Judah P. Benjamin

Benjamin, Judah Philip (1811–1884), a United States and Confederate political leader. He is noted as the only Jew in the Confederate cabinet, and as one of its ablest leaders. Benjamin was born a British subject in the West Indies, and was taken to North Carolina as a child. He became a prominent New Orleans lawyer. He was elected to the U.S. Senate from Louisiana as a Whig in 1852. His extreme pro-Southern views led him to become a Democrat, and he was reelected as such in 1858.

In 1861 Benjamin became the Confederacy's first attorney general, and later its secretary of war. From 1862 to 1865 he was secretary of state. He worked for European recognition of the Confederacy. He also urged the South to free those slaves that were willing to fight in the Confederate army. After the war he fled to London, where he practiced law for many years.