James S. Sherman

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James S. Sherman
James sherman.jpg
27th Vice-President of the United States
Term of office
March 4, 1909 - October 30, 1912
Political party Republican
President William Howard Taft
Preceded by Charles W. Fairbanks
Succeeded by Thomas R. Marshall
Born October 24, 1855
Utica, New York
Died October 30, 1912
Utica, New York
Spouse Carrie Babcock Sherman

James S. Sherman (1855 - 1912) was a US Representative from the State of New York and Vice President of the United States of America under William Howard Taft.

James Schoolcraft Sherman was born in Utica, New York to Richard Updike Sherman and Mary Frances Sherman. His paternal grandfather, Willett Sherman, was a prominent business man in Utica, being operating a well off glass factory and the owner of a large farm.[1]

In college, Sherman joined the Sigma Phi fraternity and was active in the Dutch Reform Church.[2] He came to be known as "Sunny Jim" for his congenial disposition.

Elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1886, Sherman was a supporter of high tariffs, as advocated by William McKinley, a measure seen by supporters as protecting the interests of US producers, manufacturers and labor. Sherman lost his seat in 1890 over the high tariff issue, but was reelected in 1890 and remained a US Representative until he became Vice President in 1909.

As Vice President, Sherman was well ahead of his time in advocating a strait connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans,[3] although he wanted this to be done through Nicaragua, as opposed to Panama,[4] ostensibly because of the deaths that had occurred when French builders dug there in the 1880s.[5] Whether to build the canal in Nicaragua or in Panama had been previously debated as far back as the Grant Administration,[6] and Sherman came out clearly in favor of Nicaragua. Sherman was also an advocate for expanded Native American rights,[7] but, as President of the Senate, was mostly concerned with proper parliamentary procedure.

After a bitter fight with Theodore Roosevelt for control of the New York Republican Party, one that contributed to Roosevelt's establishment of the Bull Moose Party, Sherman found President William Howard Taft and himself fighting a three-way battle for reelection in 1912. Sherman passed away on October 20, 1912, days before election day. His electoral votes were given to Nicolas Murray Butler, then President of Columbia University.[8]


  1. Senate History
  2. Senate History, ibid.
  3. Grolier Encyclopedia
  4. Grolier Encyclopedia,ibid.
  5. The French Failure - Panama Canal
  6. History of the Panama Canal
  7. Grolier Encyclopedia; ibid.
  8. The Tribune Almanac and Political Register by Horace Greeley, John Fitch Cleveland, F. J. Ottarson, Alexander Jacob Schem, Edward McPherson, Henry Eckford Rhoades, 1914 edition pg. 379