Roscoe Conkling

Roscoe Conkling
Roscoe Conkling
  • Born: October 30, 1829
  • Died: April 18, 1888
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Politician









Roscoe Conkling was a politician from New York who served both as a member of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. He was the leader of the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party, the first Republican senator from New York to be elected for three terms, and the last person to turn down a U.S. Supreme Court appointment after he had already been confirmed to the post. While in the House, Conkling served as bodyguard for Representative Thaddeus Stevens, a sharp-tongued anti-slavery representative, and fully supported the Republican War effort. Conkling, who was temperate and detested tobacco, was known for his physical condition, maintained through regular exercise and boxing, an unusual devotion for his time. Conkling was elected to the Senate in 1867 as a leading Radical, who supported the rights of African Americans during Reconstruction.

Quotes About
Author Quote
James G. Blaine The contempt of that large-minded gentleman is so wilting: his haughty disdain, his grandiloquent swell, his majestic, supereminent, overpowering turkey-gobbler strut has been so crushing to myself and all the members of this House.
James A. Garfield [Senator Roscoe Conkling is:] A great fighter, inspired more by his hates than his loves.
Rutherford B. Hayes In the end, the claim of a single Senator to control all nominations in his State will be found so preposterous that it will fall of its own weight.
Rutherford B. Hayes The political event of last week is the opposition of [Roscoe] Conkling to the New York appointments. This is a test case. The Senators generally prefer to confirm Merritt and Graham. But many, perhaps a majority, will not oppose Conkling on the question. Senatorial courtesy, the Senatorial prerogative, and the fear of Conkling's vengeance in the future, control them.
Rutherford B. Hayes Conkling -- the power behind the throne, superior to the throne.
Rutherford B. Hayes I am now in a contest on the question of the right of Senators to dictate or control all nominations. Mr. [Roscoe] Conkling insists that no officer shall be appointed in New York without his [Conkling's] consent, obtained previously to the nomination.
Rutherford B. Hayes In the language of the press, "Senator Conkling has won a great victory over the Administration." My New York nominations were rejected thirty-one to twenty-five. But the end is not yet. I am right, and shall not give up the contest.
Elihu Root The government of the State has presented two different lines of activity, one of the constitutional and statutory officers of the State, and the other of the party leaders,—they call them party bosses. They call the system—I don’t coin the phrase, I adopt it because it carries its own meaning—the system they call "invisible government." For I don’t remember how many years, Mr. Conkling was the supreme ruler in this State; the Governor did not count, the legislatures did not count; comptrollers and secretaries of state and what not, did not count. It was what Mr. Conkling said, and in a great outburst of public rage, he was pulled down. Then Mr. Platt ruled the State; for nigh upon twenty years he ruled it. It was not the Governor; it was not the Legislature; it was not any elected officers; it was Mr. Platt. And the capitol was not here; it was at 49 Broadway.
James G. Blaine … his haughty disdain, his grandiloquent swell, his majestic, supereminent, overpowering, turkey-gobbler strut
Quote Topics Cited
... dizzy with the elevation to which the assassination [of Lincoln] has raised him. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
A man, and yet not a man. In flesh and blood alive; politically dead.” …. They are not slaves, but they are not, in a political sense, ‘persons’. Citizenship & Patriotism ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
He [Ulysses S. Grant] will hew to the line of right, let the chips fly where they may. Miscellaneous
I cannot compete with the grave. Miscellaneous
I don't care whom you take; Chester Allen Arthur will do as well as any other. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
If the question at Chicago had been who shall be the next President? instead of who shall be the candidate? beyond all question the choice would have fallen on New York's illustrious statesman . Political Parties & Machines
No thank you, I don't engage in criminal practice. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Parties are not built by deportment. Political Parties & Machines
Pull no skulkers from under the ammunition wagon; take the tried and true old hero [Ulysses Grant]—with the Old Guard behind him who have never kept step to any music but the music of the Union. Political Parties & Machines
Snivel Service Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
The northern states, most of them, do not permit negroes to vote. Some of them have repeatedly and lately pronounced against it. Therefore, even if it were defensible as a principle for the Central Government to absorb by amendment the power to control the action of the States in such a matter, would it not be futile to ask three-quarters of the States to do for themselves and others, by ratifying such an amendment, the very thing most of them have already refused to do in their own cases? Voters, Voting & Elections
The Snivel Service. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
The white men the Democrats of the South are sending to Congress are coming with hands reeking in human gore. Discrimination & Prejudice
We are told the Republican party is a machine. Yes. A government is a machine.... the school system of the State of New York is a machine; a political party is a machine. Political Parties & Machines
When Dr. [Samuel] Johnson called patriotism the last refuge of a scoundrel, he forgot the possibilities contained in the word Reform.
He will hew to the line of right, let the chips fly where they may.
Obeying instructions I should never dare to disregard, expressing, also, my own firm conviction, I rise in behalf of the State of New York to propose a nomination with which the country and the Republican party can grandly win.
Show me a better man. Name one and I am answered; but do not point, as a disqualification, to the very facts which make this man fit beyond all others.
The election before us will be the Austerlitz of American politics. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Without bureaus, committees, officials or emissaries to manufacture sentiment in his favor, without intrigue or effort on his part, Grant is the candidate whose supporters have never threatened to bolt.