Skip to comments.The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of Salmon P. Chase
Posted on 07/07/2014 2:31:08 AM PDT by iowamark
On July 4, 1864, four days after President Abraham Lincoln had surprised him by accepting his resignation, Treasury secretary Salmon P. Chase confided to his diary, I am too earnest, too antislavery [and] too radical.
Chase surely possessed each of these attributes in excess but they had little to do with his unexpected exit from Lincolns team of rivals. Rather, it was much more personal. Chases oft-repeated threat to quit had tested the forbearance of a beleaguered president once too often. Out of patience, Lincoln ended his tenure with the observation that you and I have reached a point of mutual embarrassment in our official relation which it seems cannot be overcome, or longer sustained.
It had been an unlikely partnership from the start. In 1860, Chases presidential ambitions were second to none. A staunch anti-slavery man, he had held a Senate seat and the Ohio governors chair, and in one contemporarys words looked as you would wish a statesman to look....
The last of Lincolns three rivals for the presidency to be offered a cabinet post William H. Seward was named secretary of state and Edward Bates attorney general...
Chases downfall proved short lived. In December Lincoln appointed him to the Supreme Court to succeed Chief Justice Roger Taney, who had died two months earlier. In a letter to his fiancée, Lincolns other secretary, John Nicolay, wrote that no other man than Lincoln would have had
the degree of magnanimity to thus forgive and exalt a rival who had so deeply and unjustifiably intrigued against him. It is, he continued, only another
illustration of the greatness of the President, in this age of little men.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com ...