Impact of Pomeroy Circular Being Assessed

February 21, 1864

President Lincoln is kept abreast of efforts to promote the presidential candidacy of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase.  Historians Harry. J. Carman and Reinhard H. Luthin wrote in Lincoln and the Patronage: “”Neither the pamphlet entitled The Next Presidential election nor the ‘Pomeroy Circular’ met with the reception hoped for by their authors.  In fact, both aroused hostility and condemnation.  Embarrassed and somewhat humiliated. Chase protested to Lincoln that the ‘Circular’ had been issued without his knowledge and offered to resign.  To his friends the Treasury head wrote that he had finally, very reluctantly, consented to allow his name to be used for the presidency.  For Lincoln his ambitious cabinet officer presented a dilemma.  For the President to intimate that Chase should resign his post would be an admission that he feared the talented Ohioan as a rival; moreover, the nation might interpret such a course as notice that Lincoln had cast his lot with the conservatives, and thus further alienate the radical antislavery wing of the party.  Any such split would not only endanger the Unionist cause but jeopardize Lincoln’s own reelection.  On the other hand, if he retained Chase he would place his administration in the uniquely embarrassing position of having one of its chief officers striking at it from within.  Shrewdly Lincoln refrained from accepting Chase’s resignation.  Instead, he endured what must have been a galling situation and awaited developments as the state Republican-Unionist conventions met to decide on their presidential preferences.”

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Published in: on February 21, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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