Salmon Chase

Salmon Chase


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Salmon Portland Chase nasceu em New Hampshire em 13 de janeiro de 1808. Depois que seu pai morreu em 1817, ele morou com seu tio, Philander Chase, bispo de Ohio. Depois de se formar no Dartmouth College em 1826, ele trabalhou brevemente como professor em Washington.

Em 1830, Chase mudou-se para Cincinnati, onde se estabeleceu como advogado. Membro da Sociedade Antiescravidão, Chase defendeu tantos escravos recapturados e ficou conhecido como o "procurador-geral dos negros em fuga". Ele também forneceu aconselhamento jurídico gratuito para aqueles que trabalhavam para a Ferrovia Subterrânea.

Chase era originalmente um membro do Partido Whig, mas se juntou ao Partido da Liberdade em 1841. No entanto, em agosto de 1848, Chase e outros membros do partido juntaram-se aos membros antiescravistas do Partido Whig para formar o Partido do Solo Livre. No ano seguinte, Chase foi eleito para o Senado dos Estados Unidos. Junto com Joshua Giddings, Chase era visto como o líder do grupo antiescravista no Congresso e desempenhou um papel importante na campanha contra a Lei Kansas-Nebraska.

Em 1855, Chase foi eleito governador de Ohio. Membro fundador do Partido Republicano, ele buscou a indicação presidencial do partido em 1860, mas na terceira votação pediu a seus apoiadores que votassem em Abraham Lincoln. Quando Lincoln se tornou presidente, ele nomeou Chase como seu secretário do Tesouro e teve a responsabilidade de organizar as finanças do esforço de guerra da União. Ele também ajudou a estabelecer um sistema bancário nacional e outra inovação foi o emprego de funcionárias.

Chase era o membro mais progressista do gabinete de Lincoln e compartilhava muitas das opiniões expressas pelo grupo republicano radical. Ele constantemente entrou em confronto com o mais conservador William Seward e em várias ocasiões esteve perto de renunciar.

Chase criticou fortemente os oficiais do Exército da União, como Irvin McDowell, George McClellan e Henry Halleck, que pareciam não querer atacar o Exército Confederado em 1862. Ele mesmo queria que a guerra fosse uma cruzada contra a escravidão e disse a Lincoln: "Sentimento pró-escravidão inspira rebelião, deixe o sentimento anti-escravidão inspirar a supressão. "

No verão de 1862, Chase e Abraham Lincoln entraram em confronto com o tratamento dado ao General David Hunter. Em maio, Hunter começou a recrutar soldados negros nos distritos ocupados da Carolina do Sul e logo depois divulgou uma declaração de que todos os escravos pertencentes aos confederados na área estavam livres. Lincoln ficou furioso e o instruiu a dissolver o primeiro regimento da Carolina do Sul (descendência africana) e a retirar sua proclamação. Chase concordou com as ações de Hunter e mais uma vez esteve perto de renunciar.

O principal argumento que Chase teve com Lincoln foi que o presidente se recusou a declarar que a emancipação dos escravos era um objeto da guerra. Nas reuniões do Gabinete, Chase foi o único membro a defender o sufrágio negro. Chase acabou renunciando em junho de 1864. Lincoln escreveu uma carta aceitando a renúncia de Chase, concordando que seu relacionamento havia "chegado a um ponto de constrangimento mútuo que não poderia ser superado".

Em dezembro de 1864, Abraham Lincoln nomeou Chase como Chefe de Justiça da Suprema Corte. Como outro republicano radical, Chase criticava fortemente os planos de reconstrução de Lincoln. Ele foi ainda mais crítico em relação aos seguidos por Andrew Johnson e, como Chefe de Justiça, presidiu o processo de impeachment do Senado contra Andrew Johnson.

Nos anos seguintes, Chase interpretou as Décima Terceira e Décima Quarta Emendas à Constituição de maneiras que ajudaram a proteger os direitos dos negros de violações por ação do Estado. Salmon Portland Chase morreu em 7 de maio de 1873.

Eu ficaria feliz em saber sua opinião sobre o provável destino da raça afro-americana neste país. Minha própria opinião é que as raças negras e brancas, adaptadas a diferentes latitudes e países pelas influências do clima e outras circunstâncias, operando por muitas gerações, nunca teriam sido reunidas em uma comunidade, exceto sob a restrição da força, tal como o da escravidão. Embora, portanto, eu tenha me oposto totalmente a qualquer discriminação na legislação contra nossa população de cor e tenha uniformemente mantido os direitos iguais de todos os homens à vida, à liberdade e à busca da felicidade. Sempre esperei ansiosamente pela separação das raças.

Salmon P. Chase, o senador antiescravista de Ohio, foi uma das figuras mais majestosas do Senado. Alto, de ombros largos e orgulhosamente ereto, seus traços fortes e regulares e sua testa larga, alta e clara, ele era uma imagem de inteligência, força, coragem e dignidade. Ele parecia como você gostaria que um estadista fosse. Seu discurso não emprestava nenhum encanto à decoração retórica, mas era claro e forte na argumentação, vigoroso e determinado no tom, elevado no sentimento e daquela franca ingenuidade que impõe respeito e inspira confiança.

É insatisfatório para alguns saber que a franquia eletiva não é concedida ao homem de cor. Eu mesmo preferiria que agora fosse conferido a homens inteligentes de cor e àqueles que servem à nossa causa como soldados.

Eu deveria ter ficado, se não satisfeito, pelo menos parcialmente, contente com o sufrágio para os inteligentes e aqueles que foram soldados; agora estou convencido de que o sufrágio universal é exigido por uma política sólida e justiça imparcial. Voltarei a Washington em um ou dois dias e talvez não seja desagradável para você ter todo o assunto discutido.

A abolição da escravatura e o estabelecimento da liberdade não são a mesma coisa. Os negros emancipados ainda não eram realmente homens livres. Suas correntes realmente haviam sido rompidas pela espada, mas os elos quebrados ainda estavam pendurados em seus membros. A pergunta: "O que será feito com o negro? Agitou todo o país. Alguns eram a favor de um reconhecimento imediato de seus direitos iguais e políticos, e de conceder-lhes de uma vez todas as prerrogativas da cidadania. Mas apenas alguns defenderam uma política tão radical e, ao mesmo tempo, geralmente considerada revolucionária, enquanto muitos, mesmo daqueles que realmente desejavam bem ao negro, duvidavam de sua capacidade de cidadania, de sua vontade de trabalhar para seu próprio sustento e da possibilidade de seu formando, como um homem livre, uma parte integrante da República.

A ideia de admitir os libertos a uma participação igual nos direitos civis e políticos não foi cogitada em nenhuma parte do sul. Na maioria dos Estados, eles não tinham permissão para fazer parte do júri, ou mesmo testemunhar em qualquer caso em que homens brancos participassem. Eles foram proibidos de possuir ou portar armas de fogo e, portanto, ficaram indefesos contra ataques. Leis vagas foram aprovadas, muitas vezes relativas apenas ao negro, ou, quando aplicável em termos de branco e preto, raramente ou nunca aplicadas, exceto contra estes últimos.

Em alguns Estados, qualquer tribunal - isto é, qualquer Juiz de Paz local - poderia denunciar a um branco qualquer negro menor de idade, sem seu consentimento ou o de seus pais? Os libertos foram submetidos às punições anteriormente infligidas aos escravos. Chicotadas especialmente, quando em alguns Estados privaram o partido sujeito a elas, e o tornaram para sempre infame perante a lei, era considerada a pena para a contravenção mais insignificante.

Essas deficiências legais não foram os únicos obstáculos colocados no caminho dos libertos. Suas tentativas de educação provocaram a mais intensa e amarga hostilidade, evidenciando o desejo de se tornarem iguais aos brancos. Suas igrejas e escolas foram destruídas em muitos lugares por turbas. Em partes do país distantes de qualquer observação, a violência e a crueldade engendradas pela escravidão encontraram espaço livre para serem exercidas sobre o negro indefeso. Em um único distrito, em um único mês, foram registrados 49 casos de violência, que vão desde agressão e espancamento até homicídio, em que brancos foram os agressores e negros os sofridos.

