ROUSSEAU, Lovell Harrison, a Representative from Kentucky; born near Stanford, Lincoln County, Ky., August 4, 1818; attended the common schools; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1841 and began practice in Bloomfield, Ind.; lawyer, private practice; member of the Indiana State house of representatives, 1844-1845; captain in the Mexican War; served in the Indiana state senate, 1847-1849; returned to Kentucky in 1849 and resumed the practice of law in Louisville; member of the Kentucky state senate, 1860-1861; served as a colonel, brigadier general, and major general in the Union Army during the Civil War and resigned November 17, 1865; elected as an Unconditional Unionist to the Thirty-ninth Congress and served until his resignation on July 21, 1866 ( March 4, 1865-July 21, 1866); reprimanded by the House of Representatives on July 21, 1866, for his assault on Representative Grinnell, of Iowa, in the Capitol Building; was subsequently reelected to fill the vacancy caused by his own resignation (December 3, 1866-March 3, 1867); appointed a brigadier general in the Regular Army with the brevet rank of major general on March 27, 1867, and assigned to duty in Alaska; on July 28, 1868, was placed in command of the Department of Louisiana and served in that capacity until his death in New Orleans, La., January 7, 1869; interment in Arlington National Cemetery.
“Rousseau, Lovell Harrison,” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=R000468.
Rousseau compiled a solid record as a national legislator. Because of his knowledge of military matters, he was a valuable member of the Committee on Military Affairs. He participated in the debates over Reconstruction policies for the South; in a noted speech of 11 June 1866, he abandoned any ties he had to Radical Republicanism. Rousseau denounced the vindictive measures that Radical Republicans such as Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania wished to impose on the vanquished South. The independent-minded Kentuckian also opposed the Freedmen's Bureau, a temporary agency to provide aid to freedmen and deal with abandoned southern lands; it was the original federal civil rights department for African Americans, which became a branch of the Department of War. The debate hinged on conceptions of property rights and public purpose and the principle of using government action to promote the welfare of a class of people.
Leonard Schlup, "Rousseau, Lovell Harrison," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00870.html.