63 Facts About Benjamin Bristow


Benjamin Helm Bristow was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 30th US Treasury Secretary and the first Solicitor General.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,095

Union military officer, Bristow was a Republican Party reformer and civil rights advocate.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,096

Additionally, Benjamin Bristow promoted gold standard currency rather than paper money.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,097

Benjamin Bristow was one of Grant's most popular Cabinet members among reformers.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,098

Benjamin Bristow supported Grant's Resumption of Specie Act of 1875, that helped stabilize the economy during the Panic of 1873.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,099

Solicitor General Benjamin Bristow advocated for African American citizens in Kentucky to be allowed to testify in a white man's court case.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,100

Benjamin Bristow advocated education for all races to be paid for by public funding.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,101

In 1863, Benjamin Bristow was elected Kentucky state Senator, serving only one term.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,102

In 1866, Benjamin Bristow was appointed US District attorney, serving in the Louisville area.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,103

In 1870, Benjamin Bristow was appointed the United States' first US Solicitor General, who aided the US Attorney General by arguing cases before the US Supreme Court.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,104

In 1874, Bristow was appointed US Secretary of the Treasury by President Ulysses S Grant.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,105

Benjamin Bristow formed a successful law practice in 1878, often arguing cases before the US Supreme Court until his death in 1896.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,106

Benjamin Bristow was credited, by historian Jean Edward Smith, as one of Grant's best cabinet choices.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,107

Benjamin Bristow had an ambitious, contentious nature, and at times this led to various feuds with Grant cabinet members.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,108

Benjamin Helm Bristow was born in Edwards Hall on June 20,1832 in Elkton, Kentucky, United States.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,109

Benjamin Bristow graduated at Jefferson College, Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1851, studied law under his father, and was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1853.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,110

On September 21,1861, Benjamin Bristow was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 25th Kentucky Infantry.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,111

At this two day Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee, Benjamin Bristow was severely wounded by an exploding shell over his head and temporarily forced to retire from field duty in order to recover from his injury.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,112

On September 8,1862 Benjamin Bristow was commissioned lieutenant colonel over the 8th Kentucky Cavalry.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,113

Benjamin Bristow assumed command of the 8th Kentucky Cavalry in January 1863 after Col.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,114

On September 23,1863, Benjamin Bristow was honorably discharged from service in the Union Army; having been elected Kentucky State Senator by Christian County.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,115

Benjamin Bristow had not known he had been elected and served one term as State Senator until 1865, having resigned office.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,116

Benjamin Bristow supported all Union war effort legislation, the presidential election of Abraham Lincoln in 1864, and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment that outlawed slavery.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,117

In 1865, Benjamin Bristow was appointed assistant to the United States Attorney.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,118

In 1866, Benjamin Bristow was appointed district attorney for the Louisville, Kentucky district.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,119

Benjamin Bristow served as district attorney until 1870 and spent a few months practicing law in partnership with future United States Supreme Court Justice John Harlan.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,120

On October 4,1870, Bristow was appointed the first incumbent US Solicitor General by President Ulysses S Grant and served until November 12,1872, having resigned the office.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,121

Benjamin Bristow went so far as to call Akerman a "dead weight on the administration".

FactSnippet No. 2,503,122

In 1871, Benjamin Bristow traveled to his native Kentucky state and in a speech advocated African American civil rights.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,123

Benjamin Bristow advocated that blacks be given the right to testify in juries.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,124

On June 3,1874 President Grant appointed Bristow Secretary of the Treasury after William A Richardson was removed in light of the Sanborn incident that involved Treasury contract scandals.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,125

Benjamin Bristow took control of the Treasury during the Long Depression, that was started by the Panic of 1873.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,126

Benjamin Bristow supported the hard money North Eastern Republicans and favored a resumption of species to replace greenbacks.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,127

Benjamin Bristow drastically reorganized the Treasury Department, abolished the corrupt office of supervising architect made famous by Alfred B Mullett, and dismissed the second-comptroller and his subordinates for inefficiency.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,128

