Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Ebenezer R. Hoar (1869–1870): Attorney General

Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar was born in 1816 in Concord, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1835, received a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1939, and pursued politics, first as a Whig, then as a member of the abolitionist Free Soil Party, and finally as a Republican.

From 1849 to 1855, Hoar served as judge of common pleas in Massachusetts, and from 1859 to 1869, as associate justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Court. He then became the first of President Ulysses S. Grant’s five attorney generals. During his time in office, Hoar witnessed the transition of the Office of Attorney General to the Department of Justice.

In 1869, President Grant nominated Hoar to a seat on the United States Supreme Court, but the Senate did not confirm him. As a result, Hoar resigned from Grant’s cabinet in 1870, though he continued to serve the President as a member of a special commission. Hoar won election to the House of Representatives in 1872 but failed in a second bid in 1876. He then retired from politics and resumed his law practice. Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar died in 1895.