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Edmund Gibson Ross (December 7, 1826 – May 8, 1907) was a politician who represented Kansas after the American Civil War and was later governor of the New Mexico Territory. His vote against convicting President Andrew Johnson of "high crimes and misdemeanors" allowed Johnson to stay in office by the margin of one vote. As the seventh of seven Republican U.S. Senators to break with his party, Ross proved to be the person whose decision would result in conviction or acquittal. When he chose the latter, the vote of 35–19 in favor of Johnson's conviction failed to reach the required two-thirds vote. Ross lost his bid for re-election two years later.

Edmund Gibson Ross
Edmund G. Ross - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Senator
from Kansas
In office
July 19, 1866 – March 3, 1871
Preceded byJames H. Lane
Succeeded byAlexander Caldwell
13th Governor of New Mexico Territory
In office
1885–1889
Nominated byGrover Cleveland
Preceded byLionel Allen Sheldon
Succeeded byL. Bradford Prince
Personal details
Born(1826-12-07)December 7, 1826
Ashland, Ohio, U.S.
DiedMay 8, 1907(1907-05-08) (aged 80)
Albuquerque, New Mexico Territory, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Democrat
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Branch/service Union Army
Years of service1862–1865
RankUnion army maj rank insignia.jpg Major
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

Contents

Andrew Johnson acquittalEdit

Ross is best known for casting the decisive vote which acquitted Andrew Johnson during his 1868 Presidential Impeachment trial. Some people have claimed that Ross voted against the conviction due to concerns about his colleague Samuel C. Pomeroy receiving patronage from Benjamin Wade, and as a means to receive patronage favors from Johnson. Others claim Ross cast his vote because he genuinely believed that Johnson had the right to replace Edwin M. Stanton, since he had been appointed during the Lincoln Administration. Still others give voice to the opinion that, though the Kansas Senator did believe Johnson guilty of breaking the Tenure of Office Act, he did not believe that offense worthy of impeachment. Kansas newspapers thought clearly that Ross voted against his radical leanings in supporting Johnson because of the influence of his old Colonel in the civil war, Thomas Ewing Jr., an ardent Johnson supporter at the time.[1] Later in life, Ewing wrote Ross that he felt Ross was “preeminent for courage” among men – not only for his physical courage in battle but also for opposing Johnson’s impeachment. “In making [that] decision, you knew perfectly well that it could consign you to private life and the vehement denunciation of almost all your party friends.”[2] However, there is significant evidence that suggests Ross was bribed.[3]

Edmund G. Ross is one of eight U.S. Senators featured in Profiles in Courage, the 1956 Pulitzer Prize-winning history co-written by then-Senator John F. Kennedy and Theodore Sorensen in commemoration of past acts of political courage in Congress.

Later careerEdit

Upon retirement from the Senate, Ross went back into the newspaper business briefly, launching a publication in Coffeyville, Kansas.[4] From 1885 to 1889, he served as governor of New Mexico Territory, appointed by President Grover Cleveland. He later served as secretary of the New Mexico Bureau of Immigration from 1894 to 1896.[5] In 1896, Ross published his book History of the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson.[6]

DeathEdit

He is interred at the Fairview Memorial Park Cemetery in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[7]

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ Ronald D. Smith, "Thomas Ewing Jr., Frontier Lawyer and Civil War General," Columbia:University of Missouri Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8262-1806-3. See the discussion at pp. 292–299.
  2. ^ Thomas Ewing Jr. to Ross, July 16, 1894, Thomas Ewing Jr. Papers, Kansas State Historical Society.
  3. ^ Stewart, David O. Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy. Simon & Schuster, 2009, pp.185, 186, 188, 189, 242, 269, 278, 279, 280, 282, 285, 292, 297–99, 309.
  4. ^ Ross, Edmund G. – KS-Cyclopedia – 1912 Archived June 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Edmund G. Ross collection, no. 491, State Archives and Library, Kansas Historical Society.
  6. ^ Ross, Edmund G. (1896). History of the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, by the House of Representatives, and his trial by the Senate for high crimes and misdemeanors in office, 1868. Santa Fe, New Mexico: New Mexican Printing Co. p. 202.
  7. ^ New Mexico & Politicians of the Past

Further readingEdit

  • Bumgardner, Edward, 1949. The Life of Edmund G. Ross. The Fielding-Turner Press, Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Lamar, Howard R. "Edmund G. Ross as Governor of New Mexico Territory." New Mexico Historical Review 36#3 (1961): 177+
  • Roske, Ralph J. "The Seven Martyrs?." American Historical Review 64#2 (1959): 323-330. in JSTOR
  • Ruddy Richard A. Edmund G. Ross: Soldier, Senator, Abolitionist (2013) online review

External linksEdit

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
James H. Lane
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Kansas
July 19, 1866 – March 3, 1871
Served alongside: Samuel C. Pomeroy
Succeeded by
Alexander Caldwell
Political offices
Preceded by
Lionel Allen Sheldon
Governor of New Mexico Territory
1885–1889
Succeeded by
L. Bradford Prince