Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Whoa, Harry! Missouri Delegation Split on Whose Statue in Capitol Truman's Should Replace (Copy)

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Whoa, Harry! Missouri Delegation Split on Whose Statue in Capitol Truman's Should Replace (Copy)

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * There's a split in the Missouri congressional delegation about which statue of a 19th-century famous Missourian should be replaced by a new one of Harry Truman in the Capitol's Statuary Hall.

The state's two senators, Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Roy Blunt, want to proceed with a 15-year-old plan to replace Francis Preston Blair with Truman.

Blair served most of a nearly two-decade congressional career in the House of Representatives during and after the Civil War, culminating in two years in the Senate.

The Architect of the Capitol's description of him says: "A personal and political friend of Thomas Hart Benton, he became known for his views opposing slavery. He also was an outspoken Free-Soiler and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1852. He was defeated in 1858 but re-elected in 1860. In 1861 he was instrumental in saving Missouri for the Union. He served as a major general in the United States Army during the Civil War.

"At the close of the war, Blair, having lost much of his private fortune in support of the Union, was financially ruined. He was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for vice president in 1868, but he was chosen by the Missouri Legislature as a United States senator in 1871. He was defeated for re-election in 1873."

But some House members think Missouri should consider having the 33rd president from Missouri replace Thomas Hart Benton, who served in the House for two years but 30 in the United States Senate.

Nicknamed "Old Bullion," Benton was also a confidant of Jackson, and he was the first to serve five terms in the Senate. Benton's abolitionist views cost him the Senate seat in 1850, and he later served briefly in the House. He was the great-great uncle of the painter by the same name.

Each state gets two statues in Statuary Hall, a grand chamber of history in the Capitol. …

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