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Monday, December 30, 2013

1860 Republican Presidential Convention: Local J.V. Robinson of Portsmouth Witness to "Honest Abe" History




Sometimes a local connection to history makes an event more personal. I discovered that J.V. Robinson, Jr. of Portsmouth, Scioto County, Ohio, had been a delegate from Ohio to the 1860 Republican National Convention. J.V. is listed as born October 19, 1790 and died on January 8, 1865.

Also, in Greenlawn Cemetery information online, a J.V. Robinson, Jr., Major is said to be buried in Greenlawn's South Section (Robinson). Possibly someone knows more. I have no idea of the discrepancy in the dates. Here is the information I found:

ROBINSON, J. V. , Major, Jr.       I.R. Apr 3, 1862

"Died in Portsmouth, March 23d, Major J. V. Robinson, Jr., aged 42 years. The son of J. V. Robinson, Sr. He was among the first of our citizens to respond to his country's call, and immediately upon offering his services, was appointed by Gov. Dennison as Major of the 33d Regiment. .. The well known Piketon campaign is acknowledged by our troops during the war..."

(Portsmouth Tribune)

The Election of 1860 was probably the most important political event in American history. Most know of the election, yet few are aware some very interesting facts and accounts about the nomination and election of Abraham Lincoln. The election was high drama full of intrigues.

The Republican National Convention met in mid-May in Chicago at the Wigwam, a rickety hall that held 10,000 people. It was chaired by New Yorker Edwin D. Morgan. In 1860 Chicago was a city of 100,000 population and on May 16, 1860 the party brought an estimated 40,000 strangers (mostly brought in by Lincoln’s campaign team) and 500 delegates to the convention.



At the convention, the overwhelming favorite for the nomination was William Seward, a senator from New York and, arguably, the most respected Republican in the country.

William Seward went to the convention with a much higher national profile than that of Lincoln. Lincoln's great virtue in 1860 was that he had not been nationally prominent long enough to have powerful enemies or a real reputation. His debates with Stephen Douglas had raised his political profile in the East but not across the country. Few outside of Illinois gave Lincoln a chance to win the nomination.

The upstart Abraham Lincoln of Illinois had other competent opponents at the convention. Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania, and Edward Bates of Missouri were all considered rival Republican candidates.

William Seward was a formidable defender of freedom. It was Seward, not Lincoln, who held the most outspoken views against slavery. Seward was an avid abolitionist, who was sincerely regarded by "the general public, a very large portion of the truest antislavery men, and the most cultured Republicans, as their best representative," wrote Seward biographer Frederic Bancroft. 

Lincoln was much more moderate in his views on the issue of slavery. Lincoln’s thought was that if slavery was prohibited in new territories it would eventually end in the states where it previously existed.  The Republican Party even supported a Constitutional amendment disallowing further Congressional interference in slavery in the South.  Lincoln also recognized the legitimacy of the Fugitive Slave Clause of the Constitution and agreed with continued enforcement of this clause.

When Abraham Lincoln came to New York City in February 1860 to deliver his address at Cooper Union, it was something of a strategic move on Lincoln's part to speak in the heart of Seward's territory. In his speech, Lincoln contended that the founding fathers had intended Congress to regulate slavery. The New York City newspapers carried the text of his speech the next day, with the New York Times running the speech on the front page. The favorable publicity was astounding, and Lincoln went on to speak in several other cities in the east before returning to Illinois.

Seward had voiced his opposition to the Compromise of 1850 and his hatred of slavery by saying, "there is a higher law than the Constitution" which should guide American actions regarding slavery. Here is the context of that important quote:

"But there is a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our authority over the domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes. The territory is a part, no inconsiderable part, of the common heritage of mankind, bestowed upon them by the Creator if the universe. We are his stewards, and must so discharge our trust as to secure in the highest attainable degree their happiness."

Eight years later, he coined the term "irrepressible conflict" in describing the state of relations between the North and the South as long as slavery remained alive in the nation. This was very controversial as Western states, especially, did not see a struggle with the South as a forgone conclusion

"Shall I tell you what this collision means? They who think that it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested or fanatical agitators, and therefore ephemeral, mistake the case altogether. It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slave-holding nation or entirely a free-labor nation."

It would take 233 votes to win the nomination, and the Seward had nearly a third of that in his home state New York delegation alone. But, many historians believe William Seward made some definite mistakes even before the Republican Convention that cost him the nomination of his party.

At the time, New York was the corruption capital of the United States. Seward was closely associated with the men at the top of the corrupt empire including newspaper publisher Thurlow Weed, who some regarded as Seward's boss. At the least, Weed was Seward's his political ally and friend.

Weed alienated many Midwestern Republicans, who feared this political corruption. Weed's history as a strong-arm Whig political boss - offensive to many former Democrats in the new party. At the time, the Republicans were considered as the rank and file.

In 1859, confident of gaining the presidential nomination and advised by Thurlow Weed that he would be better off avoiding political gatherings where his words might be misinterpreted by one faction or another, Seward left the country for an eight-month tour of Europe.

During Seward's absence, Lincoln and his political supporters worked diligently to line up support. More than perhaps at any other time in his life, Lincoln's friends effectively rallied on his behalf in Chicago, the site of the convention.

Then, after returning to the United States, Seward gave a conciliatory, pro-Union Senate speech that reassured moderates but alienated some radical Republicans. Even, his old friend Horace Greeley, founder of the Liberal Republican Party and famous newspaper editor of the New York Tribune (likely the most influential newspaper from the 1840s to the 1870s), turned against Seward and believed his radical reputation made him unelectable.

Horace Greeley began to back Missouri attorney Edward Bates for nomination and swore to have revenge on Greeley, As it turned out, Greeley was a failure in advancing the candidacy of Bates but a success in helping torpedo fellow New Yorker Seward.

Additionally, Seward's long-established support for Irish immigrants, the basis of his New York City constituency, turned away former members of the anti-immigrant American Party, whose votes were needed to carry Pennsylvania and other states in the lower North.

Another problem facing Steward was his belief black males should have the right to vote. This was not as accepted in the west as it was in the east. Some people regarded him as a visionary. 

Shortly before the convention, some sources say, the "politician" in Seward came to the fore. Seward tried to moderate his views before the convention, but that only made him seem like an insincere opportunist. To avoid a radical label after Harper's Ferry, candidate Seward dispensed with the traditional "free" and "slave" state monikers, and began calling them "capital" and "labor" states. John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry had not abated the Northeast's radical views, but in trying to widen his appeal to the western Republicans, Seward began to alienate some of his core constituency in the east. 



Abraham Lincoln "Out Politics" the New York Contingency

Many considered Abraham Lincoln a provincial with little chance to take the nomination. Lincoln was comparatively unknown; he had few enemies, and was strong in the doubtful Western states which had been carried by the Democrats in 1856. His "availability," to use a modern political phrase, commended him to the delegates.

Several actions occurred in 1859 and early 1860 which helped advance Mr. Lincoln's chances. The first was the selection of Chicago as the site of the Republican convention - a decision shrewdly engineered by the Illinois Republican chairman Norman B. Judd to give Mr. Lincoln the home court advantage.

Abraham Lincoln nurtured his 1860 presidential candidacy while politely denigrating it. Lincoln grudgingly accepted the new nickname of "The Rail Splitter." He actually did not like being reminded of the manual labor he had performed in his youth, but at the state convention he managed to joke about splitting fence rails. And this image did help Lincoln did get the support of the Illinois delegation to the Republican National Convention.

Lincoln provided them with some tactical guidance and limitations of engagement, which included an admonishment to “make no deals that bind me.”  Lincoln cautioned his delegate hunters "to give no offense, and keep cool under all circumstances."

The candidate once even telegraphed the master-minded campaign manager David Davis, “I authorize no bargains and will be bound by none.” To which the campaign manager responded, “Lincoln ain’t here, and don't know what we have to meet, so we will go ahead, as if we hadn't heard from him, and he must ratify it.'” And, therefore, Davis made political deals to bring various state delegations into the Lincoln camp.

As a side note, although the convention was held in Lincoln’s home state. Lincoln himself did not attend. He waited in Springfield for the results. At that time it was thought unseemly for candidates to chase after political office, and so he stayed at home. Urged by friends to go to Chicago, Lincoln begged off. "I am a little too much a candidate to stay home," he remarked, "and not quite enough a candidate to go." 

Seward also did not attend. He sent his political manager, Thurlow Weed, along with his states’ 70 delegates and 13 railroad cars of supporters. Seward and Weed knew they were at a disadvantage by being on Lincoln "turf," but Weed was prepared to acquire Illinois votes on the second ballot by offering Lincoln the vice-presidential spot. He and his supporters reckoned that consolation should secure Seward’s nomination in the event of a tough floor fight. 

But by May, Lincoln had established a solid group of campaign managers like David Davis and supporters who came to the Republican convention prepared to deal, maneuver, and line up votes for him. In a critical decision, the Illinois delegation also vowed to vote for Lincoln in a bloc.

Historian Paul N. Angle noted that Lincoln might not have won the nomination "if Lincoln's interests had not been entrusted to as shrewd a group of manipulators as existed anywhere in the United States. Norman B. Judd, David Davis, Leonard Swett, O.H. Browning, Stephen T. Logan, Ward H. Lamon - these were the men who, with skill seldom equaled, struck just the right balance of forces to make inevitable the selection of the Springfield lawyer."

(Paul M. Angle. Here I Have Lived,” A History of Lincoln’s Springfield. 1950)

And, Lincoln's supporters had a grand strategy: they assumed that if Seward could not win the nomination on the first ballot, Lincoln might gain votes on later ballots. The strategy was based on the notion that Lincoln had not offended any particular faction of the party, as some other candidates had, therefore people could come together around his candidacy. 

With multiple ballots in mind, Illinois delegation chairman Norman Judd and Joseph Medill of the Chicago Daily Press and Tribune placed the New York delegates off to one side, far from key swing states such as Pennsylvania. The gerrymandering of the Seward-voting New York delegates into a far corner of the convention floor also assured they couldn't easily be heard -- no microphones in 1860.

Press coverage helped Lincoln in Chicago. The delegates arriving in the Windy City in 1860 were greeted by a Chicago Press and Tribune front-page banner announcing "The Winning Man — Abraham Lincoln." The efforts of the Illinois delegation had forged together in a single-minded campaign to "stop Seward."

On May 18, the critical day of voting, Lincoln's supporters arranged to pack the hall by printing counterfeit tickets and distributing them to his supporters for early arrival. While Seward supporters partied the night before, Lincoln's partisans prepared to insure victory.

The 70-member New York delegation was chaired by attorney William M. Evarts. Historian Glyndon Van Deusen cited Jeter Allen Isely for a view of the congregation:

"Men like Governor [John A.] King, [Richard] Blatchford, Moses H. Grinnell, [John L.] Schoolcraft, and William M. Evarts lent dignity to the group, but others were politicians of a rougher sort. This gentry, heartened by the music of the famous Dodsworth's band, drank everybody's whisky, slapped backs, boasted that New York had oceans of cash to spend on the campaign, and made vociferous complaint about that 'damned old ass' Horace Greeley when they were not rending air with shouts for 'Old Irrepressible.'

"Weed, surrounded by New York followers and the band hired to play the triumphal march, roared in on a special train to fix up matters. His lieutenants headed like homing pigeons to the nearest bars, to influence voters."

(Jeter Allen Isely, Horace Greeley and the Republican Party, 1863-1861: 
A Study of the New York Tribune. 1947)

The coarse nature of the Seward supporters that he had imported to Chicago did not improve his image while the enthusiastic nature of Illinois Republicans grew to a crescendo. The evenings had been spent in the caucusing of delegates. Weed’s approach was to offer champagne for the present and “oceans of money” for the future.

One account admiringly reported that "Lincoln's organizers had recruited 1,000 of the loudest shouters in the state" to drown out the competition. The Lincoln camp also assigned two men with noted stentorian voices to lead the cheering. The following is from Carl Sandburg’s Lincoln:

“Lamon and Fell got a thousand men recruited for their lung powers; they had been given tickets and were on hand.  They watched their leaders, two men located on opposite sides of the Whigwam [Convention Hall].  One of them, Dr. Ames of Chicago, it was said, could 'on a calm day' be heard clear across Lake Michigan.  The other one, brought by Delegate Burton Cook, could give out with a warm monster voice.  These two leather lungs watched Cook on the platform; when he took out his handkerchief they cut loose with all they had and kept it up until Cook put his handkerchief back. They were joined by the thousand recruits picked for voice noise.”

The Lincoln strategy worked. One thousand Seward men marched behind a smartly uniformed brass band. They wound their way noisily through Chicago’s streets, playing the song “Oh, Isn’t He a Darling?” and finally arrived triumphantly in front of the Wigwam. To their horror, they found that they could not get in: the Lincoln men, admitted with their counterfeit tickets, had taken their seats.

Still, Seward had his share of support. When his name was offered in nomination, tremendous applause went up from the audience -- followed by louder applause for Lincoln. The crowd quickly recognized them as the front-runners when the other candidates received less enthusiastic commendation.  

As Mr. Delano of Ohio, on behalf  "of a portion of the delegation of that State," seconded the nomination of Lincoln, the uproar was beyond description.The effect was startling. Hundreds of persons stopped their ears in pain. The shouting was absolutely frantic, shrill and wild.

Cincinnati newspaperman Murat Halstead wrote that when Lincoln's nomination was seconded, the Wigwam nearly exploded:

"The uproar was beyond description. Imagine all the hogs ever slaughtered in Cincinnati giving their death squeals together, a score of big steam whistles going … and you conceive something of the same nature." 

Before the balloting began, the division of "irrepressibles" and "conservatives" had effectively eliminated all of Seward's rivals except Lincoln and Bates according to Seward biographer Frederic Bancroft. "The natural tendency of Seward's prominence was to cause the delegates in favor of other candidates to cooperate in opposition to him."

(Frederic Bancroft, The Life of William H. Seward, 2011)

On the first ballot, Seward, as expected, led with 173 votes. Lincoln was next with 102. Cameron received 50; Chase got 49; Bates 48; and the rest received a handful each. Seward did not have enough votes for a majority.

On the second ballot Lincoln gained a number of votes but there was still no winner. Vermont was the first state to make a major shift -- all 10 votes went to Lincoln, a significant blow to Seward. Lincoln had taken the momentum. The final tally on the second ballot was 184 for Seward and 181 for Lincoln.

At this point, a crucial political shift occurred. Although Abraham Lincoln had warned his allies against making bargains, he wasn't around to stop them, and they did what they thought necessary to get him the nomination. Historians disagree on the single action that nominated Lincoln on the third ballot.

* Some say it involved the transfer to Lincoln of the votes of fifty delegates who were pledged to Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania. It is said this transfer was made in consequence of a promise given by Lincoln's friends that Cameron have a cabinet position; it should, however, be said that this was in opposition to Lincoln's express direction.

* Another account recalls when Lincoln was "tantalizing close" to winning the nomination, Joseph Medill, the co-owner and managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, sat close to the chairman of the Ohio delegation, which had backed its favorite son, Salmon P. Chase. "Swing your votes to Lincoln," Medill whispered, "and your boy (Chase) can have anything he wants." The Ohio chairman shot out of his chair and changed the state's votes.

* Here is yet another account that involved Ohio delegates. Ballot three began. Lincoln continued to pick up votes--4 more from Kentucky, 15 from Ohio--while Seward lost votes. When the pencils stopped scratching, Lincoln had 231 and a half votes--one and a half short of those needed for the nomination.

A hush fell, and all eyes turned toward David Kellogg Cartter of Ohio, who stuttered out: “I-I arise, Mr. Chairman, to a-announce the ch-change of four votes, from Mr. Chase to Abraham Lincoln!” For a moment, the audience was silent--then it erupted.

Reports of the time say the flimsy Wigwam began to shake with the stomping of feet and the shouting of the Lincoln backers who packed the hall and blocked the streets outside. One of Lincoln's closest friends and associates Leonard Swett reported the stamping of feet "made every plank and pillar in the building quiver. A thousand steam whistles, ten acres of hotel gongs, a tribe of Comanches, headed by a choice vanguard from pandemonium, might have mingled in the scene unnoticed."

A cannon on the roof fired off a round, the courthouse bell rang out, and soon church bells around the city took up the peal. The sound inside was so deafening that the only way people could tell that cannons outside the Wigwam were being fired was by watching the smoke drift from the barrels.


Back home in Springfield, presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln visited the office of a local newspaper on May 18, 1860, and received the news by telegraph. He walked home to tell his wife Mary that he would be the Republican nominee for president.

Aftermath

Richard Norton Smith, founding director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield and a scholar-in-residence at George Mason University, summed the convention up like this:

"The survival of the Union, and the new birth of freedom that brought immortality to America's 16th president, had been sealed by that most classic of Chicago political devices, a wink and a nod."

(Richard Norton Smith. "Happy Anniversary, Abe." Chicago Tribune. May 16, 2010)
Ohio journalist Murat Halstead, who covered the Republican convention, viewed the two -- Seward and Lincoln -- as opposites. He said this:

"The fact of the convention was the defeat of Seward rather than the nomination of Lincoln. It was the triumph of a presumption of availability over pre-eminence in intellect and unrivaled fame — a success of the ruder qualities of manhood and the more homely attributes of popularity, over the arts of a consummate politician, and the splendor of accomplished statesmanship."

 (Paul M. Angle and Earl Schenck Miers, editor. Fire the Salute)

Of course, New Yorkers were outraged. One publication from New York commenting on Abraham Lincoln's nomination for president at the Republican National Convention said: 

"The conduct of the Republican Party in this nomination is a remarkable indication of small intellect, growing smaller. They pass over...statesmen and able men, and they take up a fourth rate lecturer, who cannot speak good grammar." 

  (New York Herald. May 19, 1860)
The Republican platform opposed the expansion of slavery, but accepted it as a local institution in slaveholding states. The nomination of Abraham Lincoln was received with some indignation by the abolitionists. he had always actively disliked slavery, and he came into national prominence as a politician by strenuously opposing its extension into the territories.

Douglas L. Wilson, George A. Lawrence Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of English and co-director of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College, discusses just that point: 

"Lincoln, by contrast, never put his antipathy for slavery ahead of his allegiance to the Constitution. He admitted privately that he hated to see slaves “hunted down, and caught, and carried back to their stripes,” but he classed himself in 1855 with “the great body of the Northern people [who] do crucify their feelings, in order to maintain their loyalty to the constitution and the Union.

"Perhaps in even starker contrast to most abolitionists, Lincoln did not believe that slaveholders were inherently evil. He argued, rather, that they were, like their northern counterparts, merely products of their environment.

"For Lincoln, the agitation and moral posturing of the abolitionists constituted the wrong approach in a democratic society, because it was ultimately incompatible with majority rule. Though slavery was morally wrong, he believed that the founders, by various means, had placed slavery on the path to ultimate extinction. Rather than agitate for its speedy removal, Lincoln thought a more prudent plan would be to keep slavery from spreading so that it would eventually die.

"With his Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, Lincoln succeeded in winning over many of the most influential abolitionists, including the man who had once called the Constitution “a covenant with death and an agreement with Hell,” William Lloyd Garrison. By pushing hard for passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed slavery, Lincoln arrived, at long last, at a definitive point of agreement with the abolitionists."

(Douglas L. Wilson. "Lincoln  and Abolitionism."  
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 2009-2013)


There is an ironic footnote to the convention story: A few blocks from the Wigwam, on the second night of the convention, the McVicker’s Theater was opening “Our American Cousin” --the play Lincoln would be watching at Ford’s Theater his last night on Earth.



 The Election of 1860

A Republican win would end the South's political dominance of the Union. Southerners had been President of the U.S. for two-thirds of the time since 1789, and none of the northern Presidents had ever won reelection. Up to that point in American history, southerners had also controlled the speakership of the House, the presidents pro tem of the Senate, and the majority of Supreme Court justices for most of the time.  

In the 1860 election, the Democratic Party split into two factions. The northern Democrats nominated Lincoln’s perennial rival, Senator Stephen A. Douglas. The southern Democrats nominated John C. Breckenridge, the incumbent vice president, a pro-slavery man from Kentucky.

Those who felt they could support neither party, mainly disaffected former Whigs and members of the Know-Nothing Party (I love that name for a political party, don't you?), formed the Constitutional Union Party and nominated John Bell of Tennessee.

The campaign witnessed none of the candidates except Douglas on the public stump. Breckinridge gave only one speech, Bell said nothing, and Lincoln, in keeping with campaign traditions, stayed at home in Springfield receiving delegations who came to pay their respect.

Douglas, on the other hand, broke with tradition and campaigned all over the nation. He traveled from New England to the Deep South, shaking hands and giving speeches. Most of his appearances, to his dismay, were peppered with questions about what would happen should Lincoln be elected. In answering, he always affirmed the President's duty to enforce the laws. By October, concluding that the election was lost to Lincoln, Douglas began urging people to reject secession and work within the system.

Between the time Lincoln was nominated and the election in November, he had little to do. Members of political parties held rallies and torchlight parades, but such public displays were considered beneath the dignity of the candidates. By the way, when Lincoln won the nomination, Seward loyally supported him and made a long speaking tour of the West in the autumn of 1860. After his election, Abraham Lincoln appointed Seward his Secretary of State.

Lincoln did appear at one rally in Springfield, Illinois in August. He was mobbed by an enthusiastic crowd and was lucky not to have been injured.

Mr. Lincoln's run for President involved the inception of two important campaign gimmicks. The first was innovation of "Wideawakes," young Republicans parading through the streets in caps and oilskin capes carrying torches.

The second was the celebration of the "Railsplitter" Mr. Lincoln first witnessed in Decatur. Richard Oglesby recalled that during the subsequent campaign, "the rail was everywhere and constantly to be seen. It was carried aloft in parades; flaming banners fluttered from it at rallies; glee-clubs sang its praises; campaign-clubs proudly called themselves Railsplitters, Rail-maulers, and Rail-splitter Wide-awakes; lusty men, mounted on huge wagons, split rails as processions moved along; and 'Lincoln rails' (of unquestioned authenticity) adorned hundreds of homes

The presidential election was held on November 6, 1860.

Mr. Lincoln did not intend to vote on election day, according to law partner William H. Herndon. "I knew of course that he did so because of a feeling that the candidate for a Presidential office ought not to vote for his own electors; but when I suggested the plan of cutting off the Presidential electors and voting for the state officers, he was struck with the idea and at last consented. His appearance at the polls, accompanied by Ward Lamon, the lamented young Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth, and myself, was the occasion of no little surprise because of the general impression which prevailed that he did not intend to vote. The crowd around the polls opened a gap as the distinguished voter approached, and some even removed their hats as he deposited his ticket and announced in a subdued voice his name, 'Abraham Lincoln.'" 

Lincoln did very well in the northern states, and though he garnered less than 40 percent of the popular vote nationwide, he won a landslide victory in the electoral college. Even if the Democratic Party had not fractured, it is likely Lincoln still would have won due to his strength in states heavy with electoral votes.

Southerners equated Lincoln’s opposition to the expansion of slavery with outright abolition. Without new Slave states in the west to balance new Free states, they argued, the balance of power in Congress would soon shift to the Free States.

When the Electoral College met on February 11, Vice President Breckinridge announced Mr. Lincoln's victory. Soon, he would be a Confederate general, John Bell would side with the Confederacy, and Stephen Douglas would be dead. 

One of the most significant aspects of Lincoln's election is that he held all of the Free states and none of the slave states. When the results of the election were announced many in South Carolina and Charleston started meeting to discuss succession. Lincoln was elected the President of the United States (the 16th) on November 6th, 1860 and by November 10th legislature had started meeting and succession talk was underway.

Just over two months after he was elected, President Lincoln saw the first state to succeed when South Carolina voted to secede on December 20, 1860.

Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter, a key fort held by Union troops in South Carolina. Lincoln called for each state to provide troops to retake the fort; consequently, four more slave states joined the Confederacy, bringing their total to eleven. The Union soon controlled the border states and established a naval blockade that crippled the southern economy.


Some "Paybacks"

On March 10, 1863, President Lincoln nominated David Kellogg Cartter as Chief Justice of the newly established Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.

Salmon P. Chase was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 1860. However, three days after taking his seat, he resigned to become Secretary of the Treasury under Lincoln. 

And Abraham Lincoln, as part of a political "bargain," named Simon Cameron Secretary of War. Because of allegations of corruption, however, he was forced to resign early in 1862. Cameron's corruption was so notorious that a Pennsylvania congressman, Thaddeus Stevens, when discussing Cameron's honesty with Lincoln, told Lincoln that "I don't think that he would steal a red hot stove."

David Davis had accompanied the President-elect to Washington in February 1861 with visions of power and influence — none of which were realized. Instead, he returned to Illinois, according to historian M. L. Houser, "a chastened, saddened, and disgusted boss-without-a-client," and awaited Mr. Lincoln's decision on a judicial appointment. It did not come quickly, although the President did appoint Davis as chairman of a federal commission investigating claims against the military administration of General John C. Frémont in Missouri during 1861. 

The President finally named Davis to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court on October 19, 1862, after he had filled two other Supreme Court vacancies. Even non-Illinoisans like Iowan Hawkins Taylor reminded President Lincoln of his political debts, writing him in July 1862 that “but for the extraordinary effort of Judge Davis, you would not have received the nomination at the Chicago Convention...I feel that it is due to yourself as well as to Judge Davis that you should tender him the appointment of Supreme Judge.”
 

Davis's frustration in his relationship with the President is reflected in a statement he made in 1866: "Lincoln was a peculiar man; he never asked my advice on any question—sometimes I would talk to him & advise him; he would listen."

1860 Election Results



Candidate
Party
Electoral Votes
Popular Votes

 Abraham Lincoln
Republican
180
1,866,452

 John C. Breckinridge
Democratic
72
847,953

 John Bell
Constitutional Union
39
592,906

 Stephen A. Douglas
Democratic
12
1,382,713




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