Lorenzo Brentano

Lorenzo Brentano (November 4, 1813 – September 18, 1891) was a German American revolutionary, journalist, and later a U.S. Representative from Illinois.

Lorenzo Brentano
Brentano in 1878
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1877  March 3, 1879
Preceded byJohn V. Le Moyne
Succeeded byHiram Barber, Jr.
President of the Free State of Baden
In office
Preceded byoffice created
Succeeded byLudwik Mierosławski
Personal details
Born(1813-11-04)November 4, 1813
Mannheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany
DiedSeptember 18, 1891(1891-09-18) (aged 77)
Chicago, Illinois
Political partyRepublican


Born as Lorenz Peter Carl Brentano in Mannheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany, Brentano received a thorough classical training and studied jurisprudence at the Universities of Heidelberg and Freiburg. He practiced before the supreme court of Baden.

Brentano was elected to the Chamber of Deputies and in 1848 to the Frankfurt Parliament. He served as president of the provisional republic of Baden established by the revolutionists in 1849. He was sentenced to imprisonment for life after the failure of the revolution, but sought refuge in the United States via Switzerland.

He established Der Leuchtturm, a German anti-slavery journal, in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. He settled in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, and engaged in agricultural pursuits. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1859. He was admitted to the bar in 1859 and commenced practice in Chicago. He became editor-in-chief and principal proprietor of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung from 1862 to 1867. The paper was sold in 1867, and Hermann Raster took over Brentano's position as editor. He served as member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1862, as a member of the Chicago Board of Education 1862-1868, and as a delegate to the 1864 Republican National Convention. In 1868 he was presidential elector on the Grant and Colfax ticket.[1]

In 1869, a general amnesty having been granted to the revolutionists of 1849, he revisited his native land. He was appointed United States consul at Dresden in 1872 and served until April 1876.[1] Brentano's son Theodore would become the first American ambassador to Hungary.

Brentano was elected as a Republican to the Forty-fifth Congress (March 4, 1877 – March 3, 1879). He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1878. After leaving Congress, he engaged in literary and historical research designed to compare and contrast the American and European codes of criminal procedure. In this line of work he published a report of the trial of the assassin of President Garfield, and a history of the celebrated case of Kring v. Missouri (see List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 107).[1] He died in Chicago, and was interred in Graceland Cemetery.



  • United States Congress. "Lorenzo Brentano (id: B000804)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  •  Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). "Brentano, Lorenzo" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  • Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Brentano, Lorenz" . New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
  •  This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John V. Le Moyne
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Hiram Barber, Jr.
Preceded by
George Schneider
Editor in Chief of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung
Succeeded by
Hermann Raster
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