A Pottsville minister’s letter to President-elect Abraham Lincoln – January 1861

Wynning History

In the dangerous days between the Election of 1860 and the presidential inauguration of Abraham Lincoln in March 1861, the United States of America was falling to pieces. Numerous Southern states were seceding from the Union and threats of a looming civil war grew by the day. Already, a standoff had begun in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina between secessionists and members of the US Army who had occupied Fort Sumter.

Fort Sumter in 1860 Fort Sumter in 1860 – Library of Congress

As all of this intrigue took place and the secession crisis escalated, President-elect Abraham Lincoln and his team attempted to build a cabinet. Even this stoked controversy, as Republican politicos sought a place near the incoming 16th president in order to solidify their influence and demonstrate power.

Among the most unabashed in pursuit of a place in Lincoln’s administration was the infamous Pennsylvania political boss Simon Cameron. An already scandal-plagued senator from…

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