Lewis Cass

Lewis Cass (October 9, 1782 – June 17, 1866) was an American military officer, politician, and statesman. He represented Michigan in the United States Senate and served in the Cabinets of two U.S. Presidents, Andrew Jackson and James Buchanan. He was also the 1848 Democratic presidential nominee and a leading spokesman for the Doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, which held that the people in each territory should decide whether to permit slavery.

Born in Exeter, New Hampshire, he attended Phillips Exeter Academy before establishing a legal practice in Zanesville, Ohio. After serving in the Ohio House of Representatives, he was appointed as a U.S. Marshal. Cass also joined the Freemasons and would eventually co-found the Grand Lodge of Michigan. He fought at the Battle of the Thames in the War of 1812 and was appointed to govern Michigan Territory in 1813. He negotiated treaties with Native Americans to open land for American settlement and led a survey expedition into the northwest part of the territory.

Cass resigned as governor in 1831 to accept appointment as Secretary of War under Andrew Jackson. As Secretary of War, he helped implement Jackson's policy of Indian removal. After serving as ambassador to France from 1836 to 1842, he unsuccessfully sought the presidential nomination at the 1844 Democratic National Convention; a deadlock between supporters of Cass and former President Martin Van Buren ended with the nomination of James K. Polk. In 1845, the Michigan Legislature elected Cass to the Senate, where he served until 1848. Cass's nomination at the 1848 Democratic National Convention precipitated a split in the party, as Cass's advocacy for popular sovereignty alienated the anti-slavery wing of the party. Van Buren led the Free Soil Party's presidential ticket and appealed to many anti-slavery Democrats, possibly contributing to the victory of Whig nominee Zachary Taylor.

Cass returned to the Senate in 1849 and continued to serve until 1857, when he accepted appointment as the Secretary of State. He unsuccessfully sought to buy land from Mexico and sympathized with American filibusters in Latin America. Cass resigned from the Cabinet in December 1860 in protest of Buchanan's handling of the threatened secession of several Southern states. Since his death in 1866, he has been commemorated in various ways, including with a statue in the National Statuary Hall.

Lewis Cass
LewisCass2
22nd United States Secretary of State
In office
March 6, 1857 – December 14, 1860
PresidentJames Buchanan
Preceded byWilliam Marcy
Succeeded byJeremiah Black
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
December 4, 1854 – December 5, 1854
Preceded byDavid Atchison
Succeeded byJesse Bright
United States Senator
from Michigan
In office
March 4, 1849 – March 3, 1857
Preceded byThomas Fitzgerald
Succeeded byZachariah Chandler
In office
March 4, 1845 – May 29, 1848
Preceded byAugustus Porter
Succeeded byThomas Fitzgerald
United States Ambassador to France
In office
December 1, 1836 – November 12, 1842
PresidentAndrew Jackson
Preceded byEdward Livingston
Succeeded byWilliam King
14th United States Secretary of War
In office
August 1, 1831 – October 4, 1836
PresidentAndrew Jackson
Preceded byRoger B. Taney (Acting)
Succeeded byJoel Poinsett
2nd Governor of the Michigan Territory
In office
October 13, 1813 – August 1, 1831
Appointed byJames Madison
Preceded byWilliam Hull
Succeeded byGeorge Porter
Personal details
BornOctober 9, 1782
Exeter, New Hampshire, U.S.
DiedJune 17, 1866 (aged 83)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Eliza Spencer
Signature
Lewis Cass's signature
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1812–1814
RankBrigadier General
Battles/warsWar of 1812

Early life, marriage, and Freemasonry

Lewis Cass was born in 1782 in Exeter, New Hampshire, just after the end of the American Revolutionary War. He attended the private Phillips Exeter Academy. His parents were Major Jonathan Cass, a Revolutionary War veteran, and Molly Gilman. In 1800 the family moved to Marietta, Ohio, part of a wave of westward migration after the end of the war and defeat of Native Americans in the Northwest Indian War. Cass studied law with Return J. Meigs Jr., was admitted to the bar, and began a practice in Zanesville. On May 26, 1806, Cass married Elizabeth Spencer.[1] That same year, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives. The following year, President Thomas Jefferson appointed Cass as the U.S. Marshal for Ohio.[2]

He joined the Freemasons, an increasingly popular fraternal organization in that period, being initiated as an Entered Apprentice in what is now American Union Lodge No.1 at Marietta on December 5, 1803.[3] He achieved his Fellow Craft degree on April 2, 1804, and his Master Mason degree on May 7, 1804. On June 24, 1805, he was admitted as Charter member of Lodge of Amity 105 (now No.5), Zanesville. He served as the first Worshipful Master of Lodge of Amity in 1806.[3] Cass was one of the founders of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, representing Lodge of Amity at the first meeting on January 4, 1808. He was elected Deputy Grand Master on January 5, 1809, and Grand Master on January 3, 1810, January 8, 1811, and January 8, 1812.[3]

War of 1812

When the War of 1812 began against the United Kingdom, he took command of the 3rd Ohio Volunteer Regiment. He became colonel of the 27th United States Infantry Regiment on February 20, 1813. Soon after, he was promoted to brigadier general in the Regular Army on March 12, 1813. Cass took part in the Battle of the Thames, a defeat of British Canadian forces. Cass resigned from the Army on May 1, 1814. Overall, the war closed in, essentially, a draw, but settled the boundary between Canada and the United States.

Territorial Governor of Michigan

As a reward for his military service, Cass was appointed Governor of the Michigan Territory by President James Madison on October 29, 1813, serving until 1831. As he was frequently traveling on business, several territorial secretaries often acted as governor in his place. During this period, he helped negotiate and implement treaties with Native American tribes in Michigan, by which they ceded substantial amounts of land. Some were given small reservations in the territory.

In 1817, Cass was one of the two commissioners (along with Duncan McArthur), who negotiated the Treaty of Fort Meigs, which was signed on September 29 with several Native American tribes of the region, under which they ceded large amounts of territory to the United States.[1] This helped open up areas of Michigan to settlement by Americans. That same year, Cass was named to serve as Secretary of War under President James Monroe, but he declined the honor.

In 1820, Cass led an expedition to the northwestern part of the Michigan Territory, in the Great Lakes region in today's northern Minnesota. Its purpose was to map the region and locate the source of the Mississippi River. The headwater of the great river was then unknown, resulting in an undefined border between the United States and British North America, which had been linked to the river. The Cass expedition erroneously identified what became known as Cass Lake as the Mississippi's source. It was not until 1832 that Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the Cass expedition's geologist, identified nearby Lake Itasca as the headwater of the Mississippi.

Later political career

On August 1, 1831, Cass resigned as governor of the Michigan Territory to take the post of Secretary of War under President Andrew Jackson, a position he would hold until 1836. Cass was a central figure in implementing the Indian removal policy of the Jackson administration; Congress had passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830. While it was directed chiefly against the Southeastern tribes, especially the Five Civilized Tribes, it also affected tribes in Ohio, Illinois and other areas east of the Mississippi River. Most were forced to Indian Territory in present-day Kansas and Oklahoma, but a number of bands negotiated being allowed to remain in Michigan.

Next, Cass was appointed minister to France, serving until 1842.

In the 1844 Democratic convention Cass stood as a candidate for the presidential nomination, losing on the 9th ballot to dark horse candidate James K. Polk.

Lewis Cass 2
Lewis Cass

Cass was elected by the state legislature to represent Michigan in the United States Senate, serving from 1845 to 1848. He served as chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs in the 30th Congress.

In 1848, he resigned from the Senate to run for president in the 1848 election. William Orlando Butler was selected as his running mate.[4] Cass was a leading supporter of the doctrine of popular sovereignty, which held that the people who lived in a territory should decide whether to permit slavery there.[5] His nomination caused a split in the Democratic Party, leading many antislavery Northern Democrats to join the Free Soil Party, which nominated former President Martin Van Buren.

After losing the election to Zachary Taylor, Cass was returned by the state legislature to the Senate, serving from 1849 to 1857. He was the first non-incumbent Democratic presidential candidate to lose an election and the first Democrat who was unsuccessful in his bid to succeed another Democrat as President. Apart from James Buchanan's election to succeed Franklin Pierce in 1856, subsequent Democrats who attempted election to succeed another Democrat as President all failed in their bid to do so.

From 1857 to 1860, Cass served as Secretary of State under President James Buchanan.[1] While sympathetic to American filibusters in Central America, he was instrumental in having Commodore Hiram Paulding removed from command for his landing of Marines in Nicaragua and compelling the extradition of William Walker to the United States.[6] Cass attempted to buy more land from Mexico, but faced opposition from both Mexico and congressional leaders. He also negotiated a final settlement to the Clayton–Bulwer Treaty, limiting U.S. and British control of Latin American countries.[2]

Cass resigned on December 13, 1860, because of what he considered Buchanan's failure to protect federal interests in the South and failure to mobilize the federal military, actions that might have averted the threatened secession of Southern states.[7]

Cass died in 1866. He is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan.

Family

Lewis Cass and Elizabeth Spencer were the parents of seven children, five of whom lived past infancy:[8]

  • Isabella Cass (1805-1879), the wife of Theodorus Marinus Roest van Limburg[9]
  • Elizabeth (1812-1832)[9]
  • Lewis, Jr. (1814-1878), who served as an army officer and as U.S. Chargé d'Affaires and Minister to the Papal States[9]
  • Mary (1812-1882), the wife of Army officer Augustus Canfield[9]
  • Matilda (1818-1898), the wife of Henry Ledyard[9]
  • Ellen (1821-1824)[9]
  • Spencer (June 1828-October 1828)[9]

Cass's great-great grandson, Republican Thomas Cass Ballenger, represented North Carolina's 10th Congressional District from 1986 to 2005.[10]

Commemoration

Lewis Cass Legacy Society
Lewis Cass Legacy Society logo

Other honors and memberships

Cass was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1820.[13]

Publications

  • Cass, Lewis (1840). France, its King, Court and Government. New York: Wiley and Putnam.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Heidler, David S., and Heidler, Jeanne T. (eds) (2004). Encyclopedia of the War of 1812, pp. 83-84. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-362-4.
  2. ^ a b "Biographies of the Secretaries of State: Lewis Cass (1782–1866)". Office of the Historian. U.S. State Department. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Past Grand Masters - 1810 Lewis Cass". Grand Lodge of Ohio. Archived from the original on 2016-09-21. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
  4. ^ Kleber, John E. (ed.) (1992). The Kentucky Encyclopedia, p. 146. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1772-0, ISBN 978-0-8131-1772-0.
  5. ^ Klunder (1996), pp. 266–67
  6. ^ Collier, Ellen C. (1993) "Instances of Use of United States Forces Abroad, 1798 - 1993" CRS Issue Brief Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Washington DC Archived 2015-06-17 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Cass's resignation statement, quoted in McLaughlin, Andrew Cunningham (1899) Lewis Cass Houghton, Mifflin, Boston, pp. 345–346, OCLC 4377268, (standard library edition, first edition was published in 1891)
  8. ^ Burton, Clarence Monroe; et al. (1922). The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701–1922. 2. Detroit, MI: S. J. Publishing Company. p. 1367.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, p. 1367.
  10. ^ United States Congress (2005). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–2005. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 604. ISBN 978-0-16-073176-1.
  11. ^ The History of Miami County, Ohio: Containing a History of the County; Its Cities, Towns, Etc. Windmill Publications. 1880. p. 396.
  12. ^ Kenny, Hamill (1945). West Virginia Place Names: Their Origin and Meaning, Including the Nomenclature of the Streams and Mountains. Piedmont, WV: The Place Name Press. p. 159.
  13. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory

Bibliography

External links

1848 Democratic National Convention

The 1848 Democratic National Convention, a presidential nominating convention of United States Democratic Party delegates representing all thirty states in the union at the time, met in Baltimore on May 22, 1848.The Democratic National Committee was established at this convention.

