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Samuel C. Pomeroy: A Featured Biography


Samuel Pomeroy (R-KS)

Born in Southampton, Massachusetts, in 1816, Samuel C. Pomeroy began his career as a school teacher. He served in the Massachusetts house of representatives before leading a group of settlers west to Kansas Territory in 1854. An ardent abolitionist, Pomeroy participated in skirmishes between abolitionists and proponents of slavery on the Kansas-Missouri border and served as chairman of the Lawrence, Kansas, public safety committee. He joined the new Republican Party and served as a delegate to its first national convention in 1856. Elected as one of Kansas’s first senators in 1861, Pomeroy was a Radical Republican who called for citizenship and voting rights for formerly enslaved persons after the Civil War. He was also an early proponent for woman suffrage. He served as the president of the National Equal Rights Association in 1867 and campaigned vigorously for “universal suffrage.” On December 7, 1868, Pomeroy introduced a bill for a constitutional amendment that stated, “The basis of suffrage in the United States shall be that of citizenship, and all native or naturalized citizens shall enjoy the same rights and privileges of the elective franchise.” The Senate never took up Pomeroy’s bill. Defeated for reelection in 1872, Pomeroy retired to Whitinsville, Massachusetts, where he died in 1891.

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