James Sidney Rollins was born in Richmond, Kentucky, on April 19, 1812, to Anthony Wayne and Sallie Harris Rodes Rollins. He married Mary E. Hickman on June 6, 1837, and they had eleven children. Rollins studied at Washington College in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Indiana in 1830 and from the law department at Transylvania University in Kentucky in 1834. In 1832 he served in the Black Hawk War and received the title of major.
Rollins practiced law in Columbia, Missouri, and became involved in Whig Party
The Whigs were an American political party that existed from the mid-1830s to the mid-1850s. Because it was formed as a protest against the amount of power claimed by President Andrew Jackson, the Whig Party borrowed its name from a British political party protesting the amount of power claimed by the king of Britain. The Whigs were made up of several different groups in the North, South, and West, and were mostly united by their dislike of Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party. As such, they were often divided on many issues. Although they disagreed about the morality of slavery, most Whigs agreed that slavery should be limited, and several opposed allowing slavery in new territories or letting slave regions like Texas join the United States. Many Whigs were in favor of a stronger national government (though not a stronger presidency) and wanted to raise taxes on foreign goods being sold in America so that the money could be used to build national improvements like roads, canals, and railroad lines. The Whig Party fell apart in the 1850s over disagreements on several issues, such as opposition to immigration, and about whether or not slavery should be abolished. Many former Whigs went on to support the Republican Party.
politics. He was elected to the state legislature in 1838, 1840, 1846, and 1854, and devoted his efforts to the establishment of the University of Missouri in Boone County. He also worked for railroad construction and river improvement and opposed extension of slavery to the territories. In 1848 and 1857 he was the unsuccessful Whig candidate for governor.
From 1860 to 1864, Rollins served two terms in the U.S. Congress. He was a strong unionist, introduced railroad and telegraph construction legislation, supported land grants for agricultural colleges, and advocated the Thirteenth amendment, the abolition
The goal of the American abolition movement was to end the system of slavery that existed in the United States from its early colonization until the Civil War era. From the late 1770s to the early 1800s, several northern states abolished slavery by passing antislavery laws that called for slaves in those states to be gradually emancipated (freed) over a period of time. From the 1830s onward, the abolition movement grew quickly and began to call for the immediate emancipation of all slaves in America. In the 1850s, tension between people with proslavery views and those favoring abolition dominated American politics. The fight over abolition was one of the main issues leading to the Civil War. Abolition was formally adopted in Missouri in January of 1865. Later that year, slavery was ended in America with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
of slavery. In 1866 and 1868 he was again elected to the state legislature and worked to establish an agricultural and mechanical college at the university. In 1872 he lost the Democratic nomination for governor and retired from political life.
Rollins was president of the board of curators of the University of Missouri for nearly twenty-five years until his retirement in 1886. He played a vital role in the founding, location, growth, and development of the university and its agricultural college.
As a businessman, Rollins was involved in agriculture, real estate, and improving railroad and river transportation. He helped establish the North Missouri Railroad Company and was involved in numerous other railroad ventures.
Rollins died in Columbia, Missouri, on January 9, 1888, at the age of seventy-five.