Henry Clay Warmoth 1868-1872
Born: May 9, 1842 in McLeansboro, Illinois
Political Affiliation: Republican
Religious Affiliation: Episcopalian
Education: Village schools
Career Prior to Term: Union Army Officer
How He Became Governor: Elected in 1868
Career after Term: Collector of Customs; published memoirs
Died: September 30, 1931 in New Orleans
Henry Clay Warmoth epitomizes the corruption of Louisiana politics during Reconstruction and at other times as well.
Elected Governor at age 26 as the Republican candidate, Warmoth speculated in state bonds and treasury notes, profited from part ownership in the newspaper which held the contract for state printing, and created the State Returning Board to supervise election returns.
The Board had the power to throw out votes from any precinct thought to have tainted results. Radical Republicans used the board to maintain power by enabling them to steal elections from the Conservative Democrats.
Although he supported voting rights for blacks, Warmoth prevented other civil rights provisions from becoming part of the Constitution of 1868.
He led a faction of the Republican Party in Louisiana which opposed the faction loyal to President Ulysses Grant. Warmoth's group allied itself with the Democrats in the controversial election of 1872, supporting John McEnery over Grant's candidate, William Kellogg. For his role in the fraudulent election, Warmoth was impeached but never brought to trial. Warmoth lived 60 more years, staying active in Republican party politics.
He died in 1931 in New Orleans.