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Sherman, John

Summary Article:Sherman, John from The Columbia Encyclopedia

Sherman, John, 1823-1900, American statesman, b. Lancaster, Ohio; brother of William Tecumseh Sherman. He studied law, was admitted (1844) to the bar, and practiced law several years in Mansfield, Ohio, before he moved (1853) to Cleveland. He had been a delegate to the Whig national conventions of 1848 and 1852 and in 1855 presided over the first Republican state convention. A moderate opponent of slavery expansion, he served (1855-61) in the House of Representatives and quickly rose to prominence. Sent (1861) to the Senate to fill a vacancy, he served there until 1877. Sherman became (1867) chairman of the Senate finance committee and played a leading role in government finance in the Reconstruction period. He had supported the Legal Tender Act of 1862 and the National Banking Act of 1863, but he opposed Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCulloch's plan to retire the greenbacks in circulation and pushed a compromise plan for resuming specie payment. Later, however, he forced the Resumption Act of 1875 through the Senate, and as Secretary of the Treasury (1877-81) under President Hayes, he directed the implementation of the act. In 1880, 1884, and 1888 he was considered as a candidate for the Republican nomination for President. Again in the Senate (1881-97), he was associated in 1890 with the passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. In 1897 he resigned from the Senate to provide a seat for Marcus A. Hanna and was appointed Secretary of State by President McKinley. He retired to private life in 1898. He wrote Recollections of Forty Years in the House, Senate, and Cabinet (1895).

  • See The Sherman Letters (ed. by R. S. Thorndike, 1894).
  • biography by T. E. Burton (1906, repr. 1972).
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