civil War History 40.4 (1994): 292-307.
  4. ^ a b c United States Congress. "Charles D. Drake (id: D000484)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Further readingEdit

  • Astor, Aaron. Rebels on the Border: Civil War, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction of Kentucky and Missouri (LSU Press, 2012).
  • Burchard, Chad. "'Country or Slavery': Charles Daniel Drake and the Rise and Fall of Radical Unionism in Missouri; 1860-1870 (BA Thesis, Vanderbilt University. 2006). online
  • Erwin, James. The Homefront in Civil War Missouri (The History Press, 2014).
  • Parrish, William Earl. Turbulent Partnership: Missouri and the Union, 1861-1865 (U of Missouri Press, 1963).
  • Parrish, William Earl. A History of Missouri: 1860 to 1875. Vol. 3. University of Missouri Press, 1973).
  • Parrish, William Earl. Missouri under Radical rule, 1865-1870 (U of Missouri Press, 1965).

External linksEdit

U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 3) from Missouri
Served alongside: John B. Henderson, Carl Schurz
Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by Chief Justice of the Court of Claims
Succeeded by