Key, David M(cKendree)


Key, David M(cKendree)

biographical name

(born Jan. 27, 1824, Greene county, Tenn., U.S.—died Feb. 3, 1900, Chattanooga, Tenn.) U.S. politician. Admitted to the bar in 1850, he practiced law in Chattanooga and became active in Democratic Party politics. He opposed secession by the South but served in the Confederate army during the American Civil War, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. After the war he worked to heal sectional grievances and restore the Union. He was appointed to the U.S. Senate (1875), succeeding former president Andrew Johnson, but two years later was defeated in a bid to retain the seat. When the disputed 1876 presidential election was turned over to a special Electoral Commission, the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, secured the support of Southern Democrats by promising, among other things, to appoint a Southerner to his cabinet. Key was thus appointed postmaster general in 1877. From 1880 to 1894 Key was a U.S. district judge in Tennessee.

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