April 30, 2021

Of One Blood All Nations

John Bingham: Ohio Congressman’s Diplomatic Career in Meiji Japan
Piscataqua Press, 2020
By Sam Kidder’70

Sam Kidder brings a wealth of experience in Japan to bear on exploring the lesser-known role of Ohio Congressman John Bingham. Best known as the father of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees fundamental rights to all Americans, including those who were formerly enslaved, Bingham was also a key figure in forming the foundational, bilateral ties between the United States and Japan. Though his service occurred from 1873-1885, Bingham remains the longest-serving U.S. chief diplomat in Japan.

Kidder’s detailed account of Bingham’s foreign service will be of interest to anyone wanting to know more about early diplomatic and cultural relations between the United States and Japan.

After graduating from Beloit, Kidder served as a Korean linguist in the U.S. Army, then earned his master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard. As a foreign service officer, he had posts in Seoul, Tokyo, and New Delhi, and later served as executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan for eight years.

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