1860: Lewis Cass Resigns as U.S. Secretary of State

December 13, 2018 all-day

Lewis Cass Around 1855

Disgusted with the failure of then-President James Buchanan to pursue a stronger policy that might have headed off the threatened secession of southern states, Lewis Cass resigned as Secretary of State and returned to Detroit. Lewis Cass previously helped thwart Aaron Burr’s conspiracy against the United States, served as Michigan’s territorial governor, led an expedition into Western Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin discovering the source of the Mississippi River, oversaw the first statewide elections in Michigan and was elected the first State Governor, served as Secretary of War, was a noted Indian expert and helped formulate and implement Andrew Jackson’s resettlement of Indians in Oklahoma, served as Ambassador to France, and as a U.S. Senator.

As secretary of war in the cabinet of President Andrew Jackson, he help implement Jackson’s policy of “Indian removal” along a “trail of tears,” with many of the 125,000 Native Americans removed not surviving the march west from their southeastern tribal lands.

In her New York Times article last September, “The South Doesn’t Own Slavery,” Professor Tiya Miles of the University of Michigan shined a light on the slave ownership of Lewis Cass (1782-1866) and the sale of his slave named Sally to a member of the Macomb family, as reported by his biographer, Willard Carl Klunder.

Sources :

For more information about Lewis Cass, see Bill Loomis, “Lewis Cass, the titan of Michigan’s early years”, Detroit Free Press, June 28, 2014.

For an extensive list of Lewis Cass’s many achievements, see Paul Mirengoff, “Lewis Cass and Seven Decades of American History”, Powerline, June 17, 2012.

Lewis Cass wikipedia entry

Leave a Reply