Portrait of Joshua Giddings

Throughout his Congressional career, Joshua Giddings was an outspoken opponent of the extension of slavery, voting against the annexation of Texas, the Mexican-American War, the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. [Wikimedia Commons]

Joshua Reed Giddings - Facts

October 6, 1795 - May 27, 1864

Key facts about Joshua Giddings, a leader in the founding of the Republican Party and an outspoken opponent of the extension of slavery a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Full Name:

  • Joshua Reed Giddings

Birth Date:

  • October 6, 1795

Birth Location:

  • Tioga Point (later Athens) Pennsylvania

Parents:

  • Joshua and Elizabeth (Pease) Giddings

Education:

  • Little, if any, formal education

Occupation:

  • Lawyer

Career Summary:

  • U.S. Congressman
  • Consul-general to the British North American Provinces

Spouse:

  • Laura Waters (1819)

Place of Death:

  • Montreal, Canada

Date of Death:

  • May 27, 1864

Place of Burial:

  • Oakdale Cemetery, Jefferson, Ohio

Significance:

  • As an infant, Joshua Giddings moved with his parents to Canandaigua, N.Y., in 1795.
  • In 1806, Joshua Giddings’s family relocated to Ashtabula County, Ohio.
  • Joshua Giddings worked on his father’s farm and received little, if any, formal education during his youth.
  • Joshua Giddings served in a regiment commanded by Colonel Richard Hayes during the War of 1812.
  • At sixteen years of age, Joshua Giddings participated in a battle with American Indians on Marblehead Peninsula on September 29, 1812, during the War of 1812. Giddings later funded the erection of a monument on the site, honoring the six Americans who died.
  • Joshua Giddings taught school while studying law under the tutelage of Elisha Whittlesey.
  • In 1819, Joshua Giddings married Laura Waters, originally of Granby, Connecticut.
  • In February 1821, Joshua Giddings was admitted to the Ohio bar.
  • In 1822 Joshua Giddings opened a law practice in Jefferson, Ohio.
  • Joshua Giddings was elected to the Ohio General Assembly in 1826.
  • From 1831 to 1837 Joshua Giddings was in partnership with Benjamin F. Wade, future U.S. Senator and co-sponsor of the controversial Wade-Davis plan for Reconstruction.
  • Joshua Giddings was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1836 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of his former mentor, Elisha Whittlesey.
  • Joshua Giddings’s twenty-year career in Congress was briefly interrupted when he resigned on March 22, 1842 as a result of being censured for resolutions he presented regarding the Creole affair.
  • During his political career, Joshua Giddings was a member of the Whig, Free Soil, Opposition, and Republican parties.
  • Throughout his Congressional career, Joshua Giddings was an outspoken opponent of the extension of slavery, voting against the annexation of Texas, the Mexican-American War, the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
  • Joshua Giddings was not re-nominated in the election of 1858, and his Congressional career ended when the new House was seated on March 4, 1859.
  • On March 25, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Giddings as consul-general to the British North American Provinces (Canada).
  • Joshua Giddings died in Montreal, Canada, on May 27, 1864.
  • Joshua Giddings was buried in Oakdale Cemetery, Jefferson, Ohio.
  • Reportedly, Joshua Giddings’s home in Jefferson was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
  • Joshua Giddings’s original law office in Jefferson, Ohio is now maintained as a historic site by the Ashtabula County Historical Society.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Joshua Reed Giddings - Facts
  • Coverage October 6, 1795 - May 27, 1864
  • Author
  • Keywords joshua giddings
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date August 12, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update July 5, 2022
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