O General Howard emitiu sua primeira ordem definindo a política geral do Bureau no dia 19 de maio de 1865, imediatamente nomeou seus Comissários Assistentes e deu início ao trabalho que lhe foi confiado. Nesse trabalho, ele ficava muito embaraçado pela falta de verbas governamentais para seu Bureau, pela oposição no Sul a quaisquer medidas que visassem a elevação dos libertos e pela desconfiança muito difundida no Norte de sua capacidade de melhoria. .

Qual será o efeito da emancipação sobre a indústria da comunidade em geral, sobre a quantidade de produção, sobre a inteligência e moral do povo, sobre o comércio, comércio, manufaturas, agricultura e população, pode ainda ser apenas uma questão de conjectura; e, no entanto, tais e tão marcantes mesmo nesses aspectos foram os resultados já, que provavelmente poucos, se algum, da porção inteligente do povo do sul desejariam ver a escravidão restabelecida. Onde quer que o fazendeiro honesta e inteligentemente se acomodou ao sistema de trabalho livre, a liberdade colheu uma colheita maior do que a obtida pela escravidão.

Mas o efeito sobre as pessoas libertadas não é mais uma questão de questionamento. Eles refutaram a acusação de ociosidade e incapacidade da escravidão. Eles não apenas trabalharam fielmente e bem com empregadores brancos, mas, quando as facilidades lhes foram concedidas, mostraram-se capazes de trabalho independente e até auto-organizado. Eles geralmente não são extravagantes ou perdulários. A igreja e a escola estão cheias de pessoas ansiosas e expectantes, cuja rapidez de desenvolvimento sob essas influências estimulantes surpreendeu tanto os inimigos quanto os amigos, e contribuiu mais, talvez, do que qualquer outra causa para mitigar o preconceito que sobreviveu à escravidão e fez o trabalho de emancipação completo.


Eliza Chase

Salmon P. Chase: Lincoln & # 8217s Secretário do Tesouro
E marido de Eliza Chase
Henry Ulke, Artista

Salmon Portland Chase nasceu em 13 de janeiro de 1808, em Cornish, New Hampshire. Ele era o nono de onze filhos de Ithmar Chase e Janet Ralston Chase. Seu pai morreu quando Salmon tinha nove anos, deixando para sua viúva uma pequena propriedade e dez filhos sobreviventes. A educação de Chase começou em 1816 em Keene, New Hampshire, do que em uma escola melhor em Windsor, Vermont.

Seu tio, Philander Chase, bispo episcopal, levou Salmon para a floresta de Ohio. O jovem Chase freqüentou a escola bishop & # 8217s em Worthington, perto de Columbus. Chase não gostava da vida monótona do trabalho agrícola. Seu tio o trabalhou duro enquanto ele simultaneamente estudava grego por dois anos.

Em 1822, o Cincinnati College nomeou o Bispo Chase como presidente do colégio. Aos quinze anos, Salmon Chase foi admitido no segundo ano. O bispo serviu lá apenas um ano, depois viajou para a Grã-Bretanha a fim de arrecadar dinheiro para a fundação do Seminário Teológico em Ohio, que mais tarde se chamaria Kenyon College.

Quando seu tio deixou o cargo de presidente no ano seguinte para viajar para a Inglaterra, Salmon Chase voltou para New Hampshire e se matriculou no Dartmouth College como um júnior, graduando-se com honra em 1826.

Após a formatura, Chase mudou-se para Washington, DC, onde lecionou enquanto estudava direito com William Wirt, que era procurador-geral dos Estados Unidos na administração de John Quincy Adams. Embora quisesse exercer a advocacia em Washington, Chase não atendia ao requisito de residência.

Ohio permitiu que ele usasse o tempo que ele viveu lá com seu tio depois que ele passou na ordem dos advogados em 1829, ele se mudou para Cincinnati para estabelecer seu escritório de advocacia. Como um jovem advogado, Chase consolidou os estatutos de Ohio & # 8217s em uma obra de referência de três volumes. Esta importante contribuição para a literatura jurídica de Ohio & # 8217s ajudou a melhorar sua reputação profissional.

Casamento e família
Chase se casou com Catherine Jane Garniss em 4 de março de 1834. Ela morreu no ano seguinte ao dar à luz o primeiro filho do casal, uma menina que morreu alguns anos depois.

Chase se casou com Eliza Ann Smith em 26 de setembro de 1839. Eliza deu à luz Kate (Katherine Jane) Chase em 13 de agosto de 1840, em Cincinnati, Ohio. Eliza Chase morreu de tuberculose logo após o quinto aniversário de Kate. O consumo, conhecido hoje como tuberculose, era uma doença comum sem cura.

Em 6 de novembro de 1846, Chase casou-se com Sarah Bella Dunlop Ludlow, com quem Kate Chase teve um relacionamento difícil. Após a morte de Sarah, também de tuberculose, em 13 de janeiro de 1852, Chase não se casou novamente. Viúvo três vezes e assombrado pela morte de quatro crianças, Salmon Chase amava suas duas filhas sobreviventes & # 8211 Kate e sua irmã mais nova Nettie, que sobreviveram ao pai.

Kate Chase se tornou uma jovem bonita e inteligente, que era a menina dos olhos de seu pai. Ela é mais conhecida como anfitriã da sociedade durante a Guerra Civil e uma forte defensora das ambições políticas de seu pai.

Os efeitos da morte, sempre tão próximos, aprofundaram o fervor religioso do Salmon Chase & # 8217s. Dias passados ​​em leitura da Bíblia e oração, e tortura da alma por possível negligência do dever em não impressionar os outros com a necessidade de salvação, deixaram uma marca profunda em Chase.

Chase como um jovem advogado
Como advogado, Chase fez sua residência permanente em Cincinnati. Foi uma escolha acertada. Localizada na margem norte do rio Ohio, com seu movimentado comércio ocidental e território de escravos na margem oposta, Cincinnati ofereceu oportunidades esplêndidas para um jovem advogado de habilidade e fortes visões morais.

Chase se convenceu de que a escravidão era um pecado e que os afro-americanos mereciam não apenas a liberdade, mas também os direitos civis. Ele participou do movimento antiescravista e de outras atividades de reforma. Os talentos jurídicos de Chase & # 8217s foram rapidamente reconhecidos. Ele defendeu vários escravos fugitivos em tribunais locais e também federais, incluindo a Suprema Corte, e logo foi chamado de advogado dos escravos fugitivos. Em 1834, Chase defendeu o editor abolicionista e ativista James Birney, que havia sido preso por ajudar um escravo fugitivo a escapar.

Seu caso mais famoso foi a defesa de John Van Zandt, que foi preso enquanto carregava vários escravos fugitivos do Kentucky para a liberdade sob um fardo de feno em 1842. Chase e William H. Seward, atuando como advogados não pagos, carregaram Vanzant & # 8217s caso ao Supremo Tribunal dos Estados Unidos, onde seus apelos eloqüentes pelos direitos das minorias em bases constitucionais atraíram a atenção nacional.

A insistência de Chase de que nenhuma reivindicação de pessoas como propriedade poderia ser apoiada por qualquer lei dos Estados Unidos ganhou o apoio antiescravidão entre aqueles que rejeitaram as opiniões militantes extremistas de William Lloyd Garrison. Também serviu para promover a posição política de Chase & # 8217 em Ohio e levou à correspondência com figuras antiescravistas nacionais como Charles Sumner.

Perseguição na Política
Inicialmente um Whig, Chase ajudou a formar o Partido da Liberdade antiescravista, e se tornou um de seus líderes, e do Partido do Solo Livre em Ohio em 1848, que era dedicado à não expansão da escravidão. Uma coalizão de Free Soilers e Democratas em Ohio elegeu Chase para o Senado dos Estados Unidos no início de 1849.

