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Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar II

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Title: Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar II  
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Language: English
Subject: Lamar County, Georgia, William Freeman Vilas, 19th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, Mississippi's 1st congressional district, List of U.S. county name etymologies (J–M)
Collection: 1825 Births, 1893 Deaths, American Methodists, Cleveland Administration Cabinet Members, Confederate States Army Officers, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Democratic Party United States Senators, Members of the Georgia House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Mississippi, Mississippi Democrats, People from Covington, Georgia, People from Putnam County, Georgia, People of Mississippi in the American Civil War, United States Federal Judges Appointed by Grover Cleveland, United States Secretaries of the Interior, United States Senators from Mississippi, United States Supreme Court Justices
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Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar II

Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
In office
January 16, 1888[1] – January 23, 1893
Nominated by Grover Cleveland
Preceded by William Burnham Woods
Succeeded by Howell Edmunds Jackson
16th United States Secretary of the Interior
In office
March 6, 1885 – January 10, 1888
President Grover Cleveland
Preceded by Henry M. Teller
Succeeded by William Freeman Vilas
United States Senator
from Mississippi
In office
March 4, 1877 – March 6, 1885
Preceded by James L. Alcorn
Succeeded by Edward C. Walthall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1877
Preceded by George E. Harris
Succeeded by Henry Muldrow
In office
March 4, 1857 – December 20, 1860
Preceded by Daniel B. Wright
Succeeded by vacant (secession)
Personal details
Born (1825-09-17)September 17, 1825
Died January 23, 1893(1893-01-23) (aged 67)
Vineville, Georgia
Political party Democratic
Parents Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar I
Education Emory College
Occupation Professor, lawyer, politician
Military service
Allegiance Confederate States
Service/branch Confederate States Army
Rank Colonel
Battles/wars American Civil War

Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (September 17, 1825 – January 23, 1893) was an American politician and jurist from Mississippi. A United States Representative and Senator, he also served as United States Secretary of the Interior in the first administration of President Grover Cleveland, as well as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.


  • Early life and career 1
  • Congressional career and Civil War 2
  • Later career 3
  • Legacy and honors 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and career

Lamar was born at the family home of "Fairfield," near Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and was among the first initiates in that fraternity's chapter at the University of Mississippi.[2]

After graduating, Lamar married the daughter of Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, one of the University of Mississippi's early presidents.

In 1849, Lamar's father-in-law, Professor Longstreet, moved to Oxford, Mississippi to take the position of Chancellor at the recently established University of Mississippi. Lamar followed him and took a position as a professor of mathematics for a single year. He also practiced law in Oxford, eventually taking up the role of a planter, establishing a cotton plantation named Solitude in northern Lafayette County, near Abbeville.

In 1852 Lamar moved to Georgia State House of Representatives.

Congressional career and Civil War

In 1855 Lamar moved with his family back to Mississippi. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1856, beginning his service in 1857. When Mississippi seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy on January 9, 1861, Lamar said:

"Thank God, we have a country at last: to live for, to pray for, and if need be, to die for."[3]

Lamar retired from the House in December 1860 to become a member in the Mississippi Secession Convention. The state's Ordinance of Secession (see also Mississippi Ordinance of Secession) was drafted by Lamar. He considered a staff appointment to the new government, but abandoned that to co-operate with his former law partner, Christopher H. Mott in raising and supplying a regiment.

Lamar raised, and funded out of his own pocket, the 19th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. Mott was commissioned Colonel, as he had served as an officer in the war with Mexico, and Lamar was commissioned as Lieutenant Colonel. Lamar resigned his professorship in the university and was, on May 14, in Montgomery, offered his regiment to the Confederate War Department. On May 15, 1862, Colonel Lamar, while reviewing his regiment, fell with an attack of vertigo, which had previously disabled him; his service as a soldier was ended.

After this he served as a judge advocate, and aide to his cousin, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet. Later in 1862, Confederate States President Jefferson Davis appointed Lamar as Confederate minister to Russia and special envoy to England and France. When the Civil War was over, he returned to the University of Mississippi where he was a professor of metaphysics, social science and law. In 1865, 1868, 1875, 1877, and 1881, he was also a member of Mississippi's constitutional conventions.

