Benjamin Fitzpatrick

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Benjamin Fitzpatrick
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
June 26, 1860 – December 2, 1860
Preceded byJesse D. Bright
Succeeded bySolomon Foot
In office
December 7, 1857 – February 26, 1860
Preceded byThomas Jefferson Rusk
Succeeded byJesse D. Bright
United States Senator
from Alabama
In office
January 14, 1853 – January 21, 1861
Preceded byWilliam R. King
Succeeded byGeorge E. Spencer (1868)
In office
November 25, 1848 – November 30, 1849
Appointed byReuben Chapman
Preceded byDixon Lewis
Succeeded byJeremiah Clemens
11th Governor of Alabama
In office
November 22, 1841 – December 10, 1845
Preceded byArthur P. Bagby
Succeeded byJoshua L. Martin
Personal details
Born(1802-06-30)June 30, 1802
Greene County, Georgia, U.S.
DiedNovember 21, 1869(1869-11-21) (aged 67)
Wetumpka, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Sarah Elmore
Aurelia Blassingame

Benjamin Fitzpatrick (June 30, 1802 – November 21, 1869) was the 11th Governor of the U.S. state of Alabama and a United States Senator from that state. He was a Democrat.

Early life[edit]

Born in Greene County, Georgia, Fitzpatrick was orphaned at the age of seven and was taken by his sister (Celia Fitzpatrick Baldwin) to Alabama in 1815.

Fitzpatrick helped his brothers manage the land they owned on the Alabama River and served as deputy under the first sheriff of Autauga County. He worked in the law office of Nimrod E. Benson before he was admitted to the bar.[1]

Fitzpatrick studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1821, commencing practice in Montgomery, Alabama. Fitzpatrick served as solicitor of the Montgomery circuit from 1822 to 1823 but moved to his plantation in Autauga County in 1829. He engaged in planting.

Governor of Alabama and Senator for Alabama[edit]

Fitzpatrick became Governor of Alabama in 1841 and served until 1845. Later, he was appointed as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Dixon H. Lewis and served from November 25, 1848, to November 30, 1849, when a successor was elected.

He was again appointed on January 14, 1853, and elected on December 12, 1853,[2] to the Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William R. King, who had been elected Vice President of the United States, and served from January 14, 1853, to March 3, 1855. He served in that Congress as Chairman of the Committee on Printing and the Committee on Engrossed Bills. He was elected to the Senate again to fill the vacancy caused by the failure of the legislature to elect his successor on November 26, 1855. In that role, he served several times as President pro tempore of the Senate.

Failure of state banks[edit]

The country was plagued by economic depression due to the Panic of 1837. Fitzpatrick's predecessor as Governor, Arthur P. Bagby, introduced measures to assist the state banks, but the state legislature rejected most of the measures. All of the state banks were closed by Fitzpatrick.[3]

Vice presidential nomination[edit]

In 1860, Fitzpatrick was nominated for Vice President of the United States by the wing of the Democratic Party that had nominated Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois for president. However, he refused the nomination, and Herschel V. Johnson of Georgia was ultimately nominated. Fitzpatrick withdrew from the Senate on January 21, 1861, following the secession of his home state.


Fitzpatrick did not take a particularly active role in the politics of the Confederacy, although he served as president of the constitutional convention of Alabama in 1865.


He died on his plantation near Wetumpka, Alabama, on November 21, 1869, aged 67.


  1. ^ "Benjamin Fitzpatrick". Alabama Department of Archives and History. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
  2. ^ Byrd, Robert C.; Wolff, Wendy (October 1, 1993). The Senate, 1789-1989: Historical Statistics, 1789-1992 (volume 4 Bicentennial ed.). U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 164. ISBN 9780160632563.
  3. ^ "Arthur Pendleton Bagby". Alabama Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 2012-06-23.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Alabama
1841, 1843
Succeeded by
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States(1)

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Preceded by President pro tempore of the United States Senate
Succeeded by
Preceded by President pro tempore of the United States Senate
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Alabama
Served alongside: William R. King
Succeeded by
Preceded by U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Alabama
Served alongside: Clement Clay
Title next held by
George E. Spencer
Notes and references
1. The Democratic Party split in 1860, producing two vice presidential candidates. Fitzpatrick was nominated by the Northern Democrats; Joseph Lane was nominated by the rebel Southern Democrats.