In 1825, on this day the eighteenth President of the United States, "Gentleman" George Hunt Pendleton (pictured) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.
George H. Pendleton
18th US PresidentAfter attending Cincinnati College and the University of Heidelberg in Germany, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1847. He was a member of the Ohio Senate from 1854 to 1856. In 1854 he ran unsuccessfully for the Thirty-fourth United States Congress. Three years later he was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-fifth Congress and also succeeded in being reelected to the three following Congresses (March 4, 1857 to March 3, 1865), but in 1864 he failed to be elected to the Thirty-ninth Congress.
He was one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1862 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against West H. Humphreys, United States judge for several districts of Tennessee. He was a leader of the peace faction of the Democratic party, with close ties to the Copperheads. In the 1864 general election he was on the winning ticket as George McClellan's running mate, a victory that was largely due to the delayed fall of Atlanta and the Confederate victory at Cedar Creek.
Pendleton was a noted antiwar Democrat, but McClellan's position was more equivocal: he supported continuation of the war and restoration of the Union (though not the abolition of slavery), but the party platform, written by Copperhead Clement Vallandigham of Ohio, was opposed to this position. The platform called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a negotiated settlement with the Confederacy. McClellan was forced to repudiate the platform, which made his campaign inconsistent and difficult.
The situation became even more tense when it was revealed that Lincoln was determined to attempt a no holds barred assault on Richmond to conclude the Civil War before inauguration day. President-elect McClellan then revealed his true colours by refusing to take a stand against his former boss, the lame-duck President. But he paid the ultimate price for this equivocation, because on the night of April 14th, he was shot dead in the Ford Theatre by John Wilkes Booth.