See published collections of his speeches; biography by P. W. Riddleberger (1966).
Born in Centerville, Indiana, Julian received a common school education. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1840 and practiced out of Greenfield, Indiana. He started to take part in politics and was elected a Whig to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1845. Julian, who was raised a Quaker, started to question slavery. He helped find the Free Soil Party in 1848. He was a delegate to the convention in Buffalo, New York and the same year was elected to the United States House of Representatives, thirty-first congress. In 1852, the free-soilers nominated Julian for the vice-presidency. John P. Hale was the presidential candidate. The two did not win any electoral votes, but did pull in 155,210 popular votes. He was a delegate to the convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and to the 1856 Republican National Convention where he was its vice president and chairman of the committee on organization. In 1860, he was elected a Republican to the thirty-seventh congress, winning reelection to the thirty-eighth, thirty-ninth, fortieth and forty-first. As early as 1847, Julian espoused the cause of women's suffrage and in 1868 proposed to congress a constitutional amendment conferring the right to vote on women. He was the chairman of the Committee on Public Lands 1863 to 1871 and chairman of the Expenditures in the Navy Department 1865 to 1867. He joined the Liberal Republicans in 1872 and supported Horace Greeley for the presidency. In the election, Julian received five electoral votes for the vice-presidency. President Grover Cleveland appointed Julian surveyor general of New Mexico in May, 1885 which he served until September, 1889. Afterwards, he settled in Irvington, Indiana and focused on literary pursuits, writing for magazines and newspapers. He died July 7, 1899 in Irvington and was interred in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana.