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Lincoln Cabinet -- Secretary of War

Simon Cameron

President Lincoln’s wartime Cabinet included many of his opponents from the Republican National Convention where each had the goal of becoming President of the United States. He appointed Simon Cameron as Secretary of War.

Cameron had been nominated as President of the United States at the Republican National Convention in 1860 in Chicago. But Cameron threw the support of the Pennsylvania delegation to Lincoln in return for a promise of a Cabinet position.

Cameron was born March 8, 1799 in Maytown, PA. Cameron was orphaned at age nine. He apprenticed to the editor of the Northumberland Gazette newspaper and became a journalist. In 1821, Cameron became editor of the Bucks County Messenger. He later was operator of the Republican newspaper.

A successful businessman, Cameron organized several small railroads and merged them into the Northern Central Railroad. He founded the Bank of Middletown and worked to settle disputes of the Winnebago Indians.

He served in the U. S. Senate from 1845-1849, 1857-1861 and 1867-1877. During that time, Cameron had been a Whig, then a Democrat, and finally a Republican.

Cameron had also been a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States but pulled out during the second ballot to throw his state’s votes to Abraham Lincoln.

Edwin M. Stanton became Secretary of War when Cameron resigned the position in January, 1862 amidst charges of corruption. Cameron was appointed the United States Minister to Russia replacing Cassius M. Clay of Kentucky who had request to come home to be a Union General in the Civil War.

Cameron died at age 90 on June 26, 1889. Cameron County, PA and Cameron Parish in Louisiana are named for the Pennsylvania politician.

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