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John James Ingalls
John James Ingalls

John James Ingalls (December 29, 1833 – August 16, 1900) was an American politician.

John James Ingalls was born in Middleton, Massachusetts, on December 29, 1833. He graduated from Williams College in 1855. Foreshadowing his later reputation as a wit, his graduation thesis, entitled Mummy Life, was a satire of college life. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1857. Moving to Kansas Territory, Ingalls settled in Atchison in 1860. He joined the anti-slavery forces and worked to make Kansas a free state. He was a member of the Wyandotte constitutional convention in 1859 and is reputed to have coined the state motto, Ad Astra per Aspera.

When Kansas was admitted to the Union in 1861, he became secretary of the first state Senate and state senator in 1862. During the Civil War he served as judge advocate in the Kansas militia. As an editor of the Atchison newspaper, Freedom's Champion, for three years, he won a national reputation for a series of magazine articles. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1873, succeeding Samuel C. Pomeroy, Ingalls served for 18 years. He supported labor and agriculture against monopolies. He also favored the Interstate Commerce Act and the Civil Service Law (US).

In 1887 Ingalls was elected President pro tempore of the Senate. Praised throughout his life for his keen sarcasm and quick wit, John James Ingalls died in East Las Vegas, New Mexico, on August 16, 1900.

In 1905, the state of Kansas donated a marble statue of Ingalls to the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection This statue is slated to be replaced by Amelia Earhart.[1]

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  1. ^ [1]
United States Senate
Preceded by
Samuel C. Pomeroy
United States Senator (Class 3) from Kansas
Served alongside: Alexander Caldwell, Robert Crozier, James M. Harvey, Preston B. Plumb
Succeeded by
William A. Peffer
Political offices
Preceded by
John Sherman
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
February 26, 1887–March 2, 1891
Succeeded by
Charles F. Manderson


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

John James Ingalls (December 29, 1833August 16, 1900) was an American politician.


  • The purification of politics is an iridescent dream.
    • Epigram, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Every man is the center of a circle, whose fatal circumference he can not pass.
    • Eulogy on Benjamin Hill, United States Senate, Jan. 23, 1882.


  • Ad astra per aspera.
  • Translated: "to the stars through difficulties".
    • State motto of Kansas, reported to have been devised by Ingalls.

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