regarded by many historians as the