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Salmon P. Chase

Antislavery Agitator, Treasury Secretary, Chief Justice

From an acclaimed, New York Times bestselling biographer, a timely reassessment of Abraham Lincoln’s indispensable Secretary of the Treasury—a leading 19th-century proponent for black rights and legendary Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Salmon Chase was among the most influential Americans of his century. A progressive governor of Ohio, outspoken US senator, and nationally renowned defense attorney for fugitives escaping slavery, he spent twenty years building antislavery political parties, culminating with the Republican Party. Without Chase’s groundwork, Lincoln could never have been elected president in 1860.

Tapped by Lincoln as his Secretary of the Treasury, Chase not only brilliantly funded the Civil War effort—marketing bonds directly to the public when northern banks balked—but also modernized the country’s financial institutions, pushing legislation through Congress to create the first national bank and a single national currency. He would soon find himself appointed by Lincoln to lead the Supreme Court, where he continued his advocacy for black rights during the first decade of Reconstruction.

Drawing on previously overlooked sources, Walter Stahr sheds new light on this complex and fascinating political figure, as well as on the pivotal events of the Civil War and its aftermath. Salmon P. Chase tells the story of a man at the center of the fight for racial justice in America.

Photo credit: Ron Kaplan

Walter Stahr is the New York Times bestselling author of Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man, Stanton: Lincoln’s War Secretary, and John Jay: Founding Father. A two-time winner of the Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography, Stahr practiced law in Washington and Asia for more than two decades. He is an honors graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School.

More books from this author: Walter Stahr