Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Cameron, Angus 1826 - 1897

Cameron, Angus 1826 - 1897 | Wisconsin Historical Society

lawyer, politician, Congressman, b. Caledonia, N.Y. He studied law in Buffalo, and upon graduation from the National Law School, Ballston Spa, N.Y. (1853), was admitted to the bar. In 1857 he moved to Wisconsin, settling in La Crosse where he opened a law practice. A Republican, he was state senator (1863-1864, 1871-1872), and state assemblyman (1866-1867), serving as speaker in the session of 1867. He was a regent of the Univ. of Wisconsin (1866-1875). In 1875, in a bitter political contest, he was chosen by the legislature as U.S. Senator, defeating incumbent Senator Matthew H. Carpenter (q.v.), a staunch Republican who was supported by "boss" Elisha W. Keyes (q.v.) and the party machine. Opposition to Carpenter had developed because of his vote for the "salary grab" and defense of the Credit Mobilier, and within the party this feeling was capitalized upon by politicians with ambitions and personal animosities toward Carpenter, notably C. C. Washburn (q.v.), J. R. Doolittle (q.v.), and A. M. Thomson (q.v.). In the legislature a small group of Republicans bolted the party candidate. A deadlock resulted and eventually the Republican bolters united with the Democrats to elect Cameron. Although Cameron had not sought the office, the election significantly demonstrated the waning power of "Boss" Keyes. In the Senate, Cameron adhered strictly to party discipline; he served as a member of the privileges and elections and the commerce and claims committees. Shortly after his term ended in 1881 he was again elected to the Senate, this time to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Carpenter, who had been re-elected in 1879. Cameron's term expired in 1885 and he retired from politics and returned to La Crosse. La Crosse Morning Chronicle, Mar. 31, 1897; B. F. Bryant, ed., Memoirs of La Crosse Co. (Madison, 1907); Biog. Dir. Amer. Cong. (1928); Wis. Mag. Hist., 16.

The Wisconsin Historical Society has manuscripts related to this topic. See the catalog description of the Angus Cameron Bill for details.

View newspaper clippings at Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles.

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[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]