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Donald, David, editor Inside Lincoln's Cabinet: Zornow, William Frank, "Lincoln and Chase: Presidential Rivals", Lincoln Herald, February Belz, Herman, "Salmon P. Abraham Lincoln and Salmon P. Chase Abraham Lincoln and Salmon P. Chase is large, fine looking, and his well flattered picture may be found on the left hand end of any one dollar greenback, looking ten years handsomer than the light haired Secretary.
He is reserved, unappreciated as to jokes, and has a low opinion of Presidential humor and fun generally…He lives in a moderate style, is a widower, has a beautiful and somewhat airy daughter as the head of his household, and is a regular church-goer.
Chase was born in in New Hampshire, the son of a farmer-manufacturer.
His father died when he was nine and when he was 12, Salmon was sent to Ohio to leave with his Uncle Philander where he was educated at schools his uncle headed.
Lincoln, he found farming chores distasteful. He returned to New Hampshire where he entered Dartmouth as a year-old sophomore, graduating when he was Like fellow Lincoln cabinet member William H.
Seward, he tried an early stint at teaching while in college. There, Chase also studied law in Washington without much diligence, was admitted to the bar at age 24, and moved to Cincinnati to begin his practice.
In Washington, he had became something of a protege of Attorney General William Wirt, who acted as a father figure to him Chase was perhaps a better editor and writer than attorney and inhe published a edition of the collected laws of Ohio that gained him a legal reputation in Ohio and adjoining states.
He subsequently won sufficient bank business to make his legal profession a profitable one. In marriage, Chase had less luck than in the law. His first wife died less than two years after their marriage in ; their daughter died before she reached five.
He had three daughters by his second marriage in ; two daughters died as did his wife in His third marriage in lasted only six years before this wife died, survived by one of their two children. Chase had more success in his political efforts.
Progressively during the s, Chase was drawn into the association with abolitionists James Birney a newspaper editor who later moved to New York and Gamaliel Bailey — and into legal cases on behalf of the abolitionist cause. In so doing, he seems to have been motivated primarily by religious and moral reasons.
There certainly was no political advantage to Chase in anti-slavery cases, since Cincinnati was too close to the South to encourage abolitionist thinking.
Throughout his adult life, Chase suffered from a lack of credibility among his friends. His pursuit of compromise among those who were not accustomed to compromise led to misunderstandings and accusations of betrayal — especially when he was nominated to the U.
Senate in and when he sought to replace friend James Birney as the presidential candidate of the Liberty Party in As biographer John Niven noted: They were a querulous, changeable lot, suspicious and with good reason of political parties many of them Protestant ministers — they were accustomed to exhortation and moral persuasion through the religious press, pamphlets, books and lectures.
He is selfish beyond any other man, and I know from the bargain he has made in being elected to the Senate, he is ready to make any bargain to promote his interest. He spent most of the s as a Whig, abandoning the Whigs in for the Liberty Party, then helping to organize the Free Soil Party in He became a Democrat with his election to the Senate in over Whig Joshua Giddings and was effectively frozen out of Senate business and the Democratic caucus because of his abolitionist ideas.
Chase was also pro-immigrant, pro-land grants, and anti-pork.
Along with William Seward he gave one of the great speeches against the Compromise of Historian Eric Foner wrote: That the original policy of the Government was that of slavery restriction. That under the Constitution Congress cannot establish or maintain slavery in the territories. That the original policy of the Government has been subverted and the Constitution violated for the extension of slavery, and the establishment of the political supremacy of the Slave Power.
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He helped develop the idea that southern slaveholders, organized politically as a Slave Power, were conspiring to dominate the national government, reverse the policy of the founding fathers, and make slavery the ruling interest of the republic.
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