By Paul Kahan
From abject poverty to undisputed political boss of Pennsylvania, Lincoln’s secretary of warfare, senator, chair of the Senate overseas family Committee, and a founding father of the Republican social gathering, Simon Cameron (1799–1889) was one of many 19th century’s so much widespread political figures. In his wake, even though, he left a sequence of questionable political and company dealings and, on the age of 80, even a intercourse scandal.
excess of a biography of Cameron, Amiable Scoundrel is additionally a portrait of an period that allowed—indeed, encouraged—a guy reminiscent of Cameron to grab political keep an eye on. The political alterations of the early 19th century enabled him not just to enhance his prestige but additionally to exert actual political authority. The adjustments because of the Civil conflict, in flip, allowed Cameron to consolidate his political authority right into a profitable, well-oiled political desktop. A key determine in designing and enforcing the Union’s army approach throughout the Civil War’s the most important first 12 months, Cameron performed a vital function in pushing Abraham Lincoln to allow the enlistment of African american citizens into the U.S. military, a stance that at last ended in his compelled resignation. but his legacy has languished, approximately forgotten shop for the truth that his identify has turn into shorthand for corruption, even if no proof has ever been provided to end up that Cameron used to be corrupt.
Amiable Scoundrel puts Cameron’s activities right into a greater historic context via demonstrating that many politicians of the time, together with Abraham Lincoln, used related strategies to win elections and improve their careers. This research is the attention-grabbing tale of Cameron’s lifestyles and an illuminating portrait of his times.
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Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln's Scandalous Secretary of War by Paul Kahan