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Edited by EDWIN WILEY, ALA., Ph.D.

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American- Educational Alliance


The Civil War Period, 1861 -1865


59. The End of the War and Its Economic and Political Effects


The United States




Chase's desire for the Presidency — The Pomeroy circular — Lincoln's attitude toward Chase — Lincoln's
nomination by the Ohio caucus — The Cleveland convention — The renomination of Lincoln and Johnson
— Lincoln's acceptance — Chase's hostility to the President and final resignation — The appointment of
Fessenden— The reconstruction theories of Sumner and Lincoln— The Wade-Davis bill — The Wade-Davis

LINCOLN'S term of office was to
expire on March 4, 1865, and
in the fall of 1864 an election
was to be held to decide whether
he should succeed himself or should
give way to some one else. Prepa-
rations for the nomination were
begun in the spring of 1864.
Lincoln's political position was quite
strong, yet there was considerable
disaffection, which had found its head
in Secretary Chase whose craving for
the Presidency was proverbial and
perennial. Chase had repeatedly de-
clared that he was not anxious for that
office, but would bow to public senti-
ment. His private correspondence
was permeated with an overweening-
anxiety for the nomination,* as an in-
stance of which, out of many, witness

* See, among other references. Warden, Life of
Chase, pp. 560. 563, 565, 573. Regarding this see
also William G. Brown. Lincoln's Rival in At-
lantic Monthly, vol. lxxxix., pp. 226-236.

the letter he wrote to his son-in-law,
Ex-Governor William Sprague, on
November 26, 1863, when the admin-
istration of Mr. Lincoln had run
scarcely two-thirds of its course :

" If I were controlled by merely personal senti-
ments I should prefer the reelection of Mr. Lin-
coln to that of any other man. But I doubt the
expediency of reelecting anybody, and I think a
man of different qualities from those the Presi-
dent has will be needed for the next four years.
I am not anxious to be regarded as that man;
and I am quite willing to leave that question to
the decision of those who agree in thinking that
some such man should be chosen." *

In January of 1864 a committee was
formed to secure Chase's nomination,
and Chase consented to allow his name
to be submitted " to the consideration
of the people." The movement in
Chase 's favor culminated in February
when the chairman of the committee,
Senator Samuel C. Pomeroy, of Kan-

Schuckers, Life of Chase, p. 494.


sas, issued a circular advocating the
nomination of Chase.* Late in Feb-
ruary the Pomeroy circular appeared
in one of the Washington news-
papers,! whereupon Chase wrote to
Lincoln stating that he had no knowl-
edge of the existence of the letter be-
fore seeing it in print, and frankly ex-
plaining his connection with the Pome-
roy committee. He thought this ex-
planation due to Lincoln, and asked
him to state if his action would preju-
dice the public interests under his
charge. \ Lincoln had long known of
Chase's candidacy, but he took no
notice of it, saying that Chase made a
good Secretary and he should keep
him where he was; that if he should
become President, all right, and that
he hoped the country would " never
have a worse man."|| Accordingly,
in answering Chase's letter, he said
that he was not influenced in any way
by politics and that no assault had
been made upon Chase at his instiga-
tion or with his countenance. § Chase
had regarded the support of Ohio as
essential to his candidacy, but as-
serted that if the majority of the peo-
ple of the State expressed a prefer-
ence for another he would cheerfully

* See Nicolay and Hay, Life of Lincoln, vol.
viii., pp. 318-321.

f Schuckers, Life of Chase, pp. 499-500. See
also Hart, Life of Chase.

% Nicolay and Hay, Life of Lincoln, vol. viii.,
p. 321; Warden, Life of Chase, p. 574; Schuckers,
Life of Chase, pp. 500-501.

|] Nicolay and Hay, Life of Lincoln, pp. 316-317.

§ Warden, Life of Chase, p. 575: Nicolay and
Hay, Life of Lincoln, vol. viii., p. 322 ; Schuckers,
Life of Chase, pp. 501-502.

acquiesce in their decision.* This
preference was indicated on February
25, when the Union members of the
Ohio legislature held a full caucus and
declared for the renomination of Lin-
coln. Hence, on March 5, 1864, Chase
wrote to James C. Hall that as the
Union members of the legislature had
selected another standard bearer it
became his duty to request that no
further consideration be given to his

The declaration by the Ohio caucus
was only one of many similar indica-
tions of Lincoln's popularity. J But
there were also numerous manifesta-
tions of hostility to his renomination.
After the abortive Pomeroy circular
the action of Lincoln's opponents took
shape in an attempt to postpone the
National convention. Among his op-
ponents were many influential men,
such as Henry Wilson, of Massachu-
setts, George W. Julian, Thaddeus
Stevens, Horace Greeley, William Cul-
len Bryant, and many Representatives
and Senators. Lincoln, however, was
so confident of his hold on the people
that he was not disturbed by the op-
position, feeling sure that he would
receive the nomination of his party. 1 1
His opponents, however, made one
last effort to prevent the nomination.
A call was issued for a mass meeting
of the people at Cleveland, Ohio, on

•Warden, Life of Chase, pp. 560-573.
f Schuckers, Life of Chase, pp. 502-503.
t See Nicolay and Hay, Life of Lincoln, vol. ix.,
p. 52 et seq.

|| Rhodes, United States, vol. iv., pp. 461-463.


May 31, a week before the assembling
of the Republican convention at Balti-
more. At the appointed time and
place, a few hundred men gathered,
adopted a platform, and nominated
John C. Fremont and General John
C. Cochrane, of New York.* The con-
vention might have passed by prac-
tically unnoticed had it not been
for the Democratic newspapers which
violently magnified its importance.
On the other hand, the Republican
press received the work of this con-
vention in the spirit of derision, and
Lincoln himself was much amused by
its proceedings. On receiving an ac-
count of it Lincoln is said to have
opened his Bible and read the follow-
ing words: "And everyone that was
in distress, and everyone that was in
debt, and everyone that was discon-
tented gathered themselves unto him;
and he became a captain over them:
and there were with him about four
hundred men."f Late in the summer
both Fremont and Cochrane withdrew
their names from the Cleveland ticket.
As the day for the convention at
Baltimore approached, the President
was besieged with solicitations to
make known his wishes regarding the
work before it. To all such inquiries
he turned a deaf ear, declining in any
way to interfere with or influence the
proceedings of the convention. The
delegates met on June 7, 1864, and

after the permanent organization of
the convention was effected the plat-
form was reported by Henry J. Ray-
mond, of New York. The first reso-
lution pledged the members and all
Union men to support the Government
in subduing the Confederacy; the
second approved the determination of
the Government not to make any com-
promise with the Confederates; the
third called for the extirpation of
slavery and an amendment to the Con-
stitution to that effect; the fourth
thanked the soldiers and sailors; the
fifth applauded the policies, measures
and patriotism of Abraham Lincoln;
the sixth urged the need of harmony
in the National councils; the seventh
affirmed that the Government was
bound to protect all those in its serv-
ice without regard to color; the
eighth urged the fostering of foreign
immigration; the ninth favored the
speedy construction of the Pacific rail-
road; the tenth declared the necessity
for rigid economy in the public ex-
penditures, and that the National faith
pledged for the redemption of the pub-
lic debt must be kept inviolate; and
the eleventh approved the Monroe
Doctrine.* These resolutions were
adopted with great unanimity and
then the nominations were made.
Every State gave its undivided sup-
port to Lincoln, with the exception of
Missouri, which, under positive in-

* Stanwood, History of Presidential Elections,
pp. 237-239.

f Nicolay and Hay. Life of Lincoln, vol. ix., pp.
40-41; Rhodes, United States, vol. iv., p. 464.

* For text of the platforms see Stanwood, His-
tory of Presidential Elections, pp. 239-241 ; Mc-
Dowell. Platforms of the Tico Great Political
Parties, pp. 21-24.


structions, cast its vote for Grant.
Before the result was announced, how-
ever, one of the delegates moved that
the nomination of Lincoln be declared
unanimous. This could not be done
until the result of the balloting was
made known. The first ballot showed
484 votes for Lincoln and 22 for
Grant. Missouri then changed its
vote, and the secretary announced the
grand total of 506 for Lincoln. There
were several candidates for the nomi-
nation for the Vice-Presidency, among
them being Hannibal Hamlin, of
Maine, Andrew Johnson, of Tennes-
see, and Daniel S. Dickinson, of New
York. When the first ballot was
counted it was found that Johnson had
received 200 votes; Hamlin, 150; and
Dickinson, 108; the other votes were
scattered among various other candi-
dates. Before the result was an-
nounced, however, almost the whole
convention turned their votes to John-
son, and on motion the nomination was
declared unanimous.* The next day
the President was informally notified
of his nomination, and replied that he
" could not conceal [his] gratification,
nor restrain the expression of [his]
gratitude " that he had been deemed
worthy to remain in the Presidential
office. "I do not allow myself," he
said, ' ' to suppose that either the con-
vention or the league have concluded
to decide that I am either the greatest

or the best man in America, but,
rather, they have concluded it is not
best to swap horses while crossing the
river, and have further concluded that
I am not so poor a horse that they
might not make a botch of it in trying
to swap."*

Meanwhile relations between Lin-
coln and Chase had not been of the
most cordial character. In December
of 1862, as we have seen, Chase had
offered his resignation but Lincoln
had not accepted it and the Secretary
returned to his duties. A little more
than two months afterward a differ-
ence occurred over the appointment
of an internal revenue collector in
Connecticut, but this difficulty was
patched up and again Chase retained
Ms office. Later, trouble arose over
a collector of customs at Puget Sound,
and as Lincoln insisted upon having
his own way Chase again tendered his
resignation. This time, however, Lin-
coln compromised the matter and told
Chase to think no more about his
resignation. Early in 1864 Lincoln
desired to make a change in the New
York customs house, as many com-
plaints of irregularity and inefficiency
had been received. Chase opposed
such action and seems to have gained
his point, for the collector was not
removed nor did he resign, but ill
repaid Chase's confidence later, by
embezzling a large sum of public

* Stanwood, History of Presidential Elections,
pp. 240-242; Nicolay and Hay, Life of Lincoln,
vol. ix., chap. iii. ; Rhodes, United States, vol. iv.,
pp. 469-470.

* Lincoln, Complete Works, vol. ii., p. 532. See
also McPherson, History of the Rebellion, p. 408;
Nicolay and Hay, Life of Lincoln, vol. ix., pp.


money and by fleeing in disgrace from
the country.*

On April 23 Francis P. Blair, Jr.,
of Missouri, brother of Postmaster-
General Blair, made an attack in the
House on Chase's integrity. Blair
charged that Chase had sacrificed a
vast public interest to advance his
ambition by prescribing trade regula-
tions with the South in a way to pro-
vide a fund which would secure his
own nomination for the Presidency.
Blair read several private letters sup-
porting this accusation and also a
communication from the head of a
banking institution in New York City
in which the charge was made that
Chase had given his son-in-law, Gov-
ernor Sprague, " a permit to buy cot-
ton at the South by which Sprague
would make $2,000,000," and that
Chase had allowed Jay Cooke and
Company, the financial agents of the
Government, an extra large commis-
sion in the disposal of the 5-20 bonds, f
Chase might have disregarded this
attack had not Lincoln apparently in-
dorsed Blair's words by restoring him
to his command in the army as major-
general of volunteers. Chase held
that this act made the President an
accomplice in Blair's offence, but Lin-
coln disavowed any design of thus
wounding Chase. t

* For divergent accounts see Nicolay and Hay,
Life of Lincoln, vol. ix., pp. 85-87; Schuckers,
Life of Chase, p. 477 et seq.

t This was denied in the House by John Sher-
man. See Globe, pp. 1046-1047.

% Nicolay and Hay, Life of Lincoln, vol. ix., pp.
79-81; Schuckers, Life of Chase, p. 480; Rhodes,
United States, vol. iv., pp. 476-477.

In the summer of 1864, after
Lincoln had been renominated, the
strained relations between Lincoln
and Chase came to a head. Mr. John
J. Cisco, who held the office of assist-
ant treasurer in New York City from
the beginning of President Pierce's
term, had expressed a desire to retire
because of ill-health, but had been per-
suaded to remain. In May of 1864,
however, he sent in his resignation to
become effective on June 30 follow-
ing. The second resignation could
not be declined and a successor was
sought. As it was an important post
a man of special capacity ought to
have been selected for the office and,
as politics to a great extent entered
into the matter, it was desirable that
the wishes of the New York Senators
be regarded. Senator E. D. Morgan,
of New York, suggested three men for
the post but they were unsatisfactory
to Chase. The latter in turn offered
the names of three gentlemen, who
declined, and he then resolved to des-
ignate M. B. Field, one of the assistant
secretaries of the Treasury. This
suggestion was opposed by Morgan
but Chase would not recede nor could
the two compromise upon a third
party. On June 28 Lincoln sent Chase
a note in which he expressed his re-
luctance to nominate Field because of
Morgan's opposition. In the mean-
time Chase had induced Cisco to with-
draw his resignation, which should
have ended the difficulty, but Chase
took umbrage at Lincoln's assertions
that the wishes of Morgan should be


consulted in the appointment and, on
June 29, resigned his office. On the
MOth Lincoln accepted the resignation,
and this ended Chase's career as Sec-
retary of the Treasury.*

The same day Lincoln sent to the
Senate the nomination of David Todd,
of Ohio, as Secretary of the Treasury.
The Senate Committee on Finance,
however, protested against Todd as
being too little known and too inex-
perienced for the place, and the Presi-
dent was relieved of any embarrass-
ment when Todd, that very evening,
declined the appointment on the
ground of ill-health. The next day,
July 1, Lincoln sent to the Senate
the nomination of William Pitt Fes-
senden, Senator from Maine. While
this message was being read in the
Senate Fessenden was urging upon
Lincoln the nomination of Hugh Mc-
Culloch. Lincoln informed him that
he had already sent his (Fessenden 's)
nomination to the Senate, whereupon
Fessenden asserted that he could not
accept it. Lincoln replied: " If you
decline you must do it in open day,
for I shall not recall the nomination, "f
The nomination was promptly con-

* Schuckers, Life of Chase, pp. 483-487 ; War-
den, Life of Chase, p. 605 et seq.; Nicolay and
Hay, Life of Lincoln, vol. ix., pp. 91-95; Rhodes,
United States, vol. iv., pp. 478-480. For letters
relating to the different appointments and to
Chase's resignation see Schuckers, Life of Chase,
pp. 489-510.

f Nicolay and Hay, Life of Lincoln, vol. ix., p.
99. See also Francis Fessenden, Life and Public
Services of W. P. Fessenden; William Salter,
William Pitt Fessenden, in Annals of Iowa,
series iii., vol. viii., pp. 321-343 (1908).

firmed and the appointment was gen-
erally approved.

Meanwhile, as we have seen, Lin-
coln had taken a few definite steps
toward reconstruction by appointing
military governors for the Southern
States then under Union control.
Simmer had already formulated his
doctrine of State suicide as a defini-
tion of the status of the seceded
States.* Sumner maintained that the
Southern States by the act of rebel-
lion had destroyed their corporate ex-
istence as self governing common-
wealths and at the same time all
legal basis for local institutions. He
claimed that Congress had the same
power over the Southern States which
it had over the Territories; that Con-
gress possessed the power and right
to organize new States out of the
territory embraced in the Confederate
States without regard to their present
limits or names; and that Congress
had also the right and power to de-
termine the racial, social, political,
religious, economic and other condi-
tions therein.f Lincoln did not deem it

♦Resolutions of February 11, 1862 (Globe, pp.
736-737), and December 4, 1865 (Globe, p. 2) ;
speech of December 20, 1865 (Globe, p. 92). See
also Pierce, Memoir and Letters of Charles Sum-
ner, vol. iv., pp. 72-75, 26S and footnote; Moor-
field Storey, Charles Sumner, pp. 217-219, 302,
307; A. L. Dawes, Charles Sumner, pp. 182-185,
239-242. See also Sumner's article, Our Domestic
Relations, or How to Treat the Rebel States, in
Atlantic Monthly, vol. xii., pp. 518-526 (October,
1863). See also biographies of Sumner by A. H.
Grimke, George H. Haynes (1910) and W. G.
Shotwell (1910).

t In this connection see Dunning, Essays on the
Civil War and Reconstruction, p. 105 et seq.


necessary to deny or affirm Sumner's
theory, for he considered that the dis-
cussion as to whether a State had
been out of the Union was academic,
vain and profitless. In his proclama-
tion of amnesty and reconstruction
issued on December 8, 1863, and in his
message of the same day to Congress,
he outlined his plan of reconstruction,
stating that whenever 10 per cent, of
the qualified voters according to the
election laws existing before secession
should take an oath of fealty to the
Constitution and promise to abide by
the acts of Congress and by the Presi-
dent 's proclamations respecting slaves
and should reestablish a State govern-
ment republican in form and in no
wise contravening said oath, they
should be recognized as the true gov-
ernment of the State.*

While a large number of the mem-
bers of Congress approved of this
message, f it met opposition from the
extreme radicals, which did not, how-
ever develop in Congress for some
time after the reading of the message.
The beginning of opposition was
started by Henry Winter Davis who
moved that the passages in the mes-
sage relating to reconstruction should
be sent to a special committee of which
he himself was chairman, and from
this committee on February 15, 1864,
came a bill requiring a majority of

* For the proclamation and message see Rich-
ardson, Messages and Papers, vol. vi., pp. 189—
191, 213-215. See also Nicolay and Hay, Life of
Lincoln, vol. ix., pp. 104-108.

f For some expressions of approval see Nicolay
and Hay, Life of Lincoln, vol. ix., p. 10ft et seq.

the white male citizens to constitute
the new State and exacting that the
State constitution should prohibit
slavery forever. This bill provided
also for the election of State officers
and of Representatives to Congress
practically taking the work out of the
President's hands and placing it un-
der Congressional supervision.* On
March 22 Davis supported his bill in
an energetic speech. He said that
Congress alone had the power to re-
vive the National laws in the Southern
States and that until Congress recog-
nized a State government organized
under its auspices there was no gov-
ernment in the Confederate States ex-
cept the authority of Congress. There
were only three ways of bringing
about a reorganization. One was to
remove the cause of the war by the
prohibition of slavery, but this did
not meet with his approval; the next
was the President's amnesty procla-
mation which he denounced as utterly
lacking in all the guarantees required ;
and the third was the plan outlined in
his bill for which he made a powerful

The bill was extensively debated in
the House and on May 4 was passed
by a vote of 73 to 59. It was called
up in the Senate by Benjamin F.
Wade, of Ohio, who, in supporting it,
used much the same argument ad-
vanced by Davis in the House. After
amendment the bill was returned to

* C. E. Chadsey, Struggle between President
Johnson and Congress over Reconstruction, in
Columbia University Studies in History, Econo-
mics and Public Laic, vol. viii.. No 1, pp. 18-20.



the House, but that body declined to
concur in the Senate amendment and
asked for a committee of conference.
The Senate then receded from its
amendment and on July 4 gave its
assent to the bill. Lincoln declined to
sign it because he doubted that Con-
gress had authority to act with re-
gard to slavery. A Senator stated
that the President himself had pro-
hibited slavery, whereupon Lincoln
replied : "I conceive that I may in
an emergency do things on military
grounds which cannot be done con-
stitutionally by Congress. ' ' The Sen-
ator afterward asserted to the mem-
bers of the Cabinet who were with
him: " I do not see how any of us
can deny and contradict what we have
always said, that Congress has no con-
stitutional power over slavery in the
States." After full deliberation Lin-
coln concluded that the bill was too
rigid and too restrictive in its pro-
visions to accomplish the work de-
sired. However, being unwilling to
reject whatever of practical good
might be effected by it, he resolved,
a few days after Congress had ad-
journed, to allow the people to choose
from among the methods proposed.
Accordingly on July 8 he issued a
proclamation stating that he would
recognize any State organized under
the provisions of the Wade-Davis

* Richardson, Messages and Papers, vol. vi., pp.
222-223; Lincoln's Complete Works, vol. ii., p.
545 ; Nicolay and Hay, Life of Lincoln, vol. ix.,
p. 123. See also Burgess, Reconstruction and the
Constitution, pp. 15-19; John Sherman, Recollec-

The great mass of the Republican
voters regarded Lincoln's proclama-
tion as the wisest and most practical
method of handling the question, but
the indignation of the extreme rad-
icals at seeing their work brought to
nothing could not be restrained. On
August 5 Wade and Davis published
a protest addressed "To the Sup-
porters of the Government," bitterly
attacking the President. They stated
that the President's act was " rash
and fatal" that the "authority of
Congress is paramount and must be
respected; that the whole body of
Union men of Congress would not
submit to be impeached by him of
rash and unconstitutional legisla-
tion " and that he must " confine him-
self to his executive duties — to obey
and execute not make the laws.
If the supporters of the government
fail to insist on this they become
responsible for the usurpations which
they fail to rebuke, and are justly
liable to the indignation of the people
whose rights and security, committed
to their keeping, they sacrifice. Let
them consider the remedy of these
usurpations, and, having found it,
fearlessly execute it."*

tions of Forty Years in the House, Senate and
Cabinet, vol. L, pp. 359-361; Blaine, Twenty

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