By Paul Kahan
From abject poverty to undisputed political boss of Pennsylvania, Lincoln’s secretary of conflict, senator, chair of the Senate overseas kinfolk Committee, and a founding father of the Republican celebration, Simon Cameron (1799–1889) was one of many 19th century’s so much in demand political figures. In his wake, notwithstanding, he left a sequence of questionable political and company dealings and, on the age of 80, even a intercourse scandal.
way over a biography of Cameron, Amiable Scoundrel can also be a portrait of an period that allowed—indeed, encouraged—a guy akin to Cameron to grab political regulate. The political adjustments of the early 19th century enabled him not just to enhance his prestige but additionally to exert actual political authority. The adjustments brought on by the Civil conflict, in flip, allowed Cameron to consolidate his political authority right into a profitable, well-oiled political computer. A key determine in designing and enforcing the Union’s army approach in the course of the Civil War’s the most important first 12 months, Cameron performed a necessary position in pushing Abraham Lincoln to allow the enlistment of African americans into the U.S. military, a stance that finally ended in his pressured resignation. but his legacy has languished, approximately forgotten store for the truth that his identify has develop into shorthand for corruption, although no proof has ever been awarded to turn out that Cameron was once corrupt.
Amiable Scoundrel puts Cameron’s activities right into a higher historic context by way of demonstrating that many politicians of the time, together with Abraham Lincoln, used related strategies to win elections and improve their careers. This learn is the attention-grabbing tale of Cameron’s existence and an illuminating portrait of his times.
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Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln's Scandalous Secretary of War by Paul Kahan