James G. Blaine
(1830-1893)
James G. Blaine was a contemporary of Thomas B. Reed, another Republican from Maine that dominated national politics after the Civil War. Blaine was a Pennsylvanian who married into a Maine family. He began his career as a journalist, but soon turned to politics, serving as Speaker for the Maine House of Representatives before moving on to represent Maine in Washington. There, he quickly rose to Speaker of the House, U.S. Senator, and finally Secretary of State under President Benjamin Harrison. As Secretary of State, Blaine helped bring American investments into developing Latin American countries and worked to settle international economic and political disputes. Blaine came close to winning the 1884 presidential election, his second attempt to gain that office. Though he was very popular in the Republican Party, Blaine was haunted by scandal, which hurt his political career. Despite scandal, Blaine was well loved, and earned the nickname of "a plumed knight" who fought bravely for the Republican cause. Blaine was sickly for much of his life, and finally died in 1893 at the age of sixty-three. Years later, his daughter donated his home to the state. The Blaine House, in Augusta, remains the official residence of the Governor of Maine today.

Source: Finding Katahdin: An Exploration of Maine's Past, by Amy Hassinger. Orono: University of Maine Press, 2000. Image courtesy Maine Historical Society.

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