Question of the Week: 3/22-3/28/21

In your opinion, who was the most under-rated politician during the Civil War era?

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7 Responses to Question of the Week: 3/22-3/28/21

  1. billhenck says:

    Gideon Welles as secretary of the navy. Also, if you look at Grant strictly as a politician, he was actually a pretty good president despite the corruption of some of his cronies.

  2. Douglas Pauly says:

    Geezz. Tough question, mainly because there were so many OVERRATED politicians then (as now). I’ll go with Salmon Chase. It had to be a tough job to stay on top of paying for the war. Honorary mention goes to Hugh McCulloch, who would be Comptroller of the Treasury while Chase was Secretary, and then would become Secretary himself very late in the War.

  3. Chris Kolakowski says:

    Seward is the first that comes to mind. I’d also add both Secretaries of the Navy – Welles and Mallory.

  4. Mike Maxwell says:

    Since politicians at the national level have been mentioned, here are two or three noteworthy local leaders, mostly ignored:
    After subjugating New Orleans, Flag-Officer Farragut steamed his fleet up the Mississippi River and took control of Baton Rouge. Then Natchez Mississippi was ordered to surrender to U.S. Authority (the Mayor of Natchez surrendered his city on 13 May 1862.) And Farragut continued north… The Mayor of Vicksburg, Lazarus Lindsay, received almost an identical letter to that received by the Mayor of Natchez; but Mayor Lindsay refused to surrender. Instead, he instituted various ruses to buy time, and allow the few available Rebel batteries to emplace themselves atop the 200 foot bluff. Farragut had sent Porter’s 13-inch mortars elsewhere; and the powerful guns aboard his frigates could not elevate sufficiently to reach the top of Vicksburg’s bluffs. So Farragut continued north to meet Flag-Officer Davis and his Western Rivers Fleet. And Mayor Lazarus Lindsay saved Vicksburg for the Confederacy, for a grueling and contentious fourteen additional months. [OR (Navy) Vol.18].
    The Amana Colonies of Iowa “was” a religious community, quasi Utopian society, established on 55000 acres of prime farmland near Iowa City in 1855. In 1861 this German-speaking community was briefly plunged into turmoil with the eruption of Civil War in their adopted country: “Should the men of this pacifist society fight, in contravention of their religious beliefs?” Community co-leaders Christian Metz and Barbara Heinemann Landmann decided against active participation in the conflict, claiming the abandonment of any of their religious values would lead to destruction of their society and what it stood for. Instead, it was agreed to continue with the society’s agrarian activities, as always, as had been practiced since the sect was founded back in Europe. Except, for the duration of the conflict, the Amana Society would furnish to the United States Government the wool shorn from its thousands of sheep; and the wheat and vegetables beyond the absolute needs of the community, free of charge. In 1863 the U.S. Congress recognized the right of conscientious objectors to refrain from participation in actual war. [The Amana Society by Barnett Richling 1977.]

  5. John Foskett says:

    I’ll go with Andrew Curtin, Governor of Pennsylvania. He was instrumental in organizing the Governors to support the war effort and played an important role in assisting the military during the 1863 invasion.

  6. Lyle Smith says:

    Of course the most underrated is Andrew Johnson – US Senator, military governor of his home state of Tennessee, and Abraham Lincoln’s Vice President. Build more statues of Andrew please.

  7. Pingback: Week In Review: March 22-28, 2021 | Emerging Civil War

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