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Galusha Aaron Grow (American National Biography)

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Robert D. Ilisevich, "Grow, Galusha Aaron," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00444.html.

Once he was sure the Democratic party no longer spoke for free homesteads because it had fallen under the sway of southerners, Grow became a Republican. After passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, he helped organize the House Republicans. Newspaperman Horace Greeley called him a "young chevalier" who led the opposition for a free Kansas against the proslavery forces and the Democratic administration's policies in that territory. Grow's constant badgering of southerners triggered both a fistfight on the House floor with Lawrence Keitt of South Carolina and a challenge to a duel by Lawrence Branch of North Carolina.

His combativeness and leadership role among the radical Republicans enabled Grow to become Speaker of the House after the party's successes in 1860. His defiant attitude did not mellow. He warned that no foot of American soil would be sacrificed to the secessionists until it was first "baptized in fire and blood." The southern conspiracy against the Constitution had to be totally destroyed, he insisted. For many years afterward, he clung to the conspiracy theory and remained one of the last Republicans to abandon "bloody shirt" politics of recriminations against the Democrats and the South.

How to Cite This Page: "Galusha Aaron Grow (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/18931.