L. Q. C. Lamar
Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus
Lamar was born in Putnam County, Georgia, on September 17, 1825,
into an aristocratic planter family. He attended Emory
College and became a lawyer, was elected to the Georgia state
legislature for the 1853-54 session, but like many others during
this time, he moved westward to Mississippi to make his fortune.
He took up residence and opened a law practice in Oxford, Mississippi,
and later became a faculty member at the University
of Mississippi, a position he no doubt secured with the help
of his father-in-law, Augustus
Baldwin Longstreet, who was president of the university. During
the Civil War, Lamar organized the 19th Mississippi regiment of
volunteers and saw action against Union General George McClellan
during his 1862 Peninsula campaign in Virginia. Lamar was appointed
ambassador to Russia by C.S.A. President Jefferson Davis, but he
was never received by the Russian government since the Confederacys
sovereignty was never recognized abroad. After his return from Europe
in 1864, he served as a political spokesman for Davis and as a judge
advocate in the military court and as acting aide to General James
Longstreet, who was his father-in-laws nephew.
Lamar returned to
Mississippi after the war, where he resumed his law practice and
position on the university faculty, directing the law department
until 1870, the year Mississippi was readmitted to the Union. In
1872, Lamar was elected to Congress, Mississippi's first Democratic
congressman since Radical Reconstruction. In his solitary role,
he was in a position to lead the party to new goals, beginning with
a carefully formulated southern program of sectional reconciliation,
which he was able to present formally upon the death of Massachusetts
Senator Charles Sumner, whose fervent abolitionist beliefs had been
cause of much southern resentment prior to the war. With rhetorical
brilliance Lamar championed Sumners call for amnesty for former
Confederates, which quickly rang throughout the country and made
Lamars political fortunes
continued to rise, as the Mississippi legislature sent him to the
U.S. Senate in 1877. With the election in 1884 of Grover
Cleveland to the presidency (the first Democrat since before
the Civil War), he became a cabinet member for three years. In 1888,
Lamar became a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. As he had during
his political career, he continued to rule in favor of economic
nationalism and states right, opposing the enlargement of the national
government's political power, particularly in the area of implied
authority over civil rights. He died January 23, 1893, in Georgia.
Related Links & Info
County, Alabama was named after L.Q.C. Lamar in 1877.
Center at the University of Mississippi was named in honor of
L.Q.C. Lamar, who played a key role in the early history
of the university's law school.
- Speech of Hon. L.Q.C. Lamar of Miss., on the State of the Country. Atlanta, Ga.: J.J. Toon and Company, 1864.
- The Tariff: Speech in the Senate of the United States, February 7, 1883. Washington, D.C.: The United States Congress, 1883.
- Oration on the Life, Character and Public Services of the Hon. John C. Calhoun: Delivered before the Ladies Calhoun Monument Association and the Public, at Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston, S.C.: Lucas, Richardson and Company, 1888.
- Murphy, James B. “Lamar, Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus: 1825-1893.”
Lives of Mississippi Writers, 1817-1967. Ed. James B. Lloyd.
Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1981. 284-87.
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