Durante seu único mandato, Chase condenou veementemente a Lei do Escravo Fugitivo e usou sua posição para protestar contra medidas como o Compromisso de 1850. Seu Apelo aos Democratas Independentes foi uma expressão clássica de protesto contra uma conspiração para nacionalizar a escravidão.

A oposição de Chase à Lei Kansas-Nebraska de 1854 o levou a ajudar a organizar o Partido Anti-Nebraska em Ohio, que logo ficou conhecido como Partido Republicano.

Em 1855, Chase concorreu com sucesso para governador de Ohio como um republicano. A escravidão foi a questão dominante da campanha. Como governador, ele defendeu a educação pública e a reforma penitenciária. Ele também apoiou a reforma da milícia estadual e a melhoria dos direitos de propriedade das mulheres. Chase foi reeleito governador em 1857, mas seu segundo mandato foi muito menos produtivo quando os democratas ganharam o controle da legislatura estadual.

O objetivo político final de Chase era se tornar presidente dos Estados Unidos, mas ele não conseguiu a nomeação republicana em 1856. A principal razão para essas perdas foram suas visões abolicionistas radicais.

Nesse ínterim, os republicanos recuperaram o controle da legislatura de Ohio em 1859 e enviaram Chase de volta ao Senado. Suas chances de uma indicação republicana para presidente em 1860 pareciam promissoras. Mas na convenção republicana, a delegação de Ohio foi dividida e, na terceira votação, transferiu quatro votos para Abraham Lincoln, o que lhe deu a maioria necessária, colocando Chase em uma posição favorável para um cargo no gabinete se Lincoln fosse eleito.

Chase como Secretário do Tesouro
Apenas dois dias após assumir seu assento no Senado, Salmon Chase renunciou para se tornar Secretário do Tesouro de Abraham Lincoln. Chase teve um desafio imediato: a Guerra Civil Americana começou e era seu trabalho encontrar uma maneira de financiar o esforço de guerra da União. Vastas somas de dinheiro tiveram que ser emprestadas, títulos comercializados e a moeda nacional mantida o mais estável possível.

Com a receita alfandegária do comércio de algodão do sul cortada, Chase teve que implementar impostos internos. O Bureau of Internal Revenue, mais tarde o Internal Revenue Service, foi criado em 1862 para coletar impostos de selo e impostos internos. No ano seguinte, administrou o primeiro imposto de renda do país.

As taxas de juros dispararam e logo o recurso ao papel-moeda foi aceito com relutância. O Bureau of Engraving and Printing foi criado em 1862 para imprimir a primeira moeda do governo, conhecida como greenbacks por causa de sua cor. Chase as desaprovava em princípio & # 8211, eram notas com curso legal não lastreadas em espécie e podiam ser impressas em quantidades ilimitadas e, portanto, inflacionárias.

Durante os anos de Chase & # 8217 como secretário do tesouro, os Estados Unidos começaram a imprimir & # 8220In God We Trust & # 8221 em todas as moedas. Chase ganhou o apelido de Velho Senhor Greenbacks, depois de colocar seu próprio rosto na frente da nota de um dólar. Seu motivo era garantir que os americanos soubessem quem ele era.

Ele foi fundamental para o estabelecimento do Sistema Bancário Nacional em 1863, que abriu um mercado para títulos e moeda estabilizada. As notas verdes, dentro de uma nova rede de bancos nacionais, envolveram diretamente o governo no setor bancário pela primeira vez.

A Proclamação de Emancipação
Em seu diário, o secretário Chase registrou a reunião de gabinete em 22 de setembro de 1862, onde o esboço da Proclamação de Emancipação foi aprovado: & # 8220Para o Departamento cerca de nove. Veio um mensageiro do Departamento de Estado, avisando aos Chefes de Departamento para se reunirem às 12h. - Diversos telefonemas recebidos. - Fui à Casa Branca. & # 8221

Depois de ler um segundo rascunho para o Gabinete, Lincoln emitiu sua Proclamação preliminar, que anunciava que a emancipação entraria em vigor em 1º de janeiro de 1863, nos estados & # 8216in rebelião & # 8217 que não haviam, durante o período interino, cessado as hostilidades. Ele emitiu e assinou a Proclamação de Emancipação suplementar ou real em 1º de janeiro de 1863. Diz, em parte:

Considerando que, em 22 de setembro do ano de nosso Senhor mil oitocentos e sessenta e dois, uma proclamação foi emitida pelo Presidente dos Estados Unidos, contendo, entre outras coisas, o seguinte, a saber:

Que no primeiro dia de janeiro, no ano de nosso Senhor mil oitocentos e sessenta e três, todas as pessoas mantidas como escravas dentro de qualquer Estado ou parte designada de um Estado, o povo do qual então estará em rebelião contra os Estados Unidos , será então, a partir de então, e para sempre livre e o Governo Executivo dos Estados Unidos, incluindo a autoridade militar e naval do mesmo, reconhecerá e manterá a liberdade de tais pessoas, e não fará nenhum ato ou atos para reprimir tais pessoas, ou qualquer um deles, em todos os esforços que possam fazer para sua liberdade real.

Chase costumava criticar o presidente, que considerava incompetente e confuso. Suas principais queixas eram contra a manutenção do General George B. McClellan como comandante do Exército do Potomac e a recusa em usar tropas negras. As visões antiescravistas radicais de Chase, assim como suas ambições políticas, o colocam em desacordo com o Lincoln mais moderado.

O desacordo constante de Chase com as políticas da administração lhe rendeu seguidores entre os republicanos radicais no Congresso. Chase era um intrometido burocrático cujos interesses iam muito além do Departamento do Tesouro. Muitas vezes ele se envolveu na política em relação ao exército e aliou-se aos radicais, enquanto usava agentes do Tesouro para estabelecer uma rede política em todo o país.

Após a terrível derrota da União na Batalha de Fredericksburg em dezembro de 1862, um grupo de senadores, influenciado pelas reclamações de Chase & # 8217s, fez uma convenção secreta e redigiu um documento a ser apresentado ao presidente, exigindo & # 8220 uma mudança no e um reconstrução parcial do Gabinete. & # 8221 Foi, de fato, um esforço para remover Seward e avançar Chase. Ao saber do plano, Seward enviou sua renúncia ao presidente, que a pôs de lado.

Então, ao reunir os manifestantes e o resto do gabinete para uma discussão franca, Lincoln habilmente conduziu Chase a repudiar algumas de suas acusações. Isso feriu Chase tanto com o amigo quanto com o inimigo. Na manhã seguinte, ele ofereceu sua própria demissão. Lincoln agora tinha as renúncias de Seward & # 8217s e Chase & # 8217s e, tendo ganhado a vantagem, recusou-se a aceitar qualquer uma das duas.

Um associado do Chase, Hugh McCulloch, escreveu mais tarde que as relações pessoais entre o Sr. Lincoln e o Sr. Chase nunca foram cordiais. Eles eram tão diferentes em aparência, educação, maneiras, gosto e temperamento quanto dois homens eminentes poderiam ser. & # 8221 Mas Lincoln admirava Chase, uma vez dizendo que & # 8220Chase é cerca de uma vez e meia maior do que qualquer outro homem que eu já conheci. & # 8221

À medida que a guerra se arrastava, Chase ficou cada vez mais convencido da impossibilidade da reeleição de Lincoln. A Proclamação de Emancipação tinha sido satisfatória até onde ia, ele sentia, mas não tinha ido longe o suficiente. Um novo líder com uma nova abordagem era necessário. Chase decidiu que era seu dever buscar a indicação republicana em 1864.

Um grupo de líderes radicais publicou um panfleto declarando Chase como o homem que melhor atende às necessidades do partido. O boom do Chase, no entanto, entrou em colapso quando Lincoln & # 8217s controlaram o público se tornou claro. Chase não teve sucesso em obter a indicação presidencial republicana em 1864, perdendo para Lincoln como em 1860. Isso tornou o lugar de Chase & # 8217 como membro do Gabinete embaraçoso e logo Chase apresentou sua renúncia. Em outubro de 1864, Lincoln aceitou, para grande desgosto do secretário.

