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Favorable or Unfavorable #28: Nathaniel P. Banks


Favorable or Unfavorable #28: Nathaniel P. Banks  

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  1. 1. Did you read my first comment?

  2. 2. Favorable or Unfavorable #28: Nathaniel P. Banks

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Nathaniel P Banks was, at various times, a Democrat, Free Soil, Know Nothing, Republican, and Liberal Republican. This was common among proto-Progressives. I first learned of Banks as a below average Civil War general. It wasn't until my late teens that I learned he was also a politician. About two or three years ago, I realized he was from Waltham, Massachusetts, a small town where I have ancestors, and I discovered that Banks's sister was married to the brother of one of my great-great-great grandmothers. So my ancestor(s) was likely at family gatherings with Banks from time-to-time. 

Here are his actions:

Banks, Nathaniel P 1848 Helps form the Free Soil Democrats (former anti-Slavery Dems) within the Free Spoil Party
Banks, Nathaniel P 1854 Breaks with fellow Dems by voting against KS-NE Act, and soon joins the Know Nothings
Banks, Nathaniel P 1856 Elected Speaker of the US House on 133rd ballot, supported by GOP and Know Nothings
Banks, Nathaniel P 1856 nominated for president for both GOP and Know-Nothings for pres (declines the latter); supports Fremont for pres
Banks, Nathaniel P 1860 candidate for GOP pres & VP nom, while serving as Gov of MA
Banks, Nathaniel P 1861 Considered by Lincoln for the cabinet, but Lincoln makes him a general instead (political general)
Banks, Nathaniel P 1862 Made commander of the Army of the Gulf despite a poor military record
Banks, Nathaniel P 1864 Removed from command of the Army of the Gulf after disasterous Red River Campaign
Banks, Nathaniel P 1865 Resigns from the army after being superceded in his duties for reconstruction in LA
Banks, Nathaniel P 1866 Introduces Annexation Bill of 1866, which sought to annex Canada
Banks, Nathaniel P 1868 Major role in Alaska Purchase funding bill
Banks, Nathaniel P 1872 Joins Lib Reps over GOP's growing pro-business influence
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Favorable for his opposition to slavery and pro-labor stance. I almost voted unfavorable because of his imperialism and poor military record. No one took his annexation of Canada that seriously. How would have even been enforced? While he did join the Know Nothings, he did so mainly for his anti-slavery beliefs rather than for xenophonic reasons. I think he's the only Speaker to lead Congress as a minority party. The Democrats had the majority but a coalition of GOP and Know Nothings, and possibly some Democrats, pushed Banks over the edge. 

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