Salmon P. Chase is best remembered as a rival of Lincoln’s for the Republican nomination in 1860—but there would not have been a national Republican Party, and Lincoln could not have won the presidency, were it not for the vital groundwork Chase laid over the previous two decades. Starting in the early 1840s, long before Lincoln was speaking out against slavery, Chase was forming and leading antislavery parties. He represented fugitive slaves so often in his law practice that he was known as the attorney general for runaway negroes. He strengthened his national reputation, as a progressive and an antislavery leader, first as federal senator (from 1849 through 1855) and then as Ohio’s governor (from 1856 through early 1861).
Drawing on previously overlooked sources, Walter Stahr sheds new light on a complex and fascinating political figure, as well as on the pivotal events in the years before, during and right after the Civil War.
Walter Stahr is a lawyer and acclaimed author of biographies of significant leaders in American history including John Jay and Edwin Stanton.