Perseguir como Chefe de Justiça da Suprema Corte
Apesar de suas divergências, Lincoln ainda respeitava Chase. Quando o presidente da Suprema Corte, Roger Taney, morreu em outubro de 1864, Lincoln escolheu Chase para substituí-lo e se tornar o sexto presidente da Suprema Corte na história do tribunal, cargo que ocupou até sua morte.

Em um de seus primeiros atos como Chefe de Justiça, Chase nomeou John Rock como o primeiro advogado afro-americano a discutir casos perante a Suprema Corte. Logo depois disso, o presidente Lincoln foi assassinado e Chase fez o juramento presidencial a Andrew Johnson.

Chase presidiu a Corte durante o difícil período da Reconstrução. As tarefas importantes eram restaurar os sistemas judiciais do sul e manter a lei contra invasões do Congresso. Em dezembro de 1868, Chase confirmou o perdão do ex-presidente confederado Jefferson Davis.

Chase foi incapaz de obter uma maioria sólida durante seu mandato como Chefe de Justiça e muitas vezes se viu em dissidência em casos importantes.

Em março de 1868, Chase presidiu o julgamento de impeachment do presidente Andrew Johnson no Senado dos Estados Unidos. O Chefe de Justiça trouxe para o julgamento um ar de dignidade e imparcialidade muito necessário. Como o primeiro julgamento de impeachment de um presidente segundo a Constituição, Chase percebeu que o procedimento abriria precedentes importantes. Ele insistiu que o Senado se conduzisse como um tribunal de justiça, não como um órgão legislativo.

Enquanto isso, o ambicioso Chase ainda queria ser presidente dos Estados Unidos. Abandonando o partido Republicano, buscou ativamente a nomeação presidencial do Partido Democrata em 1868. Ele teve a ajuda de sua filha brilhante, bela e rica, Kate Chase Sprague, que, como anfitriã mais pródiga de Washington, procurou promover seu pai & # Carreira política de 8217s. Apesar dos esforços combinados de pai e filha, Chase nunca conseguiu conquistar esse cargo.

Chase tornou-se menos envolvido na política quando sua saúde começou a piorar. Ele sofreu um derrame em 1870 que o impediu temporariamente de participar da Suprema Corte. Apesar de sua saúde debilitada, ele voltou ao tribunal em 1871 e continuou a presidir como presidente do tribunal até sua morte. Perto do fim de sua vida, ele fez um esforço malsucedido para garantir a nomeação do Partido Republicano Liberal para a Presidência em 1872, mas eles escolheram Horace Greeley.

Os árduos deveres de Chase como presidente da Suprema Corte e esforços infrutíferos para obter a presidência levaram a um rápido declínio da saúde. Chase sofreu outro derrame na casa de sua filha Nettie, na cidade de Nova York.

Salmon Portland Chase morreu na cidade de Nova York em 7 de maio de 1873, aos sessenta e cinco anos, com suas duas filhas ao seu lado.

Um funeral foi realizado na Igreja Episcopal de St. George, na cidade de Nova York. Em 11 de maio, o corpo foi levado de volta a Washington, DC, para um funeral oficial do estado, jazendo nas Câmaras do Antigo Senado, no mesmo catafalco que abrigou o esquife do presidente Lincoln. Ele foi sepultado no cemitério de Oak Hill nas proximidades.

Imagem: Salmon P. Chase Grave
Cincinnati, Ohio
Um docente em vestido de época retrata a filha de Chase & # 8217s,
Kate Chase Sprague, que está enterrada nas proximidades.

Em 1886, o estado de Ohio solicitou que seu filho favorito fosse enterrado em Cincinnati. Salmon Chase e sua filha Kate, que morreu na pobreza em 1899, descansam juntos no cemitério Spring Grove fora de Chase & # 8217s Cincinnati amado.

Em 1877, o banqueiro de Nova York John Thompson nomeou o Chase Manhattan Bank em homenagem a Chase, por causa de seus esforços para aprovar a Lei do Banco Nacional de 1863.

Chase recebeu uma última homenagem em 1934, quando o Tesouro dos Estados Unidos decidiu colocar seu retrato na nota de US $ 10.000.


O problema da traição: processando Jefferson Davis

Robert Icenhauer-Ramirez é historiador da Guerra Civil e advogado em Austin, Texas. Esse histórico o ajudou a mergulhar nos detalhes de cada lado do julgamento de traição de Jefferson Davis. Embora o chefe político da Confederação tenha sido capturado em 1865 e acusado de traição em 1866, ele passou apenas dois anos no cativeiro, e as acusações foram finalmente retiradas. Icenhauer-Ramirez acompanha o caso a cada passo em seu livro recente Traição em Julgamento, descobrindo irregularidades chocantes no processo de Davis e a cumplicidade do Chefe de Justiça Salmon Chase em impedir o andamento do caso.

CWT:Por que Jefferson Davis foi preso?

RIR:Depois que Lincoln foi assassinado, as pessoas mais próximas a Lincoln acreditaram que Davis tinha uma participação nisso. Eu acho que se eles tivessem descoberto uma forte ligação com o assassinato, ele teria sido julgado pelo assassinato por um tribunal militar, mas eles não puderam estabelecer isso de forma conclusiva. Ele foi colocado na prisão e indiciado por traição, algo que era óbvio como uma acusação.

Traição em julgamento: Estados Unidos v. Jefferson Davis
LSU Press, 2019, $ 55

CWT:Fale sobre o advogado da Virgínia Lucius Chandler, que escreveu a acusação de traição.

RIR:Chandler era o promotor distrital dos EUA para o Distrito Leste da Virgínia, um advogado nomeado. Mas a razão pela qual ele foi nomeado não tinha nada a ver com seu nível de habilidade e tudo a ver com o fato de que ele era um dos poucos advogados no Distrito Leste que tinha sido leal ao Norte. Chandler, um ianque transplantado, permanecera leal ao Norte, mas não tinha habilidades judiciais e realmente não tinha temperamento ou mesmo interesse em ser advogado de defesa.

CWT:Você encontrou algo surpreendente na acusação de Davis.

RIR:Um livro sobre Aaron Burr tinha uma cópia de sua acusação por traição e vi que a linguagem era exatamente a mesma da acusação de Davis. Chandler apenas substitui o nome de Davis por Burr e essa acusação permanece por alguns anos no caso. Quando o procurador-geral William Evarts descobre que Chandler não redigiu a acusação, ele fica furioso. É inconcebível que um promotor bem treinado pensasse que ele poderia ir a julgamento com essa acusação.

CWT:Fale sobre o desafio de tentar Davis na Virgínia.

RIR:A Constituição dos EUA diz que a traição será julgada no local onde foi cometida. Para ser fiel à Constituição, eles precisam julgá-lo em Richmond. É uma situação terrível para o governo federal julgar o presidente da Confederação. Não apenas porque o grupo do júri ficará contaminado contra o governo federal, mas se você encontrar pessoas que são leais à União, para julgar o presidente da Confederação, haverá o fator de intimidação, especialmente para os afro-americanos. Isso é muito real no Sul após a Guerra Civil.

CWT:Também houve resistência do presidente da Suprema Corte, Salmon Chase.

RIR:Como disse Lincoln, Chase pegou o vírus presidencial e, uma vez que você o consegue, não o perde. Aconteceu que seu circuito incluía a Virgínia, onde ele poderia descer e julgar casos. A última coisa que ele queria fazer era alienar as pessoas dos estados que retornavam. Ele sabia que isso causaria muita divisão e evitou que fosse julgado por um bom tempo e minou a acusação, uma vez que parecia que realmente poderia ir a julgamento. Ele insinuou em particular a um dos advogados de defesa que a 14ª emenda protegeria Davis da acusação. Há sinais de que todo mundo sabe que o que Chase está fazendo é impróprio, mas ele está fazendo de qualquer maneira.

