Featured

The Summerhouse on the Capitol Grounds surrounded by pink azalea flowers.
A few ideas to help you in planning a visit to Capitol Hill.

Featured

Ten Steps to Energy Savings and Sustainability for your Office
The Architect of the Capitol’s Legacy of Sustainability began with the setting...

Featured

The Capitol Crypt, which now houses statuary and exhibitions, was once used as an informal storage space where bicycles were parked, seen here circa 1900.
The term "crypt" has long referred to a space beneath the main floor...

Explore Capitol Hill

Francis Preston Blair

Overview 

This statue of Francis Preston Blair was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection by Missouri in 1899.

Alexander Doyle
Artist

Marble
Given by Missouri in 1899
Hall of Columns
U.S. Capitol

Francis Preston Blair statue

Francis Blair was born on February 19, 1821, in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended schools in Washington, D.C., graduated from Princeton University in 1841, and studied law at Transylvania University. After his admission to the bar in Lexington, he went on to practice in St. Louis in 1842.

Blair participated in the Mexican War and was appointed attorney general for the New Mexican Territory after it was secured by General Kearny. A personal and political friend of Thomas Hart Benton, he became known for his views opposing slavery. He also was an outspoken Free-Soiler and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1852. He was defeated in 1858 but reelected in 1860. In 1861 he was instrumental in saving Missouri for the Union. He served as a major general in the United States Army during the Civil War.

At the close of the war, Blair, having spent much of his private fortune in support of the Union, was financially ruined. He was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for vice president in 1868, but he was chosen by the Missouri Legislature as a United States Senator in 1871. He was defeated for reelection in 1873. During the same year he was stricken with paralysis, from which he never recovered. Blair died on July 9, 1875.


Download pdf of this article.

Last Updated: December 15, 2015