Thomas A. Hendricks
Portrait of Thomas A. Hendricks, Grover Cleveland's vice presidential candidate, found in "Life and Public Services of Hon. Grover Cleveland" by Hon. William Dorsheimer.
Vice-President Thomas Andrews Hendricks was born on September 7, 1819, near Zanesville, Ohio. In 1822, his family moved to Shelby County, Indiana. Thomas Hendricks never again resided in Ohio.
Hendricks studied at the Shelby County Seminary before entering Hanover College in 1841. Hendricks took up the study of the law in 1842. He passed the Indiana bar exam in 1843, and he established a law practice at Shelbyville, Indiana.
In 1848, Hendricks was elected to the Indiana legislature as a member of the Democratic Party. He served as one of Indiana's representatives in the United States Congress from 1851 to 1855. In 1855, he became a commissioner in the United States General Land Office, a position that he held until 1859.
During the American Civil War, Hendricks served as one of Indiana's two United States Senators. He supported the Northern war effort but wanted the war to end as quickly as possible. He approved of President Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction policies and strongly opposed Johnson's impeachment. Due to his desire for leniency towards Southern whites at the end of the Civil War, the Indiana legislature refused to reappoint Hendricks to the Senate in 1869. Nevertheless, he continued to be popular. In 1872, Indiana voters elected Hendricks governor. He was the first Democrat elected governor of a Northern state following the Civil War.
Hendricks had gained national recognition while serving in the U.S. Senate during the late 1860s. In 1868, the Democratic Party considered nominating him as the party's candidate for President of the United States. Hendricks lost the nomination to Horatio Seymour. He was again considered by the Democratic Party for the presidency in 1876, but the party chose Samuel Tilden. Hendricks became the Democrats' unanimous choice for vice-president. Tilden and Hendricks eventually lost the Election of 1876 to Ohioan Rutherford B. Hayes.
In 1884, the Democratic Party once again selected Hendricks as its candidate for the vice-presidency. The presidential candidate was Grover Cleveland. Cleveland and Hendricks won the election in a very close race. Hendricks died while serving as vice-president on November 25, 1885.
- Welch, Deshler. Stephen Grover Cleveland: A Sketch of his Life, to which is Appended a Short Account of the Life of Thomas Andrews Hendricks. New York, NY: J.W. Lovell Company, 1884.