Benjamin, J. P. (Judah Philip), 1811-1884

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1811-08-06
Death 1884-05-06
Britons
English

Biographical notes:

U.S. senator from Louisiana; Confederate cabinet member, and lawyer. In Feb. 1862, Benjamin was the Confederate Secretary of War.

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin correspondence, 1862 Feb. 2. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 419566560

Judah P. Benjamin was an attorney, planter, politician, and Confederate cabinet member. He was born in St. Thomas, British West Indies and came to New Orleans in 1828. Benjamin was elected to the Louisiana Legislature in 1842, became a delegate to the Louisiana constitutional convention in 1845, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1852 and 1859. As a Confederate cabinet member, Benjamin served as attorney general, secretary of war, and secretary of state. In 1866, Benjamin moved to London where he practiced law until his retirement in 1883, at which time he moved to Paris. He died in 1884.

From the description of Judah P. Benjamin papers, 1811-1956 (bulk 1857-1956). (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 70203794

Benjamin (1811-1884) was a Louisiana senator and secretary of war for the Confederacy.

From the guide to the Judah Philip Benjamin Correspondence, 1850-1866, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Judah P. Benjamin was an Attorney General for the Confederate States Government and a U.S. Senator from La.

From the description of Letter, 1854. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122380474

U.S. senator from Louisiana; Confederate cabinet member, and lawyer. In Aug. 1863, Benjamin was the Confederate Secretary of State.

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin biographical sketch and letter, 1863 Aug. 17. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 420492536

U.S. senator from Louisiana; Confederate cabinet member, and lawyer.

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin correspondence, 1853-1878. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 420463141

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin correspondence, 1836 Oct. 13. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 419552736

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin correspondence, 1850 Aug. 17. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 419582390

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin correspondence, 1857 May 21. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 419579375

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin correspondence, 1858 Aug. 31 and Sept. 7. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 419552715

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin letter of introduction, 1852 Oct. 10. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 419552758

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin correspondence, 1859 and undated. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 423398569

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin letter, 1873. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 423788490

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin letter, 1853 Dec. 16. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 423702359

Judah Philip Benjamin (1811-1884), lawyer and Cabinet official with the Confederate States government during the Civil War. After the war, Benjamin settled in England where he practiced law as a barrister.

From the description of Letter to J.A. McHatton, 1866 June 8. (Emory University, Gamma Project). WorldCat record id: 38476487

U.S. senator from Louisiana, Confederate cabinet officer, and lawyer.

From the description of Papers, 1827-1871. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 34149502

From the description of J.P. Benjamin papers, 1827-1871. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70980281

From the description of Diary of Judah Philip Benjamin, Feb. 22, 1862-Apr. 16, 1865. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 191678634

From the description of Diary of Judah Philip Benjamin, Feb. 22, 1862-Apr. 16, 1865. (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 65163978

U.S. senator from Louisiana; Confederate cabinet member, and lawyer. In early March 1862, Benjamin was the Confederate Secretary of War.

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin correspondence, 1862 Mar. 7. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 420463199

U.S. senator from Louisiana; Confederate cabinet member, and lawyer. In Nov. 1862, Benjamin was the Confederate Secretary of State.

From the description of Judah Philip Benjamin letter of condolence, 1862 Nov. 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 419552749

Judah P. Benjamin, called the "brains of the Confederacy" and the "man behind the throne" of the Confederate aristocracy, was an unparalleled statesman and jurist in the United States, the Confederate States, and Great Britain. A man of multiple talents, Benjamin achieved high-ranking titles wherever he served, especially leaving an indelible mark in the South where he held more official positions than any other man during the Civil War.

On August 6, 1811, Judah Philip Benjamin was born to Jewish parents of English nationality temporarily making residence in the British West Indies. In 1816, the Benjamin family immigrated to the United States, taking up residence in the Carolinas. In 1825, Benjamin attended Yale College, however, he never completed his studies there.

In December of 1832, Benjamin began his long association with the law when he was admitted to the Louisiana bar and began a successful practice in that newly ratified state. In 1853, Benjamin was elected to the United States Senate representing Louisiana and was reelected again in 1859. As slavery became the heated issue of the day, Benjamin sided with the South giving many speeches on the Senate floor in support of slavery.

In February of 1861, after the first battles of the Civil War, Benjamin resigned from his Senate post and was quickly appointed first Attorney General of the Confederate States of America. He was quickly promoted to Confederate Secretary of War in August of 1861, and then personally chosen by Confederate President Jefferson Davis in February of 1862 to be the Confederacy's third Secretary of State, which he remained as until the Confederacy's defeat at the end of the war.

