A Reference Resource
Benjamin F. Butler (1837–1838): Attorney General
Benjamin Butler was born on December 17, 1795, in Kinderhook Landing, New York. A descendant of Oliver Cromwell, Butler attended Hudson Academy, studied law, and was admitted to the New York bar 1817. He practiced law with Martin Van Buren and served as district attorney in Albany from 1821 to 1824; Butler would also serve on the commission for revision of New York state statutes (1825).
In 1826, he was elected to New York Assembly, where he served from 1827 to 1833. Butler refused appointment to the New York Supreme Court but would serve as U.S. attorney general in the administrations of Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren (1833-1838). He was appointed interim secretary of war by Jackson (October 1836-March 1837), leaving the cabinet to become U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (1838-1841, 1845-1848). Benjamin Butler died in Paris, France, on November 8, 1858.