Samuel Medary (American National Biography)

Robert S. La Forte, "Medary, Samuel," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
Medary opposed James Buchanan in the Democratic convention in 1856 but, after "Old Buck's" nomination, worked hard for him. Buchanan appointed Medary governor of the Minnesota Territory on 13 March 1857. As the territory's last governor, he lived in Minnesota for only a few months and showed little interest in its affairs. Despite a partisan struggle between Democrats and Republicans that led to two separate state constitutional conventions, Medary did not intervene, and when the parties met to compromise their different charters, he did nothing to delay statehood. Although he remained governor until Congress approved the new constitution in May 1858, his duties were in fact handled by a subordinate.

Medary returned to Columbus as postmaster but was chosen on 23 November 1858 to be governor of the Kansas Territory. He made a futile attempt to capture John Brown (1800-1859) and initially supported the proslavery Lecompton constitution. When the failure of Lecompton became apparent, he responded to pressure and called for election of delegates to a new constitutional convention. Meeting at Wyandotte in July 1859, the Kansans drafted a constitution modeled on the Ohio document of 1851 that Medary had helped create. As the Democratic nominee for governor of Kansas in 1859, he was defeated by Charles Robinson (1818-1894). In February 1860 Medary vetoed a bill abolishing slavery in the territory, saying that it was political and premature because it enacted one of the provisions of the new state constitution. The legislature overrode him, but the territorial supreme court later upheld his position.
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