Morrison R. Waite

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Morrison R. Waite (1816-1888) left his home state of Connecticut to practice law in northwestern Ohio. Waite ran twice unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate and spent one term in the state legislature. Waite later declined a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court. He

served as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court,

Morrison R. Waite was a chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court who spent much of his adult life in Ohio.

Morrison R. Waite was born on November 29, 1816, in Lyme, Connecticut. He attended Yale College, before moving to Ohio. Waite studied law with an attorney in Maumee City and passed the Ohio bar examination in 1839.

Waite established a law practice in Maumee City in 1839. In 1850, he moved his office to Toledo, Ohio. Waite was well respected for his legal mind. He also participated in politics and was elected to the Ohio General Assembly in 1850. Waite served only one term. He ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1846 and 1862 and lost both times. In 1863, he refused an appointment to the Ohio Supreme Court.

In 1871, President Ulysses S. Grant selected Waite to help settle claims with Great Britain that arose from the American Civil War. Waite's legal skills helped the United States obtain almost sixteen million dollars from Great Britain for that nation's support of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Upon returning to the United States, Waite participated in the Ohio Constitutional Convention of 1873 and was selected to be the convention's president. While serving at the Constitutional Convention, Waite received word that President Grant had nominated him to be Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Waite served as Chief Justice for the next fifteen years. He died on March 23, 1888.

See Also


  1. Dee, Christine, ed. Ohio's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007.  
  2. Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1988.
  3. McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1988.  
  4. Reid, Whitelaw. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Generals and Soldiers. Cincinnati, OH: Clarke, 1895.
  5. Roseboom, Eugene H. The Civil War Era: 1850-1873. Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1944.  
  6. Stephenson, D. Grier, Jr. The Waite Court: Justices, Rulings, and Legacy. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2003.
  7. Trimble, Bruce R. Chief Justice Waite: Defender of the Public Interest. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1938.