- Category : 1818-births
- Type : GP
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Incarnation 2
American lawyer and politician who represented Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives and later served as the 33rd Governor of Massachusetts. In 1868, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Butler had a prominent role in the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. As Chairman of the House Committee on Reconstruction, Butler authored the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant, that gave federal authority to prosecute and destroy the Klan in the South. Butler authored, along with Sen. Charles Sumner, the Civil Rights Act of 1875, signed into law by President Grant. This law, a final act of Reconstruction, gave African American US citizens the right to public accommodation such as hotels, restaurants, lodging, and public entertainment establishments.
During the American Civil War, he served as a major general in the Union Army. His policies regarding slaves as contraband so they could be treated as free men, his administration of occupied New Orleans, his ineffectual leadership in the Bermuda Hundred Campaign, and the fiasco of Fort Fisher rank him as one of the most controversial political generals of the war. Butler was the first Eastern Union General to declare runaway Virginia slaves "contraband of war"; refusing to return them to their masters. He was widely reviled for years after the war by Southern whites, who gave him the nickname "Beast Butler." Although considered a hostile Union Army general while commanding New Orleans, Butler, through his Christian charity, made efforts to care for the poor and needy, giving $1,000 of his personal money to purchase food for those who were starving. As all business activity was shut down, Butler gave railroad and steam loading permits to operators, relieving the city of starvation. Butler received permission from the city to employ the poor to clean up the streets and under the supervision of Col. T.B. Thorpe, a million dollars of land was added to the state from the Mississippi River deposits. At the request of Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, Butler was relieved of duty on January 8, 1865 having failed to capture Fort Fisher.
Butler died on January 11, 1893, aged 74, in Washington, D.C.