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Aaron A. Sargent

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Title: Aaron A. Sargent  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: United States congressional delegations from California, Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, William M. Gwin, John B. Weller, George Clement Perkins
Collection: 1827 Births, 1887 Deaths, 19Th-Century American Diplomats, 19Th-Century American Journalists, 19Th-Century American Newspaper Publishers (People), 19Th-Century Journalists, Ambassadors of the United States to Germany, Ambassadors of the United States to Russia, American Male Journalists, American People in Rail Transportation, American Suffragists, California Republicans, California State Senators, District Attorneys, Lawyers from San Francisco, California, Members of the United States House of Representatives from California, People from Nevada City, California, People from Nevada County, California, People from Newburyport, Massachusetts, People of California in the American Civil War, Politicians from Newburyport, Massachusetts, Politicians from San Francisco, California, Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Republican Party United States Senators, United States Senators from California
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Aaron A. Sargent

Aaron Augustus Sargent
United States Senator
from California
In office
March 4, 1873 – March 4, 1879
Preceded by Cornelius Cole
Succeeded by James T. Farley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1869 – March 3, 1873
Preceded by William Higby
Succeeded by Horace F. Page
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1861 – March 3, 1863
Preceded by Charles L. Scott
Succeeded by William Higby
Personal details
Born (1827-09-28)September 28, 1827
Newburyport, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died August 14, 1887(1887-08-14) (aged 59)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Profession Politician, Lawyer

Aaron Augustus Sargent (September 28, 1827 – August 14, 1887) was an American journalist, lawyer, politician and diplomat. He was sometimes called the "Senator for the Southern Pacific Railroad".


Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, he attended the common schools and then was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker. In his youth he worked as a printer in Philadelphia and then, in 1847, moved to Washington, D.C., where he was a secretary to a Congressman.

He moved to California in 1849 and settled in Nevada City in 1850. There he was on the staff of the Nevada Daily Journal, eventually becoming that newspaper's owner. He was admitted to the California bar in 1854 and began practicing in Nevada City, becoming district attorney for Nevada County in 1856. He was served in the California Senate in 1856.

Sargent was elected as a Republican to the 37th Congress; skipped several terms and was reelected to the 41st and 42nd Congresses. In 1861 he was the author of the first Pacific Railroad Act that was passed in Congress.

He was elected to the United States Senate and served 1873 to 1879. During his time in the Senate he was chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Mines and Mining during the 44th Congress and chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Naval Affairs during the 45th Congress.

In January 1878, Senator Sargent introduced the 29 words that would later become the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, allowing women the right to vote. Sargent’s wife, Ellen Clark Sargent, was a leading voting rights advocate, and a friend of such suffrage leaders as Susan B. Anthony. The bill calling for the amendment would be introduced unsuccessfully each year for the next forty years. Sargent returned to California in 1880.

After leaving the Senate he practiced law in San Francisco for three years, leaving to become United States Ambassador to Germany for two years, and held office until the action of the German authorities in excluding American pork from the empire made his incumbency personally distasteful. He turned down the appointment of Ambassador to Russia after William H. Hunt's death and made an unsuccessful attempt for the Republican nomination for the Senate in 1885.

He died in San Francisco in 1887.[1] He was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Nevada City, California.[2]

Sargent was a noted proponent of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, arguing in Overland Monthly in support of exclusion and for the renewal of the 1882 Exclusion Act after its expiration in 1892. The Chinese Exclusion Act was eventually renewed in 1892, and again - indefinitely - in 1902, staying in effect until 1943.


  1. ^ "Ex-Senator Sargent".  
  2. ^ lists Sargent as being buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, California

Sargent, A. (1885, The Wyoming anti-Chinese riot. Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine (1868–1935), OL. VI., 507-507. Retrieved from

Sargent, A. (1886, "The wyoming anti-chinese riot."—again. Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine (1868–1935), OL. VII., 54-54. Retrieved from

Shepard, Christopher. "No Chinese Wanted: Aaron Sargent and Chinese Immigration, 1862-1886." Journal of the West. 51 no. 1 (Winter 2013): 50-57.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles L. Scott
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
William Higby
Preceded by
William Higby
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Horace F. Page
United States Senate
Preceded by
Cornelius Cole
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from California
Served alongside: Eugene Casserly, John S. Hager and Newton Booth
Succeeded by
James T. Farley
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Andrew D. White
United States Ambassador to Germany
Succeeded by
John A. Kasson
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