Benjamin Bristow shook up the detective force and consolidated collection districts in the Customs and Internal Revenue Services.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,129

Benjamin Bristow dismissed over 700 people and implemented civil service rules in the Treasury Department.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,130

Benjamin Bristow refused to make the appointment and believed a Treasury appointee could do the job.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,131

Benjamin Bristow lobbied Grant to appoint John Bigelow, head of the Treasury Department's Loan Division.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,132

Benjamin Bristow went further to undercut Robeson's influence in the Grant cabinet.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,133

Benjamin Bristow told Grant that Robeson's Navy Department was financially mismanaged, and was under the control of former treasury secretary Hugh McCulloch's banking house.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,134

Benjamin Bristow's advisers told Benjamin Bristow to cool things off, and take a less confrontational approach.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,135

Also, Benjamin Bristow believed Delano was plotting to remove Benjamin Bristow from the Interior.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,136

Wolcott sent Benjamin Bristow damaging evidence against Delano, while Benjamin Bristow shrewdly turned the documents over to Grant.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,137

Benjamin Bristow's investigation revealed that Grant appointment, General John McDonald, St Louis Collector of Internal Revenue, who controlled seven states, was the ring leader.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,138

However, after McDonald left Benjamin Bristow's office, knowing he would be indicted, he unsuccessfully asked Wilson for indemnity from prosecution, and that the corrupt distilleries not be raided.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,139

On May 7,1875 Benjamin Bristow gave Grant the investigation findings of corruption by the Whiskey Ring and stressed the need for immediate prosecution.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,140

Benjamin Bristow instituted almost 250 federal civil and criminal lawsuits against ring members, and within a year, Benjamin Bristow, recovered $3,150,000 in unpaid taxes, and obtained 110 convictions on 176 indicted ring members.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,141

Benjamin Bristow found two incriminating and cryptic letters signed "Sylph", believed to have been Babcock's handwriting.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,142

Also, rumors swirled that Benjamin Bristow prosecuted the Whiskey Ring, to get the Republican nomination, that caused Grant to feel betrayed by Benjamin Bristow.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,143

Largely owing to friction between himself and the president, Benjamin Bristow resigned his portfolio in June 1876; as Secretary of the Treasury he advocated the resumption of specie payments and at least a partial retirement of "greenbacks"; and he was an advocate of civil service reform.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,144

Benjamin Bristow was a prominent reforming candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1876.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,145

Benjamin Bristow was defeated at the Republican convention; Rutherford B Hayes received the nomination.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,146

Rumor spread that Benjamin Bristow had prosecuted the Whiskey Ring in an attempt to gain the 1876 Presidential Republican nomination.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,147

Benjamin Bristow proved to be a loyal statesman and had desired to keep President Grant and the nation from scandal.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,148

Benjamin Bristow testified in front of a congressional committee on the Whiskey Ring, he would not give any specific information regarding his conversations with President Grant, having claimed executive privilege.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,149

Benjamin Bristow was upset over not winning the Republican presidential nomination and over the rumor he had been disloyal to President Grant.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,150

Benjamin Bristow retired from politics, never again to run for political office.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,151

Benjamin Bristow was a prominent leader of the Eastern bar and was elected the second president of the American Bar Association in 1879.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,152

In 1896, Benjamin Bristow suffered appendicitis and died at his home on June 22,1896.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,153

Benjamin Bristow demonstrated his ability and in striking down the Whiskey Ring that was supported by powerful political forces.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,154

Benjamin Bristow's prosecutions offended the social and political Republican Party stalwarts who supported patronage, forcing him out of office.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,155

Benjamin Bristow was born a Southerner in Kentucky, but he lived the remaining years of his life in New York.

FactSnippet No. 2,503,156

Historian Ron Chernow said Benjamin Bristow was "honest and competent", and: "A zealous advocate of civil service reform".

FactSnippet No. 2,503,157