Born: March 23, 1799 in Mason County, Kentucky
Political Affiliation: Democrat (Unionist)
Religious Affiliation: Unknown
Education: Lexington Academy; U.S. Military Academy at West Point
Career Prior to Term: Army Officer; engineer; planter; lawyer; parish judge
How He Became Governor: Appointed Military Governor by General Winfield Scott Hancock
Career after Term: Planter; businessman
Died: April 15, 1886 in Lyme, Connecticut
Joshua Baker, a pro-Union conservative Democrat who supported the less stringent plan of Reconstruction, took office in January, 1868. General Winfield Scoft Hancock, the new military district commander and a conservative Democrat himself preferred President Andrew Johnson's lenient program of Reconstruction. Upon taking command, Hancock began slowly removing Radical Republicans from office.
When Governor Flanders resigned in protest against Hancock's actions, Hancock appointed Baker.
Baker held little power. Under the Military Reconstruction Acts of 1867, his orders could be reversed by the military. After Baker removed nine New Orleans City Councilmen from office, Ulysses Grant, General-in-Chief of the Army cancelled Baker's action. The Governor then resigned.
"Only a footnote in the history of Louisiana, Baker provided an illustration of the confusion and chaos brought on by the revolutionary conditions of the war years and the failure of the government in Washington to devise a consistent and coherent policy of Reconstruction", one historian has written.
Baker died in 1885 while visiting his daughter in Connecticut.