|Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus|
March 4, 1885 – May 3, 1890
|Preceded by||George H. Pendleton|
|Succeeded by||Arthur Pue Gorman|
|United States Senator|
March 4, 1877 – May 3, 1890
|Preceded by||John W. Stevenson|
|Succeeded by||John G. Carlisle|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Kentucky's 7th district
March 4, 1867 – March 4, 1875
|Preceded by||George S. Shanklin|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Blackburn|
James Burnie Beck
February 13, 1822
Dumfriesshire, Scotland, UK
|Died||May 3, 1890 (aged 68)|
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Education||Transylvania University (BA)|
Born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, Beck immigrated to the United States in 1838 and settled in Wyoming County, New York. He moved to Lexington, Kentucky in 1843 and graduated from Transylvania University in 1846. Beck was admitted to the bar and commenced the practice of law in Lexington. Until shortly before the Civil War, he was law partner of John C. Breckinridge, the U.S. Vice President who became a Confederate general; during the Civil War, Beck was interrogated by a military commission about his knowledge of his former partner's activities.
After the war Beck was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives serving Kentucky's district 7. He was appointed to the Committee on Reconstruction where it was expected that as a newcomer and an immigrant he would be no obstacle to Republican intentions, but he immediately became a tenacious advocate of the rights of the defeated states. He was elected to the Fortieth and to the three succeeding Congresses, serving in all from March 4, 1867 to March 3, 1875.
In 1876, Beck was appointed a member of the commission to define the boundary line between Maryland and Virginia. He was then elected to the United States Senate in 1876, being reelected twice and serving in all from March 4, 1877, until his death in Washington, D.C., on May 3, 1890. While in the Senate, Beck was the Democratic Conference Chairman from 1885 to 1890, and the chairman of the Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard. He was prominent in the discussion of tariff and currency questions.
- List of United States Senators born outside the United States
- List of United States Congress members who died in office (1790–1899)
This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (July 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- United States Congress. "James B. Beck (id: B000289)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- U.S. Congress. Memorial Addresses for James Beck. 51st Cong., 2nd sess. from 1890 to 1891. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1891.
- Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). . New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
- Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
George S. Shanklin
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 7th congressional district
John W. Stevenson
| U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Kentucky
Served alongside: Thomas C. McCreery, John Williams, Joseph Blackburn
John G. Carlisle
| Chair of the Senate Seaboard Transportation Routes Committee
|Party political offices|
George H. Pendleton
| Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus
Arthur Pue Gorman