Salmon P. Chase: A Biography
A fascinating, authorative biography of one of the major political figures of American Civil War period.
- Hardback | 576 pages
- 162.56 x 231.14 x 48.26mm | 975.22g
- 09 Mar 1995
- Oxford University Press Inc
- New York, United States
- 16 pp halftones
Back cover copy
Salmon P. Chase was one of the preeminent men of nineteenth-century America. A majestic figure, tall and stately, Chase was a leader in the fight to end slavery, a brilliant administrator who as Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury provided crucial funding for a vastly expensive war. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court during the turmoil of Reconstruction, he was the presiding officer of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson. Yet he was also a complex figure. As John Niven reveals in this magisterial biography, Chase was a paradoxical blend of idealism and ambition. If he stood for the highest moral purposes - the freedom and equality of all mankind - these lofty motives failed to mask a thirst for power so deeply ingrained in his character that it drove away many who shared his principles, but invariably mistrusted his motives. What emerges is a portrait of a tragic figure, whose high qualities of heart and mind and whose many achievements were ultimately tarnished by an often unseemly quest for power. It is a striking look at an eminent statesman as well as a revealing glimpse into political life of nineteenth-century America, all set against a background of the antislavery movement, the Civil War, and the turmoil of Reconstruction.
John Niven adds significantly to our understanding not just of Chase, but of the political and moral context of the mid-nineteenth century...Combining outstanding research with novel-like prose, Niven's work will likely tower for years to come as the definitive biography of Salmon P. Chase. * The Historian * a balanced view of chase...a vivid sketch of one who moved through 'turbulent years as a majestic figure with an air of conscious superiority that many found repellent'...Niven's scholarship is impeccable. His writing is deft....presents a fascinating case study of the relationship between personal ambition and social progress. * Lexington Herald Leader, *
About John Niven
John Niven is Professor Emeritus of American History at Claremont Graduate School and is editor of the papers of Salmon P. Chase. His many books include Gideon Welles, Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy, Martin Van Buren and the Romantic Era of American Politics, and John C. Calhoun and the Price of Union: A Biography.