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Oliver Morton was born in Wayne County, Indiana, on 4th August, 1823. After a brief schooling he worked as a hatter until attending Wayne County Seminary. After a period at Miami University, Morton studied law at Oxford, Ohio. Admitted to the bar in 1847 he worked in Centerville before being elected judge of the sixth judicial circuit of Indiana in 1852.
A member of the Republican Party, Morton failed in his bid to become governor of Indiana. Elected as lieutenant governor in 1860 he served until becoming governor the following year.
In 1867 Morton was elected to the Senate where he was closely associated with the group known as the Radical Republicans. Morton disapproved of President Andrew Johnson and voted for his impeachment in 1868.
Oliver Morton, who was chairman of the Committee of Manufactures (1869-71), the Committee on Agriculture (1871-73), and the Committee on Privileges and Elections (1873-1877), remained in Congress until his death Indianapolis, Indiana, on 1st November, 1877.