1825 - 1893
Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar was born in Putnam County, Georgia, on September 17, 1825, into an aristocratic planter family. He attended Emory College and became a lawyer, was elected to the Georgia state legislature for the 1853-54 session, but like many others during this time, he moved westward to Mississippi to make his fortune. He took up residence and opened a law practice in Oxford, Mississippi, and later became a faculty member at the University of Mississippi, a position he no doubt secured with the help of his father-in-law, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, who was president of the university. During the War for Southern Independence, Lamar organized the 19th Mississippi regiment of volunteers and saw action against Union General George McClellan during his 1862 Peninsula campaign in Virginia. Lamar was appointed ambassador to Russia by C.S.A. President Jefferson Davis. After his return from Europe in 1864, he served as a political spokesman for Davis and as a judge advocate in the military court and as acting aide to General James Longstreet, who was his father-in-law's nephew.
Lamar returned to Mississippi after the war, where he resumed his law practice and position on the university faculty, directing the law department until 1870, the year Mississippi was readmitted to the Union. In 1872, Lamar was elected to Congress, Mississippi's first Democratic congressman since Radical Reconstruction. In his solitary role, he was in a position to lead the party to new goals, beginning with a carefully formulated southern program of sectional reconciliation, which he was able to present formally upon the death of Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, whose fervent anti-Southern beliefs had been cause of much southern resentment prior to the war. With rhetorical brilliance Lamar championed the call for amnesty for former Confederates, which quickly rang throughout the country and made Lamar famous.
Lamar's political fortunes continued to rise, as the Mississippi legislature sent him to the U.S. Senate in 1877. With the election in 1884 of Grover Cleveland to the presidency (the first Democrat since before the War for Southern Independence), he became a cabinet member for three years. In 1888, Lamar became a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. As he had during his political career, he continued to rule in favor of economic nationalism and state's rights, opposing the enlargement of the national government's political power, particularly in the area of implied authority over civil rights. He died January 23, 1893, in Georgia.