Friday, August 22, 2014

James B. Shields: Man of Many States

A poll I saw today says that Scott Brown (formerly senator from Massachusetts) has a reasonable chance of winning a US Senate seat from New Hampshire. I wouldn't bet on it, but it got me to thinking about whether anybody has ever held senate seats from two different states.

My first thought was Sam Houston, but I was wrong; he was a senator only from Texas. He did also represent Tennessee in the House, so he was in congress from two states, and he is also the only person to have been elected governor of two states. But still, Sam doesn't quite fill the bill.

And then I found James B. Shields. Never heard of him? Neither had I, but he is the only person to serve in the US Senate from three states. Shields was a general in both the Mexican and Civil wars, and served as a senator from Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri (Missouri apparently was a more or less honorary appointment to fill out the last few weeks of a term).

Shields, who was born in Ireland, was not a US citizen when he was first elected to office (the Illinois legislature), which was perfectly legal at the time, but will probably frost some folks' butts. If it annoys you, though, you can take solace that it was Illinois -- what can one expect?

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