James A. McDougall

James Alexander McDougall ( born November 19, 1817 in Bethlehem, New York; † 3 September 1867 in Albany, New York) was an American lawyer and politician. He was Attorney General of the states of Illinois and California, as well as a member of the House of Representatives of the United States and in the United States Senate for California.

Early life

James Alexander McDougall was born on November 19, 1817 in Bethlehem in Albany County. He attended the Grammar Schools in Albany, where he excelled in mathematics and civil engineering. He participated in the exploration of the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad, which as Albany and Schenectady Railroad was later known and one of the first in the country was. He began studying law in Albany and then moved to the Pike County, Illinois. In 1838 he married the daughter of an influential lawyer from Jacksonville and joined the Democrats. After he had completed his studies, he began practicing in Cook County. Here he met the later also highly successful Chicago attorney Stephen A. Douglas know.

Political career


In January 1843, 25 year old McDougall was elected as the successor of Josiah Lamborn to Attorney General of Illinois, and in 1844 elected for a further term of office. Although small in stature, he had extraordinary physical and mental endurance. He was a brilliant speaker who was able to use his language skills sent to be one of the most respected speakers in the West.

After the end of his terms of office as Attorney General McDougall again practiced as an attorney in Chicago and built a law firm together with Ebenezer Peck on. During his time in Illinois McDougall became friends with many famous lawyers, among others, Edward Dickinson Baker and Abraham Lincoln. In 1849, McDougall was one of the most influential men of Illinois; however, he was also very interested in the exploration and development of the West. McDougall organized and accompanied the exploration of the Rio del Norte, Gila River and Colorado River. He reached the headwaters of the Rio Grande in the southwest of the nascent in the founding of Colorado Territory. As McDougall learned of the gold rush in California, he returned to Illinois and moved with his family to San Francisco aboard the California.


In California, McDougall began working again as a lawyer, but was already selected in October 1850 for California Attorney General. He resigned after one year to take a seat in the California State Legislature.

1852 McDougall was elected for the second election district of his state in the House of Representatives of the United States. One of his main concerns was to gain the support of the federal government for a railway route to the Pacific. He submitted a bill; This proposal was rejected by Thomas Hart Benton. After the end of the term of office 1855 McDougall returned as a lawyer in San Francisco.

1860 McDougall approached in the election for the U.S. Senate. The Democrats in California were divided over secession. In order to prevent a democratic secession supporters were elected, supported the Republicans McDougall, what this helped to victory.

Washington, D.C.

McDougall sat on for the construction of a Pacific railroad, but alcoholism made ​​him ineffective. As early as 1862 he neglected his Senate duties and fell by numerous scandals. He fought against some of Lincoln's war laws, but could not do anything. Throughout the term, he did not return a single time to California.


After the end of his term as Senator McDougall returned to his youth club in Albany, where he probably died on September 3, 1867 from the effects of alcoholism. His body was according to his wishes brought to California and on the Lone Mountain Cemetery ( later Calvary Cemetery ) buried in San Francisco. In 1942 his remains were reburied at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma.