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James Weaver
James Weaver - Brady-Handy.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1885 – March 4, 1889
Preceded by John C. Cook
Succeeded by John F. Lacey
In office
March 4, 1879 – March 3, 1881
Preceded by Ezekiel S. Sampson
Succeeded by Marsena E. Cutts
Personal details
Born
James Baird Weaver

(1833-06-12)June 12, 1833
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Died February 6, 1912(1912-02-06) (aged 78)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Political party Republican (until 1876)
Greenback (1877–1889)
Populist (1890–1908)
Democratic (1908–1912)
Spouse(s) Clarrisa Vinson
Education University of Cincinnati (LLB)
Signature
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service Union Army
Years of service 1861–1864
Rank Army-USA-OF-06.svg Brevet Brigadier general
Union Army colonel rank insignia.png Colonel
Commands 2nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Battles/wars American Civil War

James Baird Weaver (June 12, 1833 – February 6, 1912) was a member of the United States House of Representatives and two-time candidate for President of the United States. Born in Ohio, he moved to Iowa as a boy when his family claimed a homestead on the frontier. He became politically active as a young man and was an advocate for farmers and laborers. He joined and quit several political parties in the furtherance of the progressive causes in which he believed. After serving in the Union Army in the American Civil War, Weaver returned to Iowa and worked for the election of Republican candidates. After several unsuccessful attempts at Republican nominations to various offices, and growing dissatisfied with the conservative wing of the party, in 1877 Weaver switched to the Greenback Party, which supported increasing the money supply and regulating big business. As a Greenbacker with Democratic support, Weaver won election to the House in 1878.

The Greenbackers nominated Weaver for president in 1880, but he received only 3.3 percent of the popular vote. After several more attempts at elected office, he was again elected to the House in 1884 and 1886. In Congress, he worked for expansion of the money supply and for the opening of Indian Territory to white settlement. As the Greenback Party fell apart, a new anti-big business third party, the People's Party ("Populists"), arose. Weaver helped to organize the party and was their nominee for president in 1892. This time he was more successful and gained 8.5 percent of the popular vote and won five states, but still fell far short of victory. The Populists merged with the Democrats by the end of the 19th century, and Weaver went with them, promoting the candidacy of William Jennings Bryan for president in 1896, 1900, and 1908. After serving as mayor of his home town, Colfax, Iowa, Weaver retired from his pursuit of elective office. He died in Iowa in 1912. Most of Weaver's political goals remained unfulfilled at his death, but many came to pass in the following decades.

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