Back to top

Benjamin Harvey Hill (American National Biography)

Scholarship

Michael Perman, "Hill, Benjamin Harvey," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00498.html.

Although a Whig, he aligned with the Constitutional Union party, a coalition led by Howell Cobb, Alexander Stephens, and Robert Toombs that hoped to sustain the Compromise of 1850 as the final settlement of the major differences between the North and South. Hill served on the party's executive committee until it disbanded in 1853. The Kansas-Nebraska debate prompted him to run for Congress in 1854, losing only by twenty-four votes. With the disintegration of the Whig party, he affiliated with the American or Know Nothing party and was the leading campaigner for Millard Fillmore in Georgia during the 1856 presidential race… [Hill] soon became a leading opponent of the Georgia Democrats and of secession. In 1857 he ran for governor on the Know Nothing ticket, losing by almost 10,000 votes to Joseph E. Brown. He was elected to the state senate in 1859, and in the 1860 presidential election he campaigned for John Bell of the Constitutional Union party. A few months later, he was elected to Georgia's secession convention, where he led the fight to keep the state in the Union. When it became apparent that secession was inevitable, however, he signed the ordinance of secession, while arguing for cooperation among the southern states. Despite his opposition, he was appointed to Georgia's ten-member delegation to the Provisional Congress in Montgomery, Alabama, to form the Confederate government and then was elected to the Confederate senate. Throughout the war he was one of the most consistent and vigorous defenders of President Jefferson Davis…
How to Cite This Page: "Benjamin Harvey Hill (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/18814.