He attended the schools of Fayetteville and Bingham"s School in Hillsboro, North Carolina. He graduated from Nashville University in September 1839. In March 1841 he graduated from the law department of Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky.
Bright first married Judith C. Clark and they had nine children, James Clark Bright, Golding Bright, West. C. Bright, Robert Lucius Bright, John Morgan Bright, Anna Mary Bright, Susan Catherine Bright, Judith Margaret Bright, and Samual A.Bright. Upon being admitted to the bar in 1841, Bright began his law practice in Fayetteville. While in the Legislature he introduced and passed the bill providing for the construction of Tennessee, Asylum for the Insane.
During the Civil War, he was Inspector General of Tennessee, with the rank of Brigadier General, and served on the staff of Governor Isham G. Harris from 1861 to 1865.
Elected as a Democrat to the Forty-second for the fourth district of Tennessee, Bright was re-elected to the four succeeding Congresses. The re-districting for the 44th Congress changed his representation to the fifth district.
He served from March 4, 1871 to March 3, 1881. His first speech in the United States House of Representatives was against the Ku-Klux Bill.
He served as chairman of the Committee on Claims (Forty-fourth through Forty-sixth Congresses), Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury (Forty-fourth Congress).
He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1880 to the Forty-seventh Congress. After leaving politics, Bright resumed the practice of law in Fayetteville. Bright died in Fayetteville on October 3, 1911 at the age of 94 years and 256 days.
He also served as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1847 and 1848.