Date of Award

Spring 1964

Document Type




First Advisor

Thomas Clinch


The purpose of this thesis is two-fold: first, to relate an account of political life in the Montana territory- under the administration of James M. Ashley, and; secondly, to point out how the conflicts of the Radical Republicans and Democrats in the Montana territory reflected the conflicts of the two groups in our national government. Most of what, is written about James M. Ashley is heavily biased either for or against him, I have attempted, as objectively as possible, to present the life of James M. Ashley and his tenure in Montana politics.

James M. Ashley, the man who named the territory of Montana, the man who made the motion for the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, and the man who proposed the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States was born near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on November 24, 1822. "He was the son of John Clinton Ashley and Mary Ann (Kirkpatrick) Ashley, and was the grandson of Rev. Benjamim Ashley, a Baptist minister of Norfolk, Virginia, It is supposed that the family was descended from Captain John Ashley of London, England, one of the signers of the Second Virginia Charter, whose descendants came to Virginia in 1635." 2 Both his father and his grandfather were itinerant ministers of the church founded by Alexander Campbell.