Judah P. Benjamin (1811-84) was a prominent American lawyer and politician who held three different positions in the Confederate cabinet during the American Civil War (1861-65). The British West Indies-born Benjamin served in the U.S. Senate prior to the war and was twice offered a Supreme Court seat, which he refused both times. In 1861-62, Benjamin served as the Confederate attorney general, then secretary of war, before ultimately assuming the post of secretary of state, which he would hold until the end of the war. After the collapse of the Confederacy, Benjamin fled to Europe, where lived the rest of his life in exile.
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During his first year in the U.S. Senate, Judah P. Benjamin challenged fellow Senator-and future Confederate President-Jefferson Davis to a duel over a perceived insult. After Davis apologized, the two reconciled and became close friends.
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