George Washington Julian

George Washington Julian

Julian, George Washington, 1817-99, American abolitionist, U.S. Representative from Indiana (1849-51, 1861-71), b. Wayne co., Ind. Elected to the Indiana legislature as a Whig in 1845, he later became prominent in the Free-Soil party and in 1849 was sent to Congress by a coalition of Free-Soilers and Democrats. There he continued his radical antislavery activities. In 1852 the Free-Soil party nominated him for Vice President on the ticket with John P. Hale. He joined the Republican party at the time of its formation and in 1861 returned to Congress, where he became chairman of the committee on public lands and a member of the committees on the conduct of the war, on Reconstruction, and on the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. In 1872 he joined the Liberal Republican party and after its demise was associated with the Democratic party. From 1885 to 1889 he was surveyor general of New Mexico by appointment of President Cleveland.

See published collections of his speeches; biography by P. W. Riddleberger (1966).

George Washington Julian (May 5, 1817July 7, 1899) was a nineteenth century politician, lawyer and writer from Indiana. He was the son-in-law of Joshua Reed Giddings.

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.


  • The Rebellion, The Mistakes of the Past, The Duty of the Present (1863)
  • Homesteads for Soldiers on the Lands of Rebels (1864)
  • Sale of Mineral Lands (1865)
  • The Rights of Pre-emptors on the Public Lands of the Government Threatened, The Conspiracy Exposed (1866)
  • Suffrage in the District of Columbia (1866)
  • Regeneration before Reconstruction (1867)
  • Speeches on Political Questions (1872)
  • Political Recollections (1884)
  • The Rank of Charles Osborn as an Anti-slavery Pioneer (1891)
  • The Life of Joshua R. Giddings (1892)

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