George Badger

George E. Badger“While there may be some question as to who should be regarded as the greatest North Carolinian, certainly in a list of the five greatest, the name of George E. Badger should be included.”

We’ll bet he wasn’t on your list. That quote, and the portrait, are from volume seven of Samuel Ashe’s Biographical History of North Carolina, published in 1908. Badger (1795-1866), a native of New Bern, held a number of government posts, including Secretary of the Navy under William Henry Harrison. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1846.

We ran across Badger in researching North Carolinians who had been nominated to the Supreme Court. In 1853, President Millard Fillmore nominated Badger to fill a seat left vacant by the death of Justice John McKinley. The discussion over Badger’s nomination focused on his views on a strong federal government and slavery. Southern, pro-slavery Democrats ultimately turned against Badger, a Whig, and his nomination was defeated by a vote of 26-25. After leaving the Senate in 1855, and with the demise of the Whig party, Badger did not hold another prominent position in government.

Yardley on Franklin

Jonathan Yardley reviews Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin in yesterday’s Washington Post. Franklin, currently Professor Emeritus of History at Duke and one of the nation’s pre-eminent historians, has a long connection with North Carolina. His doctoral dissertation at Harvard was on free African Americans in antebellum North Carolina and was later published by the UNC Press in 1943 as The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860. Franklin has taught at a number of colleges and universities including North Carolina Central.

Jonathan Yardley is a Tar Heel himself, a 1961 graduate of the University of North Carolina, and former editor of the student newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel.