William Aiken Edit Profile
Aiken graduated from the College of South Carolina (now the University of South Carolina) at Columbia in 1825 and engaged in agriculture as a planter, entering politics in 1837.
He also served in the state legislature and the U. S. Congress, running unsuccessfully for Speaker of the House in 1856 in “the longest and most contentious Speaker election in House history.”
Aiken was the child of William Aiken, the first president of the pioneering South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company. Unfortunately, William Sr. was killed in a Charleston carriage accident and never saw his namesake town of Aiken, South Carolina. His term as governor ran from 1844 to 1846.
Subsequent to his service as governor, Aiken served in the U. S. House of Representatives for the Thirty-second, Thirty-third, and Thirty-fourth Congresses (March 4, 1851 – March 3, 1857). In December, 1855, Aiken was a leading candidate for Speaker of the House of Representatives. After two months and 133 ballots, Aiken lost the race to Nathaniel P. Banks by a vote of 103 to 100, in what has been termed the “the longest and most contentious Speaker election in House history”.
Member lower house South Carolina. Legislature, 1838-1842. South Carolina. Senate, 1842.
Member United States Ho of Representatives from South Carolina., 32d-34th congresses, 1851-1857.
Married Harriet Lowndes, February 3, 1831.