1848 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1848 was the 16th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 7, 1848. In the aftermath of the Mexican–American War, General Zachary Taylor of the Whig Party defeated Senator Lewis Cass of the Democratic Party. The contest was the first presidential election that took place on the same day in every state, and it was the first time that Election Day was statutorily a Tuesday.Despite Taylor's unclear political affiliations and beliefs, and the Whig opposition to the Mexican–American War, the 1848 Whig National Convention nominated the popular general over party stalwarts such as Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. For vice president, the Whigs nominated Millard Fillmore, a New York Whig known for his moderate views on slavery. Incumbent President James K. Polk, a Democrat, honored his promise not to seek re-election, leaving his party's nomination open. The 1848 Democratic National Convention rejected former President Martin Van Buren's bid for a second term, instead nominating Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan. Van Buren broke from his party to lead the ticket of the Free Soil Party, which opposed the extension of slavery into the territories.

The Whig choice of Zachary Taylor was made almost out of desperation; he was not clearly committed to Whig principles, but he was popular for leading the war effort. The Democrats had a record of prosperity and had acquired the Mexican cession and parts of Oregon country. It appeared almost certain that they would win unless the Whigs picked Taylor. Taylor won a plurality of the popular vote and a majority of the electoral vote, while Van Buren won 10.1% of the popular vote, a strong showing for a third party candidate.

Taylor's victory made him the second of two Whigs to win a presidential election, following William Henry Harrison's victory in the 1840 presidential election. Like Harrison, Taylor died during his term, and he was succeeded by Fillmore. Discounting Republican Abraham Lincoln's 1864 re-election on the National Union ticket, Taylor is the most recent individual who was not a member of the Democratic or Republican parties to win a presidential election.

1848 United States presidential election in Arkansas

The 1848 United States presidential election in Arkansas took place on November 7, 1848, as part of the 1848 United States presidential election. Voters chose three representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Arkansas voted for the Democratic candidate, Lewis Cass, over Whig candidate Zachary Taylor. Cass won Arkansas by a margin of 10.14%.

1848 United States presidential election in Florida

The 1848 United States presidential election in Florida took place on November 7, 1848, as part of the 1848 United States presidential election. Voters chose three representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President. This was the first time Florida participated in a U.S. presidential election since its admission into the Union on March 3, 1845.

Florida voted for the Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor, over Democratic candidate Lewis Cass. Taylor won Florida by a margin of 14.40%.

1848 United States presidential election in Illinois

The 1848 United States presidential election in Illinois took place on November 7, 1848, as part of the 1848 United States presidential election. Voters chose nine representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Illinois voted for the Democratic candidate, Lewis Cass, over Whig candidate Zachary Taylor and Free Soil candidate Martin Van Buren. Cass won Illinois by a margin of 2.49%.

1848 United States presidential election in Kentucky

The 1848 United States presidential election in Kentucky took place on November 7, 1848, as part of the 1848 United States presidential election. Voters chose twelve representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Kentucky voted for the Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor, over Democratic candidate Lewis Cass. Taylor won Kentucky by a margin of 14.92%.

1848 United States presidential election in Massachusetts

The 1848 United States presidential election in Massachusetts took place on November 7, 1848, as part of the 1848 United States presidential election. Voters chose 12 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Massachusetts voted for the Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor, over Democratic candidate Lewis Cass and Free Soil candidate former president Martin Van Buren. Taylor won the state by a margin of 19.4%.

With 28.45% of the popular vote, Massachusetts would prove to by Van Buren's second strongest state in the country after neighboring Vermont.

1848 United States presidential election in Michigan

The 1848 United States presidential election in Michigan took place on November 7, 1848, as part of the 1848 United States presidential election. Voters chose five representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Michigan voted for the Democratic candidate, Lewis Cass, over Whig candidate Zachary Taylor and Free Soil candidate Martin Van Buren. Cass won Michigan by a margin of 10.44%.

With 15.97% of the popular vote, Michigan would prove to be Van Buren's fifth strongest state after Vermont, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and New York.

1848 United States presidential election in Mississippi

The 1848 United States presidential election in Mississippi took place on November 7, 1848, as part of the 1848 United States presidential election. Voters chose six representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Mississippi voted for the Democratic candidate, Lewis Cass, over Whig candidate Zachary Taylor. Cass won Mississippi by a margin of 1.2%.

