Weaver, James B. (James Baird), 1833-1912

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James Baird Weaver (June 12, 1833 – February 6, 1912) was a member of the United States House of Representatives and two-time candidate for President of the United States. Born in Ohio, he moved to Iowa as a boy when his family claimed a homestead on the frontier. He became politically active as a young man and was an advocate for farmers and laborers. He joined and quit several political parties in the furtherance of the progressive causes in which he believed. After serving in the Union Army in the American Civil War, Weaver returned to Iowa and worked for the election of Republican candidates. After several unsuccessful attempts at Republican nominations to various offices, and growing dissatisfied with the conservative wing of the party, in 1877 Weaver switched to the Greenback Party, which supported increasing the money supply and regulating big business. As a Greenbacker with Democratic support, Weaver won election to the House in 1878.

The Greenbackers nominated Weaver for president in 1880, but he received only 3.3 percent of the popular vote. After several more attempts at elected office, he was again elected to the House in 1884 and 1886. In Congress, he worked for expansion of the money supply and for the opening of Indian Territory to white settlement. As the Greenback Party fell apart, a new anti-big business third party, the People's Party ("Populists"), arose. Weaver helped to organize the party and was their nominee for president in 1892. This time he was more successful and gained 8.5 percent of the popular vote and won five states, but still fell far short of victory. The Populists merged with the Democrats by the end of the 19th century, and Weaver went with them, promoting the candidacy of William Jennings Bryan for president in 1896, 1900, and 1908. After serving as mayor of his home town, Colfax, Iowa, Weaver retired from his pursuit of elective office. He died in Iowa in 1912. Most of Weaver's political goals remained unfulfilled at his death, but many came to pass in the following decades.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Records of the Office of Speechwriting (Clinton Administration), 1993 - 2001. Michael Waldman's Files, 1995 - 2000 William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum
creatorOf Weaver, James B. (James Baird), 1833-1912. James Baird Weaver and James Bellamy Weaver, Jr. papers, 1858-1972. State Historical Society of Iowa, Library
referencedIn House, Boyce, Papers 1943., 1944-1947 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
creatorOf Weaver, James Baird, 1833-1912. Affidavits, 1892. Clarke Historical Library
referencedIn Grover Cleveland Papers, 1743-1945, (bulk 1885-1908) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Records of the National Park Service, 1785 - 2006. National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 - 2017 National Archives Library, National Archives Records Administration
referencedIn Weller, Luman Hamlin, 1833-1914. Papers, 1828-1912. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Weaver, James Baird, 1833-1912. Letter signed : Pulaski, Tenn., to Senator James W. Grimes, 1863 Dec. 10. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn House, Boyce, 1896-1961. House, Boyce, Papers, 1944-1947 University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908. Grover Cleveland papers, 1743-1945 (bulk 1885-1908). Library of Congress
referencedIn Photographic Portrait File The Huntington Library
creatorOf Weaver, James B. (James Baird), 1833-1912. Papers of James Baird Weaver, 1836-1894 1862-1864. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Vol. CLXXXIII. (ff. 615). General Correspondence Oct.-10 Nov. 1756.George II of England: Correspondence of the Duke of Newcastle, Sec. of State, etc.: 1727 -1760.: Home and Diplomatic.includes:ff. 3, 408, 420, 435, 437 Andrew Stone, Under-Secretary ... British Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Davis County IA US
Colfax IA US
Des Moines IA US
Jefferson County IA US
Jasper County IA US
Cass County MI US
Dayton OH US
Presidential candidates--Biography
Army officers
Representatives, U.S. Congress
Newspaper editors


Birth 1833-06-12

Death 1912-02-06





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