Stephen Arnold Douglas

Biographical Sketch

Stephen Arnold Douglas  was born at Brandon, Vermont, on the 23d of April, 1813.

When a child he lived on a farm, working in the fields in the summer and attending the district school during the winter months. At the age of fifteen young Douglas realized his condition in life,—that his widowed mother was not in circumstances to give him an education, so he suppressed his ambition for college for the time, and apprenticed himself to a cabinet-maker in Middlebury. Here he worked with enthusiasm for two years. The following year he spent in Brandon, his native town, attending the academy. At the close of that year he moved with his mother to Canandaigua, N. Y., at once becoming a student at the fine academy located there. He remained in Canandaigua three years, applying himself diligently to his academic studies, also finding time to follow a course in the study of law.

In 1833 the young man of twenty-three years removed to Winchester, Ill., to earn for himself a livelihood. For a few months he taught school and continued his law studies. The next year he was admitted to the bar in Jacksonville, where he had stopped for a short time, before reaching Winchester.

Mr. Douglas was elected State's Attorney of the First Judicial District in 1835. In 1836 he was elected to the Illinois legislature. The following year he was appointed Register of Public Lands at Springfield, to which place he removed. In 1841 he was appointed Secretary of State; but soon resigned, to accept the office of Judge of the Supreme Court of the State. In 1843 Mr. Douglas was elected to Congress, where he served for two terms; he was re-elected to the House for the third term, but at the following session of the legislature, December, 1846, he was chosen for the United States Senate, of which he remained a member until his death.

Senator Douglas died on the 3d of June, 1861.