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Aaron Augustus Sargent: A Featured Biography


Petition for Universal Suffrage, 1865

Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, on September 28, 1827, Aaron Augustus Sargent was just 13 years old when he struck out on his own. He held a variety of jobs before entering politics, including printer, secretary to a U.S. congressman, California gold seeker, and newspaper owner. Sargent studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1854. He became active in the nascent California Republican Party, served in the state legislature, and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1860. As a representative, Sargent promoted legislation to fund the construction of the Pacific Railroad. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1872, he served from 1873 until 1879. Senator Sargent, whose wife, Ellen, was a prominent suffragist and friend to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, introduced the so-called Susan B. Anthony Amendment to the Constitution in 1878. Congress finally approved this amendment 41 years later, and it was ratified in 1920. Sargent died in 1887 and is interred in Nevada City, California.

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