Portrait of George H. Pendleton

George H. Pendleton was a leading member of the Peace Democrats, who opposed the Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln’s administration. [Wikimedia Commons]

George Hunt Pendleton - Facts

July 19, 1825 - November 24, 1889

Key facts about George Hunt Pendleton a leading Congressional Peace Democrat during the American Civil War who also sponsored the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883.

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Full Name:

  • George Hunt Pendleton

Birth Date:

  • July 19, 1825

Birth Location:

  • Cincinnati, Ohio

Parents:

  • Jane Frances (Hunt) and Nathaniel Greene Pendleton

Education:

  • Cincinnati College (1841)

Occupation:

  • Lawyer
  • Politician
  • Business executive

Career Summary:

  • U.S. Congressman
  • President of the Kentucky Central Railroad
  • U.S. Senator
  • Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Germany

Spouse:

  • Alice Key (1846)

Nickname(s):

  • Gentleman George

Place of Death:

  • Brussels, Belgium

Date of Death:

  • November 24, 1889

Place of Burial:

  • Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio

Significance:

  • George H. Pendleton’s grandfather was a brevet-major in the Revolutionary War who served as aide-de-camp to General Nathanael Greene.
  • George H. Pendleton’s father was an attorney who served as a United States Congressman from Ohio.
  • George H. Pendleton graduated from Cincinnati College in 1841.
  • George H. Pendleton studied at Heidelberg University in Germany.
  • Known for his handsome looks and dashing clothing, George H. Pendleton was often referred to as “Gentleman George” throughout his life.
  • In 1846, George H. Pendleton married Alice Key, the daughter of Francis Scott Key and niece of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney.
  • In 1847, George H. Pendleton was admitted to the Ohio bar and began practicing law in Cincinnati.
  • In 1853, George H. Pendleton was elected to the Ohio Senate, where he served from 1854 to 1856.
  • George H. Pendleton was an unsuccessful candidate for a Congressional seat in 1854.
  • Voters from Ohio’s first congressional district elected George H. Pendleton to the first of four successive terms in the House of Representatives in 1856.
  • During his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, George H. Pendleton served on the House Judiciary Committee, and on the Ways and Means Committee.
  • George H. Pendleton was a member of the Democratic Party.
  • While serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, George H. Pendleton opposed measures to ban slavery in the West during the 1850s.
  • George H. Pendleton supported fellow Democrat, Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas in the 1860 presidential election.
  • George H. Pendleton was a leading member of the Peace Democrats, who opposed the Civil War and the Lincoln administration.
  • In 1864, Democrats selected Pendleton as George McClellan’s vice-presidential running-mate in their party’s unsuccessful bid to unseat President Lincoln.
  • In 1864, George H. Pendleton lost his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to Republican Benjamin Eggleston.
  • After the Civil War, George H. Pendleton was an outspoken critic of Republican Reconstruction measures.
  • George H. Pendleton was a proponent on the “Ohio Idea,” which proposed paying off war debts with paper money, called greenbacks, instead of gold or silver.
  • In 1868, George H. Pendleton unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
  • In 1869, Democrats nominated George H. Pendleton as their candidate for governor, but he lost the election to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes.
  • George H. Pendleton served as president of the Kentucky Central Railroad from 1869 to 1878.
  • In 1878, the Ohio legislature elected George H. Pendleton to a seat in the United States Senate.
  • George H. Pendleton served one six-year term in the U.S. Senate from March 4, 1879, to March 3, 1885.
  • While serving in the U.S. Senate, George H. Pendleton sponsored The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883, which helped curtail the spoils system commonly used by elected officials to reward friends and political supporters with government jobs.
  • In 1884, the General Assembly selected Henry B. Payne to replace Pendleton in the U.S. Senate when his term expired in 1885.
  • In 1885, President Grover Cleveland appointed George H. Pendleton as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Germany. Pendleton served four years as Minister to Germany.
  • George H. Pendleton died in Brussels, Belgium on November 24, 1889, as he was returning to the United States.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title George Hunt Pendleton - Facts
  • Coverage July 19, 1825 - November 24, 1889
  • Author
  • Keywords George Hunt Pendleton
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 31, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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