Chase DV

A brief progress report on my biography of Salmon Chase. I have now completed thirteen chapters, about 113,000 words. I just finished 1859, so I have only a few years left, until his death in 1873. But the next few years, the Civil War, were busy ones, so those chapters will be longer than the…

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Chase on Immigration

It is hard to remember, but the Republican Party, back in the days of Lincoln and Chase, was IN FAVOR of immigration. Not every Republican; there were anti-immigrants, former Know Nothings, who wanted to limit immigration, or deny voting rights to those who had recently become citizens. But not my man Chase; he often talked…

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Springfield Report

I am just back from a few days of research at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois. My main purpose in going was to look at newspapers from Illinois from October 1854 and October 1858. In both of those months, Chase campaigned for Republicans in Illinois. 1854 was the anti-Nebraska election, when the…

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Seward’s Folly

I am speaking next Tuesday to the LA Civil War Roundtable about William Henry Seward. As I wrote the speech, I revisited the question of “Seward’s Folly.” In the book, which I published seven years ago, I said that although there were some critics of the Alaska purchase in 1867, none of them used the…

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Details, Details

As I write the Chase biography, I continue research, and interesting details emerge. I am working today on the chapter about 1856. I knew that Chase had dinner with Francis Blair and others in Washington on December 29, 1855, and I knew that Chase gave his inaugural address as governor in Columbus on January 14,…

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Salmon Chase Bank Lawyer

Many claim that, when he became secretary of the treasury, Chase did not know much about banks and banking. This is not true. From 1832 through 1843, Chase served as the solicitor in Cincinnati for the Second Bank of the United States. At the outset of this period, the Bank was the largest financial institution…

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Salmon Chase Liberty Man’s Creed

In a prior post I quoted from the Liberty Man’s Creed, first published by Chase in 1844. In this post I want to put up the whole document, because I find it so interesting, and because it has not been mentioned in prior biographies. Here it is, from the Cincinnati Weekly Herald and Philanthropist of…

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Chase on Adams, Jackson and Democracy

Anyone who has read any of my books knows that I believe in quoting the subject. If you want to know about William Henry Seward, the best sources are Seward’s letters and speeches and memoirs. One must also find material about Seward, of course, to provide third-party perspective. But in my view a biography should allow…

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Clarence Thompson 1900-1925

My grandmother, Dudley Casteel Thompson Stahr, 1902-1986, was married twice, first in 1922 to Clarence Thompson, 1900-1925, and then in 1930 to my grandfather, Roland Stahr, 1901-1969. I knew vaguely that my grandmother had been “married before her marriage” but did not know much about Clarence Thompson until the past few days. My father and…

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George Edwin Rogers 1872 to 1959

My family is donating its family papers to Chapman University. These are not just papers of my mother, my father and myself. They are papers of my grandparents: Burgess Dempster, Nell McBroom Dempster, Roland Stahr, and Dudley Casteel Stahr. And they are in some cases papers of my great-grandparents, including my namesake Walter Casteel and…

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