By John Niven
Salmon P. Chase used to be one of many preeminent males of 19th-century the USA. an imposing determine, tall and stately, Chase used to be a pace-setter within the struggle to finish slavery, an excellent administrator who as Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury supplied the most important investment for a significantly dear conflict, the manager Justice of the preferrred court docket throughout the turmoil of Reconstruction, and the presiding officer of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson. but he used to be additionally a fancy determine. As John Niven finds during this magisterial biography, Chase used to be a paradoxical mix of idealism and ambition. If he stood for the top ethical purposes--the freedom and equality of all mankind--these lofty principles did not masks a thirst for energy so deeply ingrained in his personality that it drove away many that shared his rules, yet mistrusted his explanations. Niven offers a bright description of Chase's early years--his formative years in New Hampshire (where his father's failed company enterprise and early demise left the relations all yet destitute) and in Ohio (where he was once despatched to stay along with his uncle Philander, an Episcopal bishop), his schooling at Dartmouth, and his early legislation occupation in Cincinnati. Niven indicates how the plight of the slaves stirred this reticent younger legal professional, and the way Chase progressively moved to the vanguard of the antislavery move. whilst, we see how he used his starting to be prominence within the antislavery flow to ahead his political targets. Niven illuminates Chase's lengthy tenure as a public guy. two times elected usa Senator, two times selected governor of Ohio (then the 3rd so much populous kingdom within the Union), Chase prepared the common yet diffuse anti-slavery move right into a possible political association, the loose Soil celebration (whose slogan "Free Soil, loose hard work, Freemen" Chase coined himself). We learn of Chase's paintings in Lincoln's battle cupboard and his tenure as leader Justice of the superb court docket, and we additionally stick to his many political maneuvers, his makes an attempt to undercut competitors, and his poorly run campaigns for presidential nominations. Niven additionally offers an intimate portrait of Chase's relations life--his lack of 3 better halves and 4 of his six teenagers, and the unlucky marriage of his appealing daughter Kate to a wealthy yet dissolute man--and a bright photograph of existence at mid-century. What emerges is a portrait of a sad determine, whose excessive traits of center and brain and whose many achievements have been eventually tarnished through a regularly unseemly quest for energy. it's a amazing examine an eminent statesman in addition to a revealing glimpse into political lifestyles in 19th-century the United States, ready opposed to a heritage of the anti-slavery circulation, the Civil warfare, and the turmoil of Reconstruction.
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Additional info for Salmon P. Chase: A Biography
Chase dined on his first day in Cincinnati with Daniel Caswell, one of the city's foremost lawyers. Joseph Benham, another leading member of the bar, was also present. 8 Despite these influential acquaintances, Chase found that he had to be familiar with Ohio statute law and knew that he had to have experience in courtroom argument and procedure. He became a regular participant in the moot court that the faculty of Cincinnati College had organized, to provide just this kind of training to law students.
17 Whatever impact the revival made upon the deeply felt religious impulses that his uncle the Bishop had surely fostered, it did prompt him to reexamine the idea of die ministry as a career. But Chase decided he was not ready then to settle down to the limited confines of a New Hampshire or Vermont town; nor was he convinced that a clerical profession satisfied the expectations of a budding but strong ambition. Chase's varied life until now, though it had its unsetding and disagreeable aspects, stimulated a youthful restlessness, a lively curiosity and a yearning to see other areas of the country, to experience other settings beyond the simplicity of his native heath.
A history of Ohio—never before done in entirety—could be a timely statement emphasizing Websterian nationalism as it applied to the state and by implication to all new territories that might become states. Chase had caught the stirrings of an antislavery movement, and he meant to emphasize what he considered to be the blessings of freedom not only for Ohio but for the entire Northwest. He did not have the financial resources to do the research or to interest a publisher. And he needed tangible public support before he could begin the task.