Charles Drake was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 11th April, 1811. He attended St. Joseph's College, Kentucky (1823-24) and Patridge's Military Academy (1824-25) before serving as a midshipman in the United States Navy (1825-29).
Drake studied law and was admitted to the bar in Cincinnati in 1833 and worked as a lawyer in St. Louis. A member of the Republican Party, he served in the State's House of Representatives (1859-1860) before being elected to the Senate in 1866.
A strong opponent of slavery Drake became one of the leaders of the Radical Republicans in Congress. A supporter of universal suffrage he opposed the policies of President Andrew Johnson and voted for his impeachment in 1868.
Drake resigned from the Senate and took up the post of chief justice of the Court of Claims (1870-1885). Charles Drake retired to Washington where he died on 1st April, 1892.
We are loyal Union men without any qualifications or conditions, and are not afraid to declare that we are, Radicals. That is, we are for going to the root of the infamous rebellion which has distracted our land for more than two years, and are for destroying that as well as the rebellion. The root is the institution of Slavery. From it the rebellion sprung, by it has been sustained, in it lives, and with it will die. And until that root is pulled up and destroyed, there is no hope of permanent peace in our country. Therefore I am for pulling it up, every fiber of it.