CWT:A perda de um julgamento por traição contra Davis reforçaria a legitimidade da secessão?

RIR:Eu não acho. Mas Richard Henry Dana Jr., um dos advogados da promotoria, está convencido de que o advogado de Davis, Charles O’Conor, vai dizer que a secessão é legal e, se a secessão fosse legal, Davis não poderia ter cometido traição. Ocasionalmente, os advogados perdem a fé em sua capacidade de ganhar um caso e começam a lançar ideias contra julgá-lo, na esperança de que seu cliente concorde com sua futilidade. O cliente deles, é claro, era Andrew Johnson.

CWT:Andrew Johnson tinha feito uma promessa de campanha para processar Davis.

RIR:Johnson nunca perdoou Davis por desprezá-lo no Senado, e ele parte para a campanha eleitoral de 1864 em que a traição precisa ser odiada. Ele pensava que a liderança do Sul havia levado o bom povo do Sul a uma guerra horrenda. Ele pensava que a liderança aristocrática do Sul havia cometido traição e queria que as pessoas fossem enforcadas por isso. After the war, the Radical Republicans think Johnson is going to be more likely to hang people than Lincoln would have been. But when they began butting heads over how Reconstruction should proceed, Johnson is faced with the choice of either losing the support of the Radical Republicans and having no real political support, or moving over to the Democrats and working with them, and that’s what he chooses to do. The Democrats had no interest in trying Davis. For several years after the war, Johnson was interested in trying Davis. But I think by the time he gets impeached, he has bigger fish to fry.

CWT:In February 1869, the case is dismissed. What happened?

RIR:The prosecution was convinced that it’s going to be useless to try Davis. If they lose, it will look really bad for the feds. If they convict him, it will look like retribution rather than a just punishment. Attorney General Evarts solicits a letter from Richard Henry Dana recommending that the case be dismissed. When he finally presents it to the president, Johnson allows the case to be dismissed. Davis is in Europe and the case just fizzles. The people driving the case early on were the people that loved Lincoln like Edwin Stanton and Joseph Holt. But they begin to leave the government, and more people take office who have no interest in prosecuting Davis.

CWT:The delay in prosecution allowed the case to wither on the vine.

RIR:Davis’ reputation seemed to rise the longer he remained in jail. He became a martyr, and his embracing of the role of martyr was something that played into the Lost Cause myth. Early on, with the right prosecutor and the right judges, I think that the federal government likely could have gone to trial. Johnson would have wanted them to go to trial. But it just lingers and lingers and lingers. And Davis, charged with a capital offense, is out on bond. That’s an acknowledgement that you’re not really very dangerous. It was really the individuals who had their hands on the case who put it in a spot where it just didn’t make sense to try it.

This story appeared in the December 2019 issue of Civil War Times.


Further readings

Blue, Frederick J. 1987. Salmon P. Chase: A Life in Politics. Kent, Ohio: Kent State Univ. Press.

Cushman, Claire, ed. 1993. The Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biographies, 1789–1993. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly.

Friedman, Leon, and Fred L. Israel, eds. 1969. The Justices of the United States Supreme Court, 1789–1969: Their Lives and Major Opinions. New York: Chelsea House.

Hyman, Harold Melvin. 1997. The Reconstruction Justice of Salmon P. Chase. Lawrence: Univ. Press of Kansas.

Niven, John. 1995. Salmon P. Chase: A Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.


The Law of the Land: Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase

Photograph of Salmon P. Chase, ca. 1865-1870, via Ohio Memory. Chase’s argument in the Jones v. Van Zandt case, via the State Library of Ohio Rare Books Collection.

With a U.S. Supreme Court nomination in the news recently, this seems like a good time to look at the history of our nation’s highest court. Since the Supreme Court met for the first time in February 1790, ten justices have been either Ohio residents at the time of their appointment, or Ohio natives, including three chief justices: Morrison Waite, William Howard Taft, and Salmon P. Chase, the first Ohioan to become chief justice.

Chase was born in New Hampshire on January 13, 1808. After his mother died when he was young, he came to Ohio to live with his uncle, Episcopal bishop Philander Chase. He attended Cincinnati College and later Dartmouth, but moved back to Ohio in 1830 to practice law in Cincinnati.

Chase was a strong abolitionist, known for defending escaped slaves and those who were arrested for helping them. He argued against the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Act before the U.S. Supreme Court in Jones v. Van Zandt (1847), in which a Kentucky slave owner sought compensation from an Ohio abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor for the cost of recovering escaped slaves. Although Chase argued that Van Zandt could not be found guilty of aiding a fugitive slave because slavery was illegal in Ohio, the court ruled against him and forced Van Zandt to pay damages.

Letter from the Hamilton County prosecuting attorney to Governor Chase regarding the Margaret Garner fugitive slave case (the inspiration for Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved) Via Ohio Memory.

Chase was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1849, where he continued to oppose the Fugitive Slave Act and also fought against the expansion of slavery permitted by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He then served two terms as Ohio governor from 1856-1860. (You can read Governor Chase’s “State of the State” addresses for 1857, 1858, 1859 and 1860 on Ohio Memory.) He was elected to the Senate again in 1859, but served only two days before resigning to become secretary of the treasury for Abraham Lincoln. In this role he oversaw the creation of a national banking system (which allowed the sale of government bonds to finance the Civil War) and also designed and issued the first U.S. paper currency. The politically ambitious Chase put his own image on the $1 bill so voters would be familiar with his name.

Chase desired high political office he unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1856, 1860 and 1864, and would later seek the Democratic nomination in 1868. Chase’s relationship with Lincoln was contentious, and he threatened to resign his cabinet position more than once until Lincoln finally surprised Chase by accepting. However, after former Chief Justice Roger B. Taney died, Lincoln nominated Chase to serve in his place on December 6, 1864. Chase was confirmed by the Senate the same day.

One of Chase’s first acts as chief justice was to admit John Rock as the first African American attorney to argue cases before the Supreme Court. He also presided over the 1868 impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson, and later that same year, confirmed the pardon of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Chase served as chief justice until his death in 1873 in New York City.

Thank you to Stephanie Michaels, Research and Catalog Services Librarian at the State Library of Ohio, for this week’s post! Check back in coming weeks to learn more about Ohio’s other chief justices.


Salmon P. Chase

Salmon Portland Chase was born in Cornish Township, New Hampshire, the son of a tavern keeper and minor public official. Following the death of his father, Chase lived with an uncle, Philander Chase, the Episcopal bishop of Ohio. In 1826, he graduated from Dartmouth College and later studied law in Washington under the respected U.S. attorney general, William Wirt. Chase established a law practice in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1830. He defended runaway slaves and those who aided them (see Underground Railroad) he also wrote and lectured on Abolitionism and other reform topics. Chase’s initial political allegiance was to the Whig party, but in 1848 he assisted in the establishment of the Free-Soil Party. From 1849 to 1855, Chase served in the U.S. Senate where he was an outspoken critic of the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Joining the new Republican Party, Chase was elected governor of Ohio in 1855. His home state returned him to the Senate in 1861, but he soon resigned to accept a position in Lincoln’s cabinet. Chase actively pursued the presidency. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in 1856 and again in 1860, when was considered a frontrunner with William H. Seward. In the latter instance, he released his delegates to help assure Lincoln’s nomination on the third ballot. In 1864, Chase maneuvered behind the scenes, hoping to win the nomination at Lincoln’s expense. Even as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Chase hoped to engineer his way to the presidency in 1868 and 1872. As Lincoln’s secretary of the treasury, Chase performed ably in guiding wartime financing. However, he clashed repeatedly with the president, pushing him to make the end of slavery a major war aim Lincoln resisted. Chase also was critical of the military abilities of Irvin McDowell, Henry Halleck and George B. McClellan. In mid-1864, the president accepted Chase’s resignation, but by year’s end he was appointed Chief Justice. Though not particularly judicial in temperament, Chase performed well. He presided over the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson with fairness and, while often in the minority, sought to protect the former slaves under the 13th and 14th amendments.


