Benjamin, Judah Philip

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Benjamin, Judah Philip

Judah Philip Benjamin, 1811–84, Confederate statesman and British barrister, b. Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, of Jewish parents. His family moved (c.1813) to Wilmington, N.C., and finally settled (1822) in Charleston, S.C. A precocious youth, Benjamin entered Yale at the age of 14 but left (1827) early in his junior year. He went to New Orleans in 1828, worked for a notary, taught English, and studied French and the law in his spare time. Admitted to the bar in Dec., 1832, he published (1834), with his friend Thomas Slidell, a digest of Louisiana appeal cases that enhanced his reputation as a rising young lawyer. His practice soon made him rich enough to become a sugar planter as well.

Benjamin, a prominent Whig, served in both branches of the state legislature, was a delegate to two state constitutional conventions, and in 1852 was elected to the U.S. Senate. On the dissolution of the Whig party because of the slavery issue, he publicly proclaimed himself a Democrat (May 2, 1856), and two years later he was reelected senator. One of the ablest defenses of Southern policy was presented in the Senate by Benjamin on Dec. 31, 1860. On Feb. 4, 1861, after Louisiana's secession, he resigned his seat.

In the new Southern government, Benjamin first served as attorney general, was appointed secretary of war in Nov., 1861 (he had been acting secretary since September), and from Mar., 1862, to the end of the Civil War was secretary of state. Though not popular with the public, he was an intimate friend of Jefferson Davis and was known in the North as "the brains of the Confederacy." As secretary of war he was an able administrator, but was severely criticized—for the most part unjustly—for Confederate defeats early in 1862, particularly the loss of Roanoke Island, N.C. After Davis promoted him to head the state department, Benjamin worked unceasingly but unsuccessfully to secure European recognition of the Confederacy. In Feb., 1865, he proposed that slaves who willingly joined the Confederate ranks be freed.

Upon the collapse of the Confederacy, Benjamin escaped by way of Florida and the West Indies to England and there established a new career in the law. He was called to the bar in 1866 and won immediate recognition with A Treatise on the Law of Sale of Personal Property (1868). On his retirement early in 1883 he was universally acknowledged to have been in the front rank of his profession. He died and was buried in Paris, where his wife, who was a Louisiana Creole, and his daughter had made their home since the 1840s.

See biographies by P. Butler (1981) and E. Evans (1989).

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Benjamin, Judah Philip
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.