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Augustus N. Martin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Augustus Newton Martin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 11th district
In office
March 4, 1889 – March 3, 1895
Preceded byGeorge Washington Steele
Succeeded byGeorge Washington Steele
Personal details
Born(1847-03-23)March 23, 1847
Whitestown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedJuly 11, 1901(1901-07-11) (aged 54)
Soldiers' Home Hospital, Marion, Indiana, U.S.
Resting placeFairview Cemetery, Bluffton, Indiana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic

Augustus Newton Martin (March 23, 1847 – July 11, 1901) was a U.S. Representative from Indiana.

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His reign marked the beginning of one of history’s greatest empires and the end of one of its first republics. Was Rome’s first emperor a visionary leader who guaranteed his civilization’s place in history or a tyrant who destroyed its core values? Find out in History versus Augustus. Order, order. The defendant today is Gaius Octavius? Gaius Julius Caesar/Augustus... Do we have the wrong guy? No, your Honor. Gaius Octavius, born in 63 BCE, was the grand-nephew of Julius Caesar. He became Gaius Julius Caesar upon being named his great-uncle’s adoptive son and heir. And he gained the title Augustus in 27 BCE when the Senate granted him additional honors. You mean when he established sole authority and became emperor of Rome. Is that bad? Didn’t every place have some king or emperor back then? Actually, your Honor, the Roman people had overthrown their kings centuries before to establish a republic, a government meant to serve the people, not the privilege of a ruling family. And it was Octavius who destroyed this tradition. Octavius was a model public servant. At 16, he was elected to the College of Pontiffs that supervised religious worship. He fought for Rome in Hispania alongside his great-uncle Caesar and took up the responsibility of avenging Caesar’s death when the corrupt oligarchs in the Senate betrayed and murdered him. Caesar had been a power-hungry tyrant who tried to make himself a king while consorting with his Egyptian queen Cleopatra. After his death, Octavius joined his general Mark Antony in starting a civil war that tore Rome apart, then stabbed his ally in the back to increase his own power. Antony was a fool. He waged a disastrous campaign in Parthia and plotted to turn Roman territories into personal kingdoms for himself and Cleopatra. Isn’t that what Caesar had been accused of? Well... So Octavius destroyed Antony for trying to become a king and then became one himself? That’s right. You can see the megalomania even in his adopted title – "The Illustrious One." That was a religious honorific. And Augustus didn’t seek power for his own sake. As winner of the civil war and commander of the most troops, it was his duty to restore law and order to Rome so that other factions didn’t continue fighting. He didn’t restore the law - he made it subordinate to him! Not true. Augustus worked to restore the Senate’s prestige, improved food security for the lower classes, and relinquished control of the army when he resigned his consul post. Mere optics. He used his military influence and personal wealth to stack the Senate in his favor, while retaining the powers of a tribune and the right to celebrate military triumphs. He kept control of provinces with the most legions. And if that wasn’t enough, he assumed the consul position twice more to promote his grandchildren. He was clearly trying to establish a dynasty. But what did he do with all that power? Glad you asked, your Honor. Augustus’s accomplishments were almost too many to name. He established consistent taxation for all provinces, ending private exploitation by local tax officials. He personally financed a network of roads and employed couriers so news and troops could travel easily throughout the realm. And it was under Augustus that many of Rome’s famous public buildings were constructed. The writers of the time were nearly unanimous in praising his rule. Did the writers have any other choice? Augustus exiled plenty of people on vague charges, including Ovid, one of Rome’s greatest poets. And you forgot to mention the intrusive laws regarding citizens’ personal lives – punishing adultery, restricting marriage between social classes, even penalties for remaining unmarried. He was trying to improve the citizenry and instill discipline. And he succeeded. His legacy speaks for itself: 40 years of internal stability, a professional army that expanded Rome’s frontiers in all directions, and a government still remembered as a model of civic virtue. His legacy was an empire that would go on to wage endless conquest until it collapsed, and a tradition of military autocracy. Any time a dictator in a general’s uniform commits atrocities while claiming to act on behalf of "the people," we have Augustus Caesar to thank. So you’re saying Augustus was a good emperor, and you’re saying there’s no such thing? We’re used to celebrating historical leaders for their achievements and victories. But to ask whether an individual should have such power in the first place is to put history itself on trial.


Born near Whitestown, Pennsylvania, Martin attended the common schools and Witherspoon Institute, Butler, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Eastman College, Poughkeepsie, New York, in February 1867. On July 3, 1863, he enlisted in Company I, Fifty-eighth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia. He enlisted again, on February 22, 1865, in Company E, Seventy-eighth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and served until discharged for disability August 30, 1865.

After his service in the Civil War, Martin taught school. He studied law in Bluffton, Indiana, in 1869. He was admitted to the bar in 1870 and practiced. He served as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives in 1875.

Martin was elected reporter of the Supreme Court of Indiana in 1876 and served four years. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1880. He resided in Austin, Texas from 1881 to 1883, and returned to Bluffton in 1883.

Martin was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-first, Fifty-second, and Fifty-third Congresses (March 4, 1889 – March 3, 1895).

He served as chairman of the Committee on Invalid Pensions (Fifty-second and Fifty-third Congresses). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Fifty-fourth Congress. He engaged in the practice of law in Bluffton until his death at the Soldiers' Home Hospital, Marion, Indiana on July 11, 1901. He was interred in Fairview Cemetery in Bluffton.


  • United States Congress. "Augustus N. Martin (id: M000167)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George W. Steele
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 11th congressional district

Succeeded by
George W. Steele
This page was last edited on 16 May 2019, at 08:11
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