Green Clay Smith was a broadly experienced political figure. Born at Richmond, Kentucky on 4 July 1826, he was elected to the Kentucky legislature and to Congress, was appointed Territorial Governor of Montana, and was a major general in the Union Army during the Civil War. He graduated from Transylvania University, became a lawyer, served in the Mexican War, and toward the end of his life became a Baptist minister.
Smith belonged to the Unionist Party before the Civil War. While Territorial Governor of Montana, he was noted for seeking peace between the European settlers and the Indian tribes. He became active in temperance work after entering the ministry. He served several congregations in Kentucky, then was called to pastor the Metropolitan Baptist (now Capitol Hill Baptist) Church in Washington, DC. He died in Washington on 29 June 1895. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, the only Prohibition presidential candidate to be so honored.
Green was tapped by the Prohibition Party to be its presidential candidate in 1876.