Blaine was born in West Brownsville, Pennsylvania in 1830. At age 13, Blaine enrolled in Washington & Jefferson College and graduated in 1847 near the top of his class. In 1848 he was hired as a professor of mathematics at Western Military Institute in Georgetown, Kentucky. In 1853 he became co-owner of the Kennebec Journal in which he frequently wrote in support of the Republican Party. In 1858 he ran for a successfully became a member of the Maine House of Representatives. In 1863 he was elected to the House of Representatives and was made Speaker in 1868 after the original speaker became Vice President. In 1874 Blaine was no longer Speaker of the House do to a Democrat majority, but he was elected to the Senate in 1876. He also became the leading voice for the Half-Breeds and frequently clashed with Roscoe Conkling's Stalwart faction. In the 1880 Republican convention the fighting between the two factions ended in a compromise of nominating James Garfield, a Half-Breed, for President and Chester Arthur, a Stalwart, for Vice President. After Arthur became President do to Garfield's assasination and the Civil Service was reformed ending the Stalwart's power, Blaine became Secretary of State. He used this position to promote free trade and establish commercial treaties. He was nominated for President in 1884, but lost to Grover Cleveland. He was reappointed Secretary of State by Benjamin Harrison but resigned in 1892 do to bad health. He died one year later.