Benjamin F. Butler   

Benjamin Franklin Butler was born in Deerfield, New Hampshire on November 5, 1818. His father, John Butler, fought in the War of 1812 and named his son after one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. After graduating from Colby College in Maine in 1838, he became a lawyer and politician. He was a state representative for the state of Massachusetts, and then later became the 33rd governor.

Benjamin F. Butler
Benjamin F. Butler

Butler married and had a daughter (who would later on wed a state senator). He then proceeded to fill his military "dreams" and became a general. Although he started out as a Democrat, Butler represented the Republican Party from 1867-1875 and 1877-1879 in the House of Representatives. Ben Butler played a very important role in the Jim Crow era. In 1871, he constructed the Ku Klux Klan Act. And in 1875, collaborated with Charles Sumner to propose the Civil Rights Act of 1875 (see Jim Crow Timeline). As a white man, he stood up against other whites who believed solely in supremacy of the white race. He supported African-Americans in their fight for racial equality, and tried his best to make things equal among the different races. In the Civil Rights Act of 1875, Butler (and Sumner) wanted to abolish racial discrimination in all public facilities and accommodations. Unfortunately, this law was declared unconstitutional. Those racial minorities in the United States of America would have to suffer for almost a century before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (see Jim Crow Timeline) was ratified. This civil rights act expanded on the basic, central ideas of Butler and Sumner in the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Benjamin F. Butler certainly contributed all he could for racial equality against Jim Crow laws!

Julia Butler
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