Iowa History Daily: On January 2, 1812, Augustus Caesar (AC) Dodge was born. One of Iowa’s first Senators, a key participant in one of the region’s most significant military campaigns against Indigenous residents, and the delegate to introduce the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Dodge’s legacy stands as a representation of the times he lived in.
Born the son of Colonel of the Michigan Militia, eventual Territorial Governor of Wisconsin, and namesake of Fort Dodge, Iowa, Henry Dodge, AC Dodge grew up on the Mississippi River frontier on Iowa’s eastern border. The nineteen year old Dodge enlisted as a lieutenant to serve with his father when the Sauk leader Mahkatêwe-meshi-kêhkêhkwa (Black Hawk) crossed the Mississippi River to incite the conflict commonly called the Black Hawk War.
Following the conflict, Dodge moved to Burlington to accept a position as the Register of the US Land Office for the newly created Iowa Territory where he oversaw the first land purchases in the ‘Black Hawk Purchase.’ In 1939, the people of Iowa elected him to serve as territorial delegate to the US Congress, a position he held for the duration of Iowa’s territorial era.
After gridlock in the Iowa General Assembly prevented the group from successfully selecting US Senators from the newly created state in 1846 and 1847, the General Assembly tapped Dodge (as well as George W. Jones) to serve as the first senator from Iowa. Eventually ousted from the Senate by the General Assembly’s selection of Free-Soil candidate James Harlan in 1854, after the state moved away from the popular sovereignty positions favored by Dodge in his introduction of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
Leaving Congress, President Franklin Pierce appointed AC Dodge as Minister to Spain, a position he held from 1855 to 1859. In 1859 he ran for Governor of Iowa, but Samuel J. Kirkwood carried the election. In 1980, the Augustus Caesar Dodge house in Burlington found listing on the National Register of Historic Places. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar