By John Niven
Salmon P. Chase used to be one of many preeminent males of 19th-century the US. an imposing determine, tall and stately, Chase was once a pacesetter within the struggle to finish slavery, a super administrator who as Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury supplied an important investment for a tremendously pricey warfare, the executive Justice of the excellent courtroom through the turmoil of Reconstruction, and the presiding officer of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson. but he was once additionally a fancy determine. As John Niven finds during this magisterial biography, Chase used to be a paradoxical combination of idealism and ambition. If he stood for the top ethical purposes--the freedom and equality of all mankind--these lofty principles didn't masks a thirst for strength so deeply ingrained in his personality that it drove away many that shared his ideas, yet mistrusted his reasons. Niven presents a shiny description of Chase's early years--his youth in New Hampshire (where his father's failed company enterprise and early dying left the relations all yet destitute) and in Ohio (where he used to be despatched to stay along with his uncle Philander, an Episcopal bishop), his schooling at Dartmouth, and his early legislation profession in Cincinnati. Niven indicates how the plight of the slaves stirred this reticent younger legal professional, and the way Chase steadily moved to the vanguard of the antislavery circulation. while, we see how he used his becoming prominence within the antislavery circulation to ahead his political targets. Niven illuminates Chase's lengthy tenure as a public guy. two times elected usa Senator, two times selected governor of Ohio (then the 3rd such a lot populous nation within the Union), Chase geared up the frequent yet diffuse anti-slavery move right into a potential political association, the loose Soil celebration (whose slogan "Free Soil, loose exertions, Freemen" Chase coined himself). We learn of Chase's paintings in Lincoln's struggle cupboard and his tenure as leader Justice of the ideal courtroom, and we additionally stick to his many political maneuvers, his makes an attempt to undercut opponents, and his poorly run campaigns for presidential nominations. Niven additionally presents an intimate portrait of Chase's family members life--his lack of 3 better halves and 4 of his six youngsters, and the unlucky marriage of his attractive daughter Kate to a wealthy yet dissolute man--and a bright photo of existence at mid-century. What emerges is a portrait of a sad determine, whose excessive traits of middle and brain and whose many achievements have been finally tarnished via a regularly unseemly quest for energy. it's a outstanding examine an eminent statesman in addition to a revealing glimpse into political existence in 19th-century the US, ready opposed to a historical past of the anti-slavery flow, the Civil battle, and the turmoil of Reconstruction.