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John Sherman: A Featured Biography


Photo of John Sherman of Ohio

John Sherman was born in Lancaster, Ohio, on May 10, 1823. He was the younger brother of Civil War-era general William Tecumseh Sherman. After working as an engineer on canal projects and as a lawyer, he was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1854, where he served until elected in 1861 to fill the Senate seat vacated by Salmon P. Chase. Between 1861 and 1897, John Sherman interrupted his tenure in the Senate to serve in the cabinets of two presidents, both from Ohio. He acted as Rutherford B. Hayes's secretary of the treasury (March 10, 1877-March 3, 1881) and William McKinley's secretary of state (March 6, 1897-April 27, 1898). During his time in the Senate Sherman chaired numerous committees, was Republican Conference chairman (1884-1885, 1891-1897), and acted as president pro tempore during the 49th Congress (1885-1887). On June 17, 1894, John Sherman broke the Senate service record, previously held by Missouri's Thomas Hart Benton. With nearly 32 years in the Senate, John Sherman is perhaps best remembered for authoring the Sherman Antitrust Act (1890), the first federal law targeting monopolies and anti-competitive behavior. John Sherman died in Washington, D.C., on October 22, 1900, and is buried in Ohio.

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