Thomas Morris
United States Senator
from Ohio
In office
March 4, 1833 – March 3, 1839
Preceded byBenjamin Ruggles
Succeeded byBenjamin Tappan
Personal details
Born(1776-01-03)January 3, 1776
Berks County, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedDecember 7, 1844(1844-12-07) (aged 68)
Bethel, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican (Before 1825)
Jacksonian (1825–1838)
Democratic (1838–1844)
Liberty (1844)

Thomas Morris (January 3, 1776 – December 7, 1844) was an American politician from Ohio who served in the United States Senate and was a member of the Democratic Party. In the 1844 presidential election, he was the vice presidential nominee of the anti-slavery Liberty Party.


Morris was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and enlisted as a Ranger to fight the Indians in 1793. He settled in western Ohio two years later. Morris began practicing law in Bethel, Ohio in 1804.


On May 12, 1806, shortly after the beginning of the 1806–1807 term of the Ohio House of Representatives, Morris contested the election of David C. Bryan and was awarded the seat from Clermont County.[1]

Morris served in the Ohio State House of Representatives for Clermont County from 1806–1807, 1808–1809, 1810–1811, and 1820–1821.[2]) He served as Justice of the Ohio State Supreme Court in 1809.[3] He was then a member of the Ohio State Senate for Clermont County from 1813–1815, 1821–1823, 1825–1829 and 1831–1833.

He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1833, and served a single term.[4] He did not seek re-election. He was nominated to the Vice Presidency by the Liberty Party in 1844 under James G. Birney. The ticket came in third after Democratic candidate James Knox Polk and Whig Party candidate Henry Clay.

Family life

Morris was the father of Isaac Newton Morris and Jonathan David Morris.[5]


He died December 7, 1844 and is interred in Early Settlers Burial Ground, Bethel, Clermont County, Ohio USA.[6] [7]


Author and prominent American Civil War historian Eric Foner argues in his seminal book Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men that Sen. Morris is one of the most significant figures in the anti-slavery movement and the "first political martyr of the anti-slavery cause when he was denied re-election to the Senate because of his abolitionist convictions".[8] He also argues that Morris "awakened (Salmon Chase) to the character of the Slave Power and to the need for political organization to combat its influences" leading the way for the term Slave Power to enter the American political jargon and paved the way for the creation of the Republican Party.[8]


Further reading


  1. ^ Taylor, William A. (1899). Ohio Statesmen and Annals of Progress, from the Year 1788 to the Year 1900. Columbus, Ohio: Westbote. pp. v. 1, p. 50.
  2. ^ Gilkey, Elliot Howard (1901). The Ohio Hundred Year Book. Columbus, Ohio: Fred J. Heer. pp. 186–192.
  3. ^ "Thomas Morris". Find A Grave. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  4. ^ "Sen. Thomas Morris". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  5. ^ "Tolleson, Arizona". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  6. ^ "Thomas Morris". Find A Grave. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  7. ^ Western Citizen (Chicago), Dec. 26, 1844
  8. ^ a b Foner, Eric; Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana (Mississippi State University. Libraries) (1970). Free soil, free labor, free men: the ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195013528. OCLC 67628.
  9. ^ The Life of Thomas Morris
Ohio House of Representatives Preceded byDavid Bryan Member of the Ohio House of Representativesfrom Clermont County 1806–1807 Succeeded byJohn Pollock Preceded byJohn Pollock Member of the Ohio House of Representativesfrom Clermont County 1808–1809 Served alongside: William Fee Succeeded byAmos EllisJohn Pollock Preceded byAmos EllisJohn Pollock Member of the Ohio House of Representativesfrom Clermont County 1810–1811 Served alongside: John Pollock Succeeded byJohn Pollock Preceded byAlexander CampbellDavid Morris Member of the Ohio House of Representativesfrom Clermont County 1820–1821 Succeeded byGideon Minor Ohio Senate Preceded byLevi Rodgers Member of the Ohio Senatefrom Clermont County 1813–1815 Succeeded byJohn Bogges Preceded byJohn Pollock Member of the Ohio Senatefrom Clermont County 1821–1823 Succeeded byOwen T. Fishback Preceded byOwen T. Fishback Member of the Ohio Senatefrom Clermont County 1825–1829 Succeeded byWilliam Wayland Preceded byWilliam Wayland Member of the Ohio Senatefrom Clermont County 1831–1833 Succeeded byWilliam Doan U.S. Senate Preceded byBenjamin Ruggles U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Ohio 1833–1839 Served alongside: Thomas Ewing, William Allen Succeeded byBenjamin Tappan Party political offices Preceded byThomas Earle Liberty nominee for Vice President of the United States 1844 Succeeded byLeicester KingWithdrew