Later career

After having his civil rights restored following the war, Lamar returned to the House in 1873, the first Democrat from Mississippi to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives since the Civil War. He served there until 1877. Lamar was elected by the state legislature (as was the practice at the time) to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate from 1877 to 1885. Lamar was a staunch opponent of Reconstruction, and did not consider freedmen and other black Americans fit to vote. He promoted "the supremacy of the unconquered and unconquerable Saxon race."[4]

Lamar served as United States Secretary of the Interior under President Grover Cleveland from March 6, 1885 to January 10, 1888. As part of the first Democratic administration in 24 years, and as head of the corrupt Interior Department rife with political patronage, Lamar was besieged by visitors seeking jobs. One day a visitor came who was not seeking a job and, as The New York Times later reported:

"In the outer room were several prominent Democrats, including a high judicial officer, several Senators, and any number of members of the House. Mr. Lamar waved his visitor to a chair without saying a word. . . . By and by his visitor said that he would go away and return at some other time, as he feared that he was keeping the people outside. "Pray sit still," requested Mr. Lamar. "You rest me. I can look at you, and you do not ask me for anything; and you keep those people out as long as you stay in."[5]

As secretary, Lamar removed the Department's fleet of carriages for its officials and used only his personal one-horse rockaway.

Lamar's Supreme Court nomination

During an 1884–85 Geological Survey, Geologist Arnold Hague named the East Fork of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park the Lamar River in his honor. The Lamar Valley, or the Secluded Valley of Trapper Osborne Russell and other park features or administrative names which contain Lamar are derived from this original naming in honor of Secretary of the Interior Lamar.[6]

President Cleveland appointed Lamar to the Supreme Court of the United States, and he was confirmed on January 16, 1888, making him the first justice of Southern origin appointed after the Civil War. (William Burnham Woods, while appointed as a resident of Alabama, was a native of Ohio and a Republican.)

He served on the court until his death. He died on January 23, 1893, in Mississippian to have served on the Supreme Court.

Lamar was originally interred at Riverside Cemetery in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1894.

Legacy and honors

Three Lamar County, Mississippi. Lamar, Colorado was also named for him by the town fathers in the futile hope that he would designate it the government mining office.

Lamar was later featured in John F. Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage (1957), for his eulogy speech for Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner (R) in 1874, along with his support of the findings of a partisan congressional committee regarding the disputed Presidential election of 1876, and for his unpopular vote against the Bland-Allison Act of 1878.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns. Dir. Ken Burns, Narr. David McCullough, Writ. and prod. Ken Burns, PBS DVD Gold edition, Warner Home Video, 2002, ISBN 0-7806-3887-5.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^


  • Edward Mayes, Lucius Q. C. Lamar: His Life, Times, and Speeches (Nashville, 1896)
  • The Department of Everything Else: Highlights of Interior History (1989)
  • Congressional Biography
  • Senate summary of Profiles in Courage
  • L.Q.C. Lamar. Letters, 1868–1885, photocopied. Clippings, one ALS (1874). 53 folders. University of Mississippi archives
  • John F. Kennedy: Profiles in Courage.
  • Thomas Lamar Coughlin, Those Southern Lamars ISBN 0-7388-2410-0
  • James B. Murphy, "L. Q. C. Lamar: Pragmatic Patriot" (Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1973)

External links

  • Works by or about Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar II at Internet Archive
  • Works by Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar II at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Daniel B. Wright
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
vacant (secession)
Preceded by
George E. Harris
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Henry Muldrow
United States Senate
Preceded by
James L. Alcorn
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Mississippi
Served alongside: James Z. George
Succeeded by
Edward C. Walthall
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Moore Teller
U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Served under: Grover Cleveland

Succeeded by
William Freeman Vilas
Legal offices
Preceded by
William Burnham Woods
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Succeeded by
Howell Edmunds Jackson
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