Benjamin, Judah P(hilip)

Benjamin, Judah P(hilip)

biographical name


Judah Benjamin—Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

(born Aug. 6, 1811, St. Croix, Virgin Islands—died May 6, 1884, Paris, France) Prominent lawyer in the U.S. and Britain and member of the Confederate cabinet. He moved with his parents from St. Croix to South Carolina in his early youth. In 1832 he began building a successful law practice in New Orleans. He was the first Jew elected to the U.S. Senate (1853–61), where he was noted for his proslavery speeches. After the South seceded, Jefferson Davis appointed him attorney general (1861), secretary of war (1861–62), and secretary of state (1862–65). Late in the war he enraged many white Southerners by urging that slaves be recruited into the Confederate army and emancipated after their term of service. At the end of the war he escaped to England, where he was called to the bar (1866) and served as queen's counsel (1872).

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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