Cass, Lewis


1855 ALS as Senator, accepts membership in a Philadelphia debating society


Autograph ID: 3863
Condition: Very good, mail folds, light soiling
Description: “(1782-1866) Soldier, Michigan Territory governor, diplomat, US Senator, 1848 Democratic presidential nominee. Brigadier General in War of 1812, participated in Battle of the Thames. Appointed Governor of Michigan Territory for his war service by President Madison, served 1813-31. Led 1820 expedition to northern part of the Territory (northern Minnesota), to map the region and discover source of the Mississippi River, erroneously identifying Cass Lake as the source. Resigned 1831 to become Secretary of War under Jackson, position held to 1836. He was a central figure in the Jackson administration’s Indian removal policy. Minister to France 1836-42. 1844 Democratic hopeful for presidential nomination, lost to Polk on 9th ballot. US Senator 1845-48, resigned to run for President in 1848, lost to Zachary Taylor. Cass was a leading supporter of the Doctrine of Popular Sovereignty (people who lived in a territory should decide whether or not to permit slavery there). His nomination caused many antislavery Democrats to join the Free Soil Party. After losing the election, returned to the Senate 1849-57. As President Buchanan’s Secretary of State 1857-60, sympathetic to American filibusterers and instrumental in having Comm. Hiram Paulding removed from command for landing Marines in Nicaragua and forcing removal of William Walker to the US. Resigned Dec. 13, 1860, over Buchanan’s failures to protect Federal interests in the South and to mobilize the Federal military, which might have averted secession. A statue of Cass is one of 2 from Michigan in the US Capitol National Statuary Hall. Cass River & Cass City in the “Thumb” area of Michigan, and Cass County, Texas (Cass supported Texas’ annexation) named for him.

ALS while US Senator, 2pp (1st & 2nd pps of 8 x 5 folded sheet, docketed on 4th page), Detroit, March 29, 1855, to Wm. F. Smith. Cass thanks Smith and the members of the (?, unable to decipher) Debating Society of Philadelphia for the honor of admitting Cass into Society membership. Cass’ handwriting is always a challenge to decipher!”
Type: Letter

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