Jodah Peter Benjamin, an American lawyer and senator, born in Santo Domingo in 1812, of Jewish parents, who emigrated to Savannah in 1816. He entered Yale college in 1825, but left without graduating. In 1831 he went to New Orleans, studied law, supporting himself by teaching, was admitted to the bar in 1834, and rose rapidly to a high position in the profession, He also became prominent as a politician, attaching himself to the whig party. In 1852 he was chosen to the senate of the United States, where he soon allied himself with the democratic party, in consequence of the action of the two parties on the slavery question. 'In 1859 he was reelected to the senate, his colleague being John Slidell. On Dec. 31, 1860, in a speech in the senate, he avowed his adhesion to the southern cause; and on Feb. 4 he withdrew from the senate, and was at once appointed attorney general in the provisional government of the southern confederacy. In August he was appointed acting secretary of war, but resigned in February, 1862, on account of having been censured by a congressional committee. He however stood high in the confidence of Jefferson Davis, and was appointed secretary of state, which position he held until the downfall of the confederacy.
He then took up his residence in London, where he entered successfully into the practice of the legal profession, and in 1866 published "A Treatise on the Law of Sale of Personal Property."