Log In

Benjamin Harvey Hill

Congressman , Lawyer , senator

Benjamin Harvey Hill, American senator. member Georgia Assembly, 1851; member Confederate States Senate from Georgia (Jefferson Davis’ champion and spokesman), 1861-1865; member United States House of Representatives from Georgia, 44th-45th congresses, May 5, 1875-1877, resigned, 1877; member United States Senate from Georgia, 1877-1882.


HILL, Benjamin Harvey was born on September 14, 1823 in Jasper County, Georgia, United States, United States. Son of John and Sarah (Parham) Hill. His father was a man of modest means and limited education.


Graduated from the University Georgia, 1843.


The younger Hill graduated first in his class from the University of Georgia in 1844. He was admitted to the bar in Troup County, Georgia, the following year. Hill became a successful lawyer, planter, and Whig leader in the state.

He was a Methodist and a leader of the Sons of Temperance. On November 27, 1845, he married Caroline E. Holt, who was from a famous Georgia family. They had two sons and four daughters.

He was elected to the lower House of the state legislature in 1851, where he was a unionist and an opponent of the Know-Nothings, and served until 1853. In 1855, he became an independent unionist and a Know-Nothing himself. He was a presidential elector on the Millard Fillmore slate in 1856 and on the John Bell slate in 1860.

He lost a race for governor in 1857 to Joseph E. Brown. In 1859, he was a unionist in the Georgia Senate. Despite his unionist beliefs, he did not want division at home.

As a delegate to the Georgia secession convention, he voted for secession. Hill helped to organize the Confederate government in Montgomery and served in the Confederate Senate throughout the war. In the provisional Congress, he served on the Judiciary Committee, opposed state nullification of Confederate law, and was a major contributor to the debate over the Confederate Constitution.

As chairman of the Judiciary of the Confederate Senate, Hill favored the Confederate Supreme Court. He had a violent altercation over the need for conscription with Senator William L. Yancey. Hill favored overseer exemptions, protested illegal impressments, and was a severe critic of bureaucratic management.

Proposed the investigation of the Quartermaster and Commissary Departments. And opposed the Hampton Roads Conference. He also offered a plan for a Southern convention in 1864 in order to present a united front for peace bargaining.

A Davis defender in Richmond and in Georgia, he served on the Patents, Printing, and Judiciary Committees of the Senate. After the war, Hill lost his money and was arrested. When paroled he returned to his law practice and was active in politics.

He denounced the Reconstruction government in an 1867 article entitled “Notes on the Situation.” In 1872, he supported Horace Greeley for the presidency. He also helped to reorganize the Georgia Democrartic party. In 1875, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat and was reelected the following year.

He later served in the U.S. Senate, from 1877 until his death on August 16, 1882, in Atlanta, Georgia.


"Peculiar institution" of slavery was not only expedient but also ordained by God and upheld in Holy Scripture.


Stands for preserving slavery, states' rights, and political liberty for whites. Every individual state is sovereign, even to the point of secession.


Member Georgia Assembly, 1851. Member Confederate States Senate from Georgia (Jefferson Davis’ champion and spokesman), 1861-1865. Member United States House of Representatives from Georgia, 44th-45th congresses, May 5, 1875-1877, resigned, 1877.

Member United States Senate from Georgia, 1877-1882.


Married Caroline Holt, November 27, 1845, 6 children.

John Hill

Sarah (Parham) Hill

Caroline Holt