Nathaniel Prentice Banks

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Nathaniel Prentice (or Prentiss)[1] Banks (January 30, 1816[2] – September 1, 1894[3]) was an American politician and soldier, served as the 24th Governor of Massachusetts, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and as a Union general during the American Civil War.


Early life

Banks was born at Waltham, Massachusetts, the first child of Nathaniel P. Banks, Sr., and Rebecca Greenwood Banks.[4] He received only a common school education and at an early age began work as a bobbin boy in a local cotton factory; throughout his life he was known by the humorous nickname, Bobbin Boy Banks. Subsequently, he apprenticed as a mechanic alongside Elias Howe; briefly edited several weekly newspapers; studied law with political mentor Robert Rantoul and was admitted to the bar at age 23, his energy and his ability as a public speaker soon winning him distinction. His booming, distinctive voice and oracular style of delivery made him a commanding presence before an audience. On April 11, 1847, at Providence, Rhode Island,[5] he married Mary Theodosia Palmer, an ex-factory employee, after a lengthy courtship.[6]

Political career

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