What the Original $1 Bill Looked Like

I've been reading The End of Money, a book packed with tidbits about the history of money, with a special focus on the greenback. The book mentions former Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, who was in the enviable position of designing the original US $1 bill in 1862. So who do you think he put on that bill? Himself, of course. Chase wanted to be President, and he figured that having his face on popular currency would be killer buzz-marketing -- obviously, that didn't pan out. Above is a (suitably low-fi and non-counterfeity) image of that first dollar bill, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Chase's visage also graces the obverse of the 1929 $10,000 bill, as a kind of consolation prize for his demotion from $1 fame. Other relevant fun facts: the "P" in Salmon P. Chase stands for "Portland" Chase National Bank was named after him (though he wasn't actually involved in its operation) and in 1869 George Washington replaced Chase on our $1 notes -- by that time, Chase was a member of the Supreme Court, busily declaring his own creation of the greenback to be unconstitutional. You had a good (seven-year) run, Salmon.


What other large currency denominations have been printed by the US?

The 2nd largest banknote created by the US government was the 1934 series $100,000 gold certificate. These notes were only made by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing during a three-week period from December 1934 through January 1935. However, there were not that many plutocrats who had this much cash during the time of the Great Depression to carry around one of those $100,000 bills. Just like with the $1 million dollar bill, they were only used in official transactions in between the various Federal Reserve Banks, and they were only issued by the U.S. Treasurer to the Federal banks that had an equivalent amount of gold with the treasury. As you can see in the picture, Woodrow Wilson’s picture was featured on the note.


Chief Justice Chase Scolds the Senate for Premature Impeachment Activities (1868)

On February 24, 1868, three days after President Johnson dismissed Secretary of War Edwin Stanton without Senate concurrence, the House voted 126-47 in favor of a resolution “[t]hat Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, be impeached of high crimes and misdemeanors.” For a while, exactly what Johnson had done to merit impeachment remained (at least formally) unknown. Yet the Senate went about organizing itself to try Johnson’s impeachment, adopting on March 2 a set of “Rules of Procedure and Practice in the Senate when sitting on the Trial of Impeachments.”

On March 4, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase dashed off a letter to the Senate, “submitting some observations in respect to the proper mode of proceeding upon the impeachment which has been preferred by the House of Representatives against the President now in Office”:

Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution says the “Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments,” but it’s unclear quando the Senate may organize itself to try impeachments (when it’s been informed of an affirmative impeachment vote, or only after it’s received detailed articles of impeachment?) and whether it must wait until “sitting for that purpose” to establish rules and procedures for the trial.

Chase’s chief “observation” addressed the timing question. In his view, the Senate could not organize itself under oath as an impeachment court until it had received concrete articles of impeachment. (The articles actually arrived in the Senate later on the afternoon of March 4.) Furthermore, “no summons or other process should issue except from the organized Court, and . . . rules for the government of the proceedings of such a Court should be framed only by the Court itself.” Chase knew the Senate had “proceeded upon other views.” Rather than purport to nullify what it had done, he set out to convince posterity that the Senate’s premature issuances should not be repeated in the event that, God forbid, the chronology of this first presidential impeachment should ever need to be consulted as a precedent.

Here’s page one of the letter Chase wrote to the Senate:

Here’s the full text of Chase’s letter:

    Inasmuch as the sole power to try impeachments is vested by the Constitution in the Senate, and it is made the duty of the Chief Justice to preside when the President is on trial, I take the liberty of submitting, very respectfully, some observations in respect to the proper mode of proceeding upon the impeachment which has been preferred by the House of Representatives against the President, now in office.
    That when the Senate sits for the trial of an impeachment it sits as a Court, seems unquestionable.
    That, for the trial of an impeachment of the President, this Court must be constituted of the members of the Senate, with the Chief Justice presiding, seems equally unquestionable.
    The Federalist is regarded as the highest contemporary authority on the construction of the Constitution and in the sixty-fourth number the functions of the Senate ‘‘sitting in their judicial capacity as a court for the trial of impeachments’’ are examined.
    In a paragraph explaining the reasons for not uniting ‘‘the Supreme Court with the Senate in the formation of the court of impeachments’’ it is observed that ‘‘to a certain extent the benefits of that union will be obtained from making the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court the President of the Court of Impeachments, as is proposed in the plan of the convention, while the inconveniences of an entire incorporation of the former into the latter will be substantially avoided. This was, perhaps, the prudent mean.’’
    This authority seems to leave no doubt upon either of the propositions just stated.
    And the statement of them will serve to introduce the question upon which I think it my duty to state the result of my reflections to the Senate, namely, At what period, in the case of an impeachment of the President, should the Court of Impeachment be organized under oath as directed by the Constitution?
    It will readily suggest itself to anyone who reflects upon the abilities and the learning in the law which distinguish so many Senators, that besides the reason assigned in the Federalist, there must have been still another for the provision requiring the Chief Justice to preside in the Court of Impeachment. Under the Constitution, in case of a vacancy in the office of President, the Vice President succeeds and it was doubtless thought prudent and befitting that the next in succession should not preside in a proceeding through which a vacancy might be created.
    It is not doubted that the Senate, while sitting in its ordinary capacity, must necessarily receive from the House of Representatives, some notice of its intention to impeach the President at its bar but it does not seem to me an unwarranted opinion, in view of this constitutional provision, that the organization of the Senate as a Court of Impeachment under the Constitution, should precede the actual announcement of the impeachment on the part of the House.
    And it may perhaps be thought a still less unwarranted opinion that articles of impeachment should only be presented to a Court of Impeachment that no summons or other process should issue except from the organized Court, and that rules for the government of the proceedings of such a Court should be framed only by the Court itself.
    I have found myself unable to come to any other conclusions than these. I can assign no reason for requiring the Senate to organize as a Court under any other than its ordinary presiding officer, for the later proceedings upon an impeachment of the President, which does not seem to me to apply equally to the earlier.
    I am informed that the Senate has proceeded upon other views and it is not my purpose to contest what its superior wisdom may have directed.
    All good citizens will fervently pray that no occasion may ever arise when the grave proceedings now in progress will be cited as a precedent but it is not impossible that such an occasion may come.
    Inasmuch, therefore, as the Constitution has charged the Chief Justice with an important function in the trial of an impeachment of the President, it has seemed to me fitting and obligatory, where he is unable to concur in the views of the Senate, concerning matters essential to the trial, that his respectful dissent should appear.

Salmon P. Chase

“The second man in importance and ability to be put into the Cabinet was Mr. [Salmon P.] Chase, of Ohio,” wrote fellow Administration official Charles A. Dana. “He was an able, noble, spotless statesman a man who would have been worthy of the best days of the old Roman republic. He had been a candidate for the presidency, though a less conspicuous one than Seward. Mr. Chase was a portly man tall, and of an impressive appearance, with a very handsome, large head. He was genial, though very decided, and occasionally he would criticize the President, a thing I never heard Mr. Seward do. Chase had been successful in Ohio politics, and in the Treasury Department his administration was satisfactory to the public. He was the author of the national banking law. I remember going to dine with him one day – I did that pretty often, as I had known him well when I was on the Tribune – and he said to me: ‘I have completed to-day a very great thing. I have finished the National Bank Act. It will be a blessing to the country long after I am dead.'” 1

Historian Allan Nevins wrote that the prospect of war made Chase cautious in March 1861. Chase “had gone into the Cabinet with the reputation of an unflinching radical, the doughtiest champion of those whom C[harles]. F. Adams called the ramwells – that is, the diehards. But at the moment it was actually true that, as Greeley’s Washington correspondent wrote, he was no extremist, but ‘moderate, conciliatory, deliberate, and conservative.’ One important factor in his hesitation was his fear that a war would be very difficult, and perhaps impossible, to finance. He was under pressure from Eastern bankers who had warned him that they would not take his pending eight-million-dollar loan unless the government pursued a peace policy. Now he wrote Lincoln that if relieving the fort meant enlisting huge armies and spending millions, he would not advise it. It was only because he believed that the South might be cajoled by full explanations and other conciliatory gestures into accepting the relief effort without war that he supported it. That is, he was for relief only with careful explanations.” 2

