Born: 1785-03-11 Morris County, New Jersey
Died: 1861-04-04 Cincinnati, Ohio
John McLean moved with his family to Virginia in 1789, to Kentucky in 1790, and to Ohio in 1796, where he worked on his family’s farm until the age of sixteen. With only two years of education, McLean studied law and gained admission to the bar in 1807. That same year, he married Rebecca Edwards, with whom he would have seven children. McLean moved his family to Lebanon, Ohio, where he published the
Although appointed by Jackson, Justice McLean favored the Whig Party and later identified with that portion of the Republican Party dominated by former Whigs. McLean wrote a number of anti-slavery opinions as justice, and he wrote a dissenting opinion in Dred Scott v. Sanford. Although politically active and frequently considered as a presidential candidate, McLean remained on the Supreme Court until his death in 1861.
Richard L. Aynes, "McLean, John," American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 15:142-43; Kermit Hall, ed., The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 541-42. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.