President Lincoln's Struggle With His Cabinet
Abraham Lincoln is regarded by many historians as the greatest
president ever to stand at America's helm. This reputation is extremely
well deserved, as Lincoln was able to preserve the Union and gain victory
in the civil war, despite his fighting an uphill battle against his own
presidential cabinet. Had he not been struggling against this divided
government, President Lincoln could have achieved victory with extreme
efficiency and a minimum of wanton bloodshed (Angle 659).
After Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, he was forced to
battle a split cabinet because of campaign promises made to various
...view middle of the document...
Chase has been described as "jealous of the President," and "overly
ambitious." Lincoln's personal secretary, John Nicolay, wrote, "There is
enough in Chase's letters abusing Lincoln behind his back for quite a
scorcher." He grew so furious with the President's capable rule that he
finally resigned his position (Williams 202).
Another weak link in Lincoln's cabinet was his first secretary of
war, Simon Cameron. He was considered an honest politician, being that he
"would stay bought when he was bought." His reputation as a swindler caused
dissent among the cabinet, and he permitted so much inefficiency and
corruption in his department that Lincoln welcomed an excuse to relieve him
of his post (Angle, 660).
Cameron's successor, Edwin M. Stanton was a man who shared Seward's
initial opinion of the President, but who made an excellent secretary of
war. Prior to his appointment, Stanton had strongly criticized Lincoln,
and mistrusted his motives. In fact, he was later accused of masterminding
the plot to assassinate Lincoln. Although no proof was found to
substantiate the charge, many...