Chase was as difficult as he was capable. Pennsylvania editor Alexander K. McClure wrote: “Salmon P. Chase was the most irritating fly in the Lincoln ointment from the inauguration of the new administration in 1861 until the 29 th of June, 1864, when his resignation as Secretary of the Treasury was finally accepted. He was an annual resigner in the Cabinet, having petulantly tendered his resignation in 1862, again in 1863, and again in 1864, when he was probably surprised by Mr. Lincoln’s acceptance of it. It was soon after Lincoln’s unanimous renomination, and when Chase’s dream of succeeding Lincoln as President had perished, at least for the time. He was one of the strongest intellectual forces of the entire administration, but in politics he was a theorist and a dreamer and was unbalanced by overmastering ambition.” 3

Salmon Portland Chase was born in 1808 in New Hampshire, the son of a farmer-manufacturer. His father died when he was nine and when he was 12, he was sent to Ohio to leave with his Uncle Philander where he was educated as schools his uncle headed until he was 15. Like Mr. Lincoln, he found farming chores distasteful. He returned to New Hampshire where he entered Dartmouth as a 16-year-old sophomore, graduating when he was 18. Like eventual Republican rival William H. Seward, he tried an early stint at teaching. He taught school while in college and on graduation went to Washington on his uncle’s recommendation where he spent three years as a teacher. He was not, however, very patient in teaching or politics.

Chase’s high birth helped to give him a high opinion of himself. According to biographer John Niven, “As a politician he was not trusted even by close associates. His family and his education marked him as an aristocrat in the frontier city where he settled. And even after Cincinnati became a more populous, cosmopolitan urban center in the 1840s and 1850s. Chase’s eastern college background and his Episcopalian faith did not evoke the mass enthusiasm that would have made him more attractive to his political associates.” 4

Chase studied law without much diligence, was admitted to the bar at age 24, and moved to Cincinnati to begin his practice. (In Washington, he had become something of a protégé of Attorney General William Wirt, who acted as a father figure to him.) He was perhaps a better editor and writer than attorney in 1832 Chase 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. He took on a succession of partners and a parade of legal clerks, who were expected to aid in Chase’s own political pursuits as well as his legal ones.

In marriage, Chase had less luck than in the law. His first wife died less than two years after their marriage in 1834 their daughter died before she reached five. He had three daughters by his second marriage in 1839 two daughters died as did his wife in 1845. His third marriage in 1846 lasted only six years before his wife died, survived by one of their two children.

Progressively during the 1830s, 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, since Cincinnati was too close to the South to encourage abolitionist thinking. He developed a reputation as the “attorney general of fugitive slaves” – even though he lost all of his cases. 5 Chase argued repeatedly: “The honor, the welfare, the safety of our country, imperiously require the absolute and unqualified divorce of the government from slavery.” 6

Chase advocated the “denationalization of slavery” – restricting it in all places over which the federal government had control and limiting to slave-holding states. According to Chase, the Constitutional prohibition against deprivation of “life, liberty or property except by due process of law” meant that the Constitution could not be used to justify slavery.

Chase’s political career was much more checkered than Mr. Lincoln’s. He spent most of the 1830s as a Whig, abandoning that party in 1841 for the Liberty Party, then helping to organize the Free Soil Party in 1848. He became a Democrat with his election to the Senate in 1849 (over Whig Joshua Giddings) and was effectively frozen out of Senate business and the Democratic caucus by his abolitionist ideas. He was also pro-immigrant, pro-land grants, but anti-pork. Along with New York Senator William H. Seward he gave one of the great speeches against the Compromise of 1850 although he lacked much personal or political empathy with Seward. He worked during this period to strengthen “free Democracy” without much success.

Like Mr. Lincoln, he cultivated the newspaper editors. Like Mr. Lincoln, he was appalled by mobs – as when mobs threatened newspaper editor James Birney (in a case similar to that of Elijah Lovejoy in Illinois) Like Mr. Lincoln, he helped found a “Lyceum,” and one of the lectures he delivered was entitled the “Effects of Machinery.” Unlike Mr. Lincoln, he was not a good stump speaker but he was a good writer, especially of political platforms. He was better at speaking to small groups than with large audiences. Biographer Albert Bushnell Hart wrote: “Though Chase never could learn the quickness and adroitness which made Seward and [John] Hale such formidable debaters, he knew how to argue, and especially how to state great principles in a popular form.” 7 Biographer Hart wrote: “It was not in Chase’s nature to be persuasive in all his public life his successes were those of the downright man, convincing without pleasing. Himself a most capable legislator when in the Senate, he had little patience with slow intellects, and less of that urbane yielding of non-essentials which secures the adoption of the larger matters of principle.” 8

Chase was also a good slogan maker. In the Senate, he coined the phrase: “Freedom is national slavery only is local and sectional.” He wrote President-elect Lincoln, “let the word pass from the head of the column before the Republicans move…the simple watchword – Inauguration first – adjustment afterwards.” 9 He also came up with “In God We Trust.” 10 He coined the phrase, “Free Soil, Free Labor and Free Men.”

Historian Eric Foner wrote: “Chase’s interpretation of the Constitution thus formed the legal basis for the political program which was created by the Liberty party and inherited in large part by the Free Soilers and Republicans….In 1850, Chase wrote to Charles Sumner that his political outlook could be summarized in three ideas: 1. That the original policy of the Government was that of slavery restriction. 2. That under the Constitution Congress cannot establish or maintain slavery in the territories. 3. 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.” 11

In 1854, Senator Chase was responsible for the “Appeal of the Independent Democrats in Congress to the People of the United States” – a strong criticism of Douglas’ proposal on slavery. He was one of the leading constitutional theorists for the anti-slavery movement. “Chase developed an interpretation of American history which convinced thousands of northerners that anti-slavery was the intended policy of the founders of the nation, and was fully compatible with the Constitution. 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.” 12

In some ways, he was caught between his ambition and his sense of duty. Like Mr. Lincoln, he had trouble helping to provide for his relatives, especially his alcoholic brother Alexander and younger brother William. But Chase had even less luck with political 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.S. Senate. He sought to replace James Birney as the presidential candidate of the Liberty Party in 1848. As biographer John Niven noted: “From that encounter and kindred experiences he learned that one must be very careful with abolitionists, who dealt in moral absolutes. They were a querulous, changeable lot, suspicious and with good reason of political parties. Coming from an evangelistic tradition – many of them Protestant ministers – they were accustomed to exhortation and moral persuasion through the religious press, pamphlets, books and lectures. Most considered themselves missionaries carrying God’s will to a heathen nation.” 13 Niven quotes John McLean as observing: “Chase is the most unprincipled man politically that I have ever known. 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.” 14 In his biography, Frederick Blue observed of Chase in 1848: “…at this early stage in his career, he sought high station instead by operating as a manager and organizer, a behind-the-scenes ‘compromiser’ who also turned his private tragedies into deep, uncompromising concerns for the oppressed.” 15

Curiously, Chase was both a moral puritan and an opportunistic politician. Chase lacked charisma but he had no lack of moral rectitude. He lacked a knack for political manipulation. He sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1856 but suffered from a divided Ohio delegation. His reelection in 1857 suffered from revelations of corruption within his own administration (but not him) – he won by only 1500 votes. Part of Chase’s problem was that his own concept of moral error was not shared. Purity conflicted with deal-making. One Democratic leader told some Cincinnati men: “Boys! I see you have been talking with Chase. He is courting you young men. Avoid him. He is a political vampire. Não! He’s a sort of moral bull-bitch.” 16 His subordinates at the Treasury Department frequently did not have the same rectitude – whether supervising customs or the cotton trade. William Reynolds, the Chase appointee for Port Royal, was one of those associated with corruption. 17 Problems with his appointees led to a confrontation with President Lincoln and Chase’s resignation in late June 1864.

