Lyman Trumbull (1813-1896)

Born and educated in Connecticut, Lyman Trumbull arrived in Illinois in 1837. He quickly turned to politics, serving in the state legislature, as Illinois secretary of state, and as a justice of the state supreme court. He was elected (1854) to the House of Representatives but was appointed to the Senate before Congress convened. This appointment came just as the controversy over the future of slavery in the West and the Kansas-Nebraska Act came to a head. In securing the Senate appointment Trumbull received the backing of an emerging bloc opposed to slavery's western extension that would eventually become the Republican Party. But Trumbull's backers, made up largely of antislavery Democrats like himself, successfully nudged aside the longtime Whig Abraham Lincoln, who also sought the appointment. Trumbull soon became a Republican himself, and continued in the Senate through the Civil War. He became a major figure in the Republican Reconstruction of the southern states after the conflict, only to defect to the Liberal Republican Party in 1872. Trumbull eventually returned to the Democrats in 1876. 


Krug, Mark M. Lyman Trumbull: Conservative Radical. New York: A.S. Barnes,1965.

Roske, Ralph. His Own Counsel: The Life and Times of Lyman Trumbull. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1979.