Benjamin Gratz Brown (May 28, 1826 - December 13, 1885) was a Liberal Republican Senator, Governor of Missouri, and the Vice presidential candidate in the election of 1872. He was also a chairman of the Public Buildings and Grounds committee.
Brown was born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1826. He graduated from Transylvania University in Lexington in 1845 and from Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut in 1847. He studied law, and later settled in St. Louis, Missouri. There he joined his cousin, Francis P. Blair, Jr., and Senator Thomas Hart Benton in a struggle against the proslavery faction for control of Missouri's Democratic party.
Brown became a member of Missouri state house of representatives and served there between 1852 and 1858. An able lawyer in St. Louis, Brown made a speech in 1857 against a joint resolution opposing emancipation. The speech marked the beginning of the Free-Soil movement in Missouri. He was a leader of the movement. After that, he edited the Missouri Democrat between 1854 and 1859. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Governor of Missouri in 1857.
Brown became a Republican. Throughout the 1860s he and Blair contested control of the Republican party in Missouri. He tried to prevent Missouri from seceding from the Union in 1861. After that, he served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He served as a Senator from Missouri from 1863 to 1867, and was a key figure in the move to replace Abraham Lincoln with John C. Frémont in 1864. He left the Senate in 1867 because of ill health.
In 1870 dissatisfied Missouri Republicans formed a Liberal Republican party and nominated Brown for governor. He served as the Governor between 1871 and 1873.
Presidential Election of 1872
He was one of the contenders for the Liberal Republican Presidential nomination, but lost to newspaper editorHorace Greeley. Brown was the vice presidential candidate under Greeley in the presidential election of 1872 for the Liberal Republican and Democratic parties. Greeley died on November 30 of illness. He died before the results came out in the electoral college, and the electoral votes that were supposed to go to Greeley were split between many candidates. Eighteen of those electoral votes went to Brown. However, the Republicans, incumbent president Ulysses S. Grant and the vice presidential candidate, Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, won the election.
Brown returned to his law practice and died in Kirkwood, Missouri in 1885.