1848 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania

The 1848 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania took place on November 7, 1848, as part of the 1848 United States presidential election. Voters chose 26 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Pennsylvania voted for the Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor, over the Democratic candidate, Lewis Cass. Taylor won Pennsylvania by a margin of 3.62%.

1848 United States presidential election in South Carolina

The 1848 United States presidential election in South Carolina took place on November 7, 1848, as part of the 1848 United States presidential election. The state legislature chose nine representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

South Carolina cast 9 electoral votes for the Democratic candidate Lewis Cass. These electors were chosen by the South Carolina General Assembly, the state legislature, rather than by popular vote.

1848 United States presidential election in Tennessee

The 1848 United States presidential election in Tennessee took place on November 7, 1848, as part of the 1848 United States presidential election. Voters chose thirteen representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Tennessee voted for the Whig candidate Zachary Taylor over Democratic candidate Lewis Cass. Taylor won Tennessee by a margin of 5.04%.

1848 United States presidential election in Texas

The 1848 United States presidential election in Texas was held on November 7, 1848. Texas voters chose 4 electors to represent the state in the Electoral College, which chose the president and vice president. Texas was annexed by the United States on February 19, 1846, making this the first presidential election in which the state participated.

Texas overwhelmingly voted for the Democratic nominee Lewis Cass, who received 70.2% of the vote. Texas was, by far, Cass's strongest state, and the only state where he received over 70.2% of the popular vote.

1848 United States presidential election in Virginia

The 1848 United States presidential election in Virginia took place on November 7, 1848, as part of the 1848 United States presidential election. Voters chose seventeen representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Virginia was a closely contested state during this election and narrowly voted for the Democratic candidate, former U.S. Senator Lewis Cass over the Whig candidate, military general Zachary Taylor. Cass won the state with a margin of 1.6%. As of 2017, this is the last election in which Morgan County, now part of West Virginia, voted for the Democratic candidate.

1848 United States presidential election in Wisconsin

The 1848 United States presidential election in Wisconsin was held on November 7, 1848. It was the first presidential election held in the state since its admission to the Union in May, earlier the same year. Democratic candidate Lewis Cass won the state of Wisconsin with 38% of the vote, carrying the state's 4 electoral votes.

With 26.6% of the popular vote, Wisconsin would prove to be Van Buren's third strongest state after Vermont and Massachusetts.

1852 Democratic National Convention

The 1852 Democratic National Convention nominated the dark horse candidate Franklin Pierce for President on the 49th ballot, passing over better known candidates Lewis Cass of Michigan (the previous nominee in 1848), James Buchanan of Pennsylvania, and Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois. It was held at the Maryland Institute in the eastern downtown business district of Baltimore, Maryland, just two weeks before the opposing Whig Party met in the same hall for their nominating convention.

This convention was notable for the hostility between several groups within the party, divided over the "Compromise of 1850". The convention was called to order by Democratic National Committee chairman Benjamin F. Hallett. Romulus M. Saunders served as the temporary convention chairman and John W. Davis served as the permanent convention president.

Cass Technical High School

Cass Technical High School, commonly referred to as Cass Tech, is a four-year university preparatory high school in Midtown Detroit, United States. The school is named in honor of Lewis Cass, an American military officer and politician who served as governor of the Michigan Territory from 1813 until 1831. The school is a part of Detroit Public Schools.

Until 1977, Cass was Detroit's only magnet school and the only non-neighborhood enrollment school in Detroit. Today, Cass is one of few magnet schools in Detroit. Entrance to Cass is based on test scores and middle school grades. Students are required to choose a curriculum path—roughly equivalent to a college "major"—in the ninth grade. Areas of study include, but are not limited to, arts and communication, business management and marketing, engineering and manufacturing, human services, and science and arts.

Lewis Cass (French)

Lewis Cass is an 1889 marble sculpture by Daniel Chester French of the soldier, diplomat and politician that the state of Michigan donated as their first statue to the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C., United States.

Mid-Indiana Conference

The Mid-Indiana Conference, or MIC, was a high school athletic conference which was located in northcentral Indiana, USA. This conference served many high schools located in Cass, Hamilton, Howard, and Miami Counties. The conference dissolved at the end on the 2014-15 academic school year.

Offices and distinctions

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