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John Pettit

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Title: John Pettit  
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Subject: 32nd United States Congress, Daniel W. Voorhees, Edward A. Hannegan, List of United States Senators from Indiana, United States congressional delegations from Indiana
Collection: 1807 Births, 1877 Deaths, American Proslavery Activists, Delegates to the 1851 Indiana Constitutional Convention, Democratic Party United States Senators, Indiana Democrats, Indiana Supreme Court Justices, Kansas Territory Judges, Members of the Indiana House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana, People from New York, Union College (New York) Alumni, United States Attorneys, United States Attorneys for the District of Indiana, United States Senators from Indiana
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John Pettit

John Pettit
United States Senator
from Indiana
In office
January 18, 1853 – March 4, 1855
Preceded by Charles W. Cathcart
Succeeded by Graham N. Fitch
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 8th district
In office
March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1849
Preceded by District created
Succeeded by Joseph E. McDonald
Personal details
Born (1807-06-24)June 24, 1807
Sackets Harbor, New York
Died January 17, 1877(1877-01-17) (aged 69)
Lafayette, Indiana
Political party Democratic

John Pettit (June 24, 1807 – January 17, 1877) was a United States Representative and Senator from Indiana.

Born in Sackets Harbor, New York, he completed preparatory studies and admitted to the bar in 1831. He moved to Lafayette, Indiana where he commenced practice in 1838; he was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives in 1838-1839 and was United States district attorney from 1839 to 1843.

Pettit was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-eighth, Twenty-ninth, and Thirtieth Congresses (March 4, 1843 - March 4, 1849); he was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1848. In 1850 he was a delegate to the Indiana state constitutional convention and a presidential elector on the Democratic ticket in 1852. He was appointed to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of James Whitcomb and served from January 18, 1853, to March 4, 1855; he was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1854.

While in the Senate he was chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims (Thirty-third Congress). During the Senate debate on the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, Pettit argued in favor of expanding slavery to Kansas, and famously said that Jefferson's idea (in the United States Declaration of Independence) that "all men are created equal" was not a "self-evident truth" but instead "is nothing more to me than a self-evident lie."[1] The debate over Pettit's inflammatory words is credited with reviving Abraham Lincoln's interest in national politics.

After his time in Congress, Pettit was chief justice of the United States courts in the Territory of Kansas from 1859 to 1861, and was a judge of the Indiana Supreme Court from 1870 to 1877.

He died in Lafayette, Indiana, aged 69, and was interred in Greenbush Cemetery.

References

  1. ^ Codevilla, Angelo (2010-07-16) America's Ruling Class, The American Spectator

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
New district
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 8th congressional district

March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1849
Succeeded by
Joseph E. McDonald
United States Senate
Preceded by
Charles W. Cathcart
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Indiana
1853–1855
Served alongside: Jesse D. Bright
Succeeded by
Graham N. Fitch
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