Fellow Ohioan Benjamin Wade said of Chase: “Chase is a good man, but his theology is unsound. He thinks there is a fourth person in the Trinity.” 18 Biographer Albert Bushnell Hart wrote: “As a politician, Chase lacked conciliation and alertness yet he did first and last win many votes for the measures and the men whom he supported. He was in large degree an opportunist. In the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, where his qualities as a man were perhaps more clearly revealed than in any other episode of his life, he did everything that could be done to modify the bill, except to give up the principles upon which his objection was founded….,”

But Chase’s moralism had an important impact wrote biographer Hart. “Chase saw more clearly than any other public man of his time, except Lincoln, the importance, the necessity, and the moral effect of sticking to a consistent principle. He entered public life as an anti-slavery man, and nothing ever drew him aside from what he conceived to be the right of the bondman, and the parallel right of the community to be freed from bondage.” 19 He had difficulty inspiring warm political allies, but managed to be a mentor to many younger politicians and lawyers like future President James Garfield.

Biographer Albert Bushnell Hart wrote: …in his own lifetime Chase had fewer warm friends and admirers than almost any one of these rivals, and that somehow he repeatedly gave an impression of smallness in small matters, which dimmed his reputation. This came first of all from his measuring himself with Lincoln, and in that unhappy difference he did not show a great man’s appreciation of another great man’s character and personality.” 20 That deficiency was clear at the 1860 Republican National Convention. At the State Convention, Chase was endorsed 375-73. Unlike Mr. Lincoln, he did not assure the unity of his home state delegation in 1860. He got 34 of the state’s votes on the first ballot 12 delegates supported other candidates. He got only 15 votes from other non-Ohio delegates. However, the chairman of the Ohio delegation, former Congressman David Carrter, was not a strong Chase Partisan. And, noted biographer John Niven, Senator “Ben Wade was running a covert campaign in part to block Chase for whom he had formed a distinct personal dislike and in part because he thought his credentials were as good if not better than any other western man for the nomination.” 21 At the Chicago convention, David Carrter changed four votes to Lincoln when he stuttered: “I rise (eh) Mr. Chairman (eh), to announce the change of four votes of Ohio from Mr. Chase to Mr. Lincoln.” 22 Chase simply did not inspire enthusiasm or loyalty.

Chase had again been elected to the Senate on February 3, 1860, defeating George Pugh, the Democrat who had been elected to succeed him six years earlier. He had to relinquish that position to join the cabinet in March 1861. After Mr. Lincoln’s election in November 1860, Chase tried to keep New York’s William H. Seward and Indiana’s Caleb Smith out of Lincoln’s cabinet. Chase worried about too many Whigs in the Cabinet. Seward’s friends worried about too many Democrats. Seward tried to keep out Chase, Welles and Blair, all former Democrats. Meanwhile, Senator Chase served as an Ohio representative on the Peace commission and used his influence to see that it did not go anywhere.

Like other members of the Lincoln cabinet, Chase was a busybody who refused to confine his thoughts to his responsibilities. At the beginning of the War, he took particular responsibility for affairs in Kentucky. He also took an active part in military appointments. “Throughout the war Chase kept up his great interest in the conduct of the army, and he maintained close correspondence with many of the commanders, – at first with McClellan, later with Hooker, Lander, H.B. Carrington, Mitchell, Garfield, McCook, W.B. Smith, Benham, and many others. Western officers and politicians were especially fond of seeking his military influence,” wrote biographer Bushnell. 23 Chase’s own responsibilities include a trade, revenue, and expenditures as well as some elements of reconstruction.

Patronage was important to cabinet officers. They were not shy about imposing their wishes on departments other than their own. Chase interfered in the War Department and criticized Seward for appointing an insufficient number of diplomats from Ohio. Well-placed patronage was one of the great advantages of the Treasury Department. Customs agents were the most lucrative positions, but Chase also utilized agents who worked with freed slaves and in collecting revenue.

Although Chase tried to align patronage with principle, he may have been less successful than he believed. Historian William Frank Zornow wrote: “”When someone implored him once for an appointment on the ground that it would help his campaign for the Presidency, Chase wrote with much repugnance, ‘I should despise myself if I felt capable of appointing or removing a man for the sake of the Presidency.’ Yet on many occasions he betrayed much interest in the matter of making proper appointments for political reasons, and Edward Bates confided in his diary that ‘Mr. Chase’s head is turned by his eagerness in pursuit of the presidency. For a long time back he has been filling all the offices in his own vast patronage with extreme partisans and contrives also to fill many vacancies properly belonging to other departments.’ 24

“Chase got appointments in other departments for his old law partner, Ball, for his brother, and for other kinsmen, and he himself appointed many other old friends but the evidence shows that he made it a principle to recognize merit and efficiency, and was glad to find it among his own friends and adherents, all of whom were of course Republicans or strong war Democrats,” wrote Albert Bushnell Hart. 25

Historian Burton J. Hendrick wrote: “Chase was opposed to compensated emancipation he agreed with the abolitionist view that this was giving malefactors payment for the restoration of stolen goods. Colonization, which Lincoln had been advocating for a long time, the Secretary also disapproved. His treatment for the Negro insisted on his elevation, so far as civil rights and citizenship were concerned, to an equality with whites. ‘How much better,’ he said, ‘would be a manly protest against prejudice against color! And a wise effort to give freemen homes in America! A military officer, emancipating at least the slaves of South Carolina, Georgia, and the Gulf States’ – the reference, of course, is to General Hunter, who had attempted the very thing – ‘would do more to terminate the war and ensure an early restoration of solid peace and prosperity than anything else that can be devised.” 26

Biographer Frederick J. Blue wrote: “The Sea Islands of South Carolina fell under Union control early in the war when Samuel F. DuPont’s South Atlantic Squadron took the area in November 1861. The Treasury Department, with its responsibility for confiscated and abandoned property, was given the task of administering the region. Because the planters had left behind many of their slaves as they fled inland, Chase had an opportunity to direct the first significant experiment in working with freedmen. In his eyes, those who had been abandoned could never be ‘reduced again to slavery’ by the government ‘without great inhumanity.’ He therefore quickly appointed his abolitionist friend Edward I Pierce of Boston to direct the effort to prepare them ‘for self-support by their own industry.’

Chase understood that he could not only use the Treasury Department to advance himself, politically, he could use the Treasury Department to advance the welfare of freed blacks in the South. “Chase received little encouragement in this effort from the rest of the cabinet or the president,” wrote biographer Frederick J. Blue. “He nonetheless reluctantly authorize Chase to give Pierce ‘such instructions in regard to Port Royal contrabands as may seem judicious.'” 27
Blue concluded: “To Chase the war had become a means to his long sought goal of emancipation, whereas to Lincoln emancipation was the means to a successful war and restoration of the Union. In other respects, their relationship had long since begun to deteriorate.” 28

Chase’s efforts to use the Treasury Department to advance to collapsed in February 1864 and his relations with the President deteriorated until he resigned at the end of June. Lincoln biographer Alonzo Rothschild wrote that the “seeming indifference of the Preident to his Secretary’s rivalry, as well as Mr. Lincoln’s failure to respond to that gentleman’s professions of affection, greatly mortified Mr. Chase. He had, to be sure, been retained in the cabinet under conditions that would ordinarily have warranted his dismissal but the relations between him and his superior were, from that time, less cordial even than ever.” 29

Even contemporary observers saw Chase’s duplicity. “When the true history of the differences between President Lincoln and Secretary of the Treasury Chase shall be written, it will not redound to the credit of the Secretary or his indiscreet and ambitious friends. The persistent effort of these men to break down the President during a great civil war were discreditable in the extreme,” wrote Ohio newspaperman William H. Smith. 30


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