After the capture of Jefferson Davis and other high-ranking Confederate officials in 1865, Benjamin fled to England, where he was well received due to connections through American friends and a friendship with British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. In 1866, Benjamin was admitted to the English bar, and in 1868 he wrote "A Treatise on Law of Sale of Personal Property." He was an excellent practitioner of jurisprudence amassing a great fortune from his practice and quickly assumed a position as a barrister, and later in 1872 he was appointed the highest ranking of Queen's counselor. Benjamin died on May 8, 1884 in Paris after a long period of declining health after falling when descending a tramcar.

Benjamin's legacy continued long after his death, being one of the legendary heroes of the Old South. In 1925, the Judah P. Benjamin Commission was established in Florida to preserve and restore the Gamble plantation where Benjamin hid from Union soldiers in his flight to England. In 1930, 1942, and 1948, monuments to Benjamin were erected respectfully in Richmond, Va., Sarasota, Fl., and Charlotte, N.C. with the cooperation of local Jewish organizations and groups preserving the history of the Confederacy.

  • August 6, 1811: Born in the British West Indies
  • 1816: Benjamin family immigrates to the United States
  • 1825: Attends Yale College, but does not graduate
  • 1832: Admitted to the Louisiana bar
  • 1853: Elected U.S. Senator representing Louisiana
  • 1859: Reelected to the U.S. Senate
  • February 1861: Resigns from U.S. Senate; appointed first Attorney General of the Confederate States of America (CSA)
  • August 1861 - February 1862 : Appointed second CSA Secretary of War
  • February 1862 - 1865 : Appointed third CSA Secretary of State until end of Civil War; flees to the Bahamas and then to England
  • 1866: Admitted to the English bar; practices law in Liverpool, England
  • 1868: Publishes A Treatise on Law of Sale of Personal Property
  • 1872: Appointed to the Queen's Counsel, highest rank for jurists in England
  • 1883: Publicly declares retirement in consideration of his declining health
  • May 8, 1884: Dies in Paris, France

From the guide to the Collection of Judah P. Benjamin, undated, 1838, 1854-1884, 1893, 1925, 1930, 1942, 1948, 1854-1884, (American Jewish Historical Society)

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Subjects:

  • Slavery
  • Booksellers and bookselling
  • Decedents' estates
  • Senators, U.S. Congress
  • Mexico. Treaties, etc. United States, 1853 Dec. 30
  • Amory, Nathaniel C
  • Real Estate
  • Public speaking
  • Tehuantepec Railroad Company of New Orleans
  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • Slavery in the United States
  • Directors of corporations
  • Lawyers--Correspondence
  • Money--Confederate States of America
  • Starr, James Harper
  • Benjamin, Judah Philip
  • Jews, Southern States
  • Legislators--Archives
  • Jewish statesmen
  • Practice of law
  • American Confederate voluntary exiles
  • Lawyers
  • Dinners and dining
  • Railroads
  • presidents
  • African Americans
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Military service, Voluntary
  • Young men--Societies, etc
  • Confederate States of America--Politics and Government
  • Slaves
  • Publishers and publishing--Correspondence
  • Jews--Archives
  • Free African Americans
  • Jewish lawyers
  • Lancers
  • Diplomatic and consular service, American
  • Lawyers--Archives
  • Business enterprises
  • Law--Interpretation and construction
  • Presidents--Correspondence
  • Cotton trade
  • Boundaries, State

Occupations:

  • Lawyers--Louisiana
  • Cabinet officers--Confederate States of America
  • Lawyers--Confederate States of America
  • Jewish legislators
  • Lawyers--Great Britain
  • Lawyers
  • Senators, U.S. Congress--Louisiana
  • Jewish lawyers

Places:

  • Washington (D.C.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Belize (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Nevada (as recorded)
  • Canada (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Louisiana (as recorded)
  • Louisiana (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Louisiana (as recorded)
  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • Richmond (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Mexico (as recorded)
  • Louisiana (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Washington (D.C.) (as recorded)
  • Washington (D.C.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Louisiana (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Newburg (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Louisiana (as recorded)
  • Belle Chasse Plantation (La.) (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial at Gamble Plantation Historic State Park (Ellenton, Fla.) (as recorded)
  • New Orleans, La. (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • South Carolina (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • Louisiana (as recorded)
  • Louisiana (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Southern states (as recorded)
  • France (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Richmond (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Spain (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Belize (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Louisiana (as recorded)
  • Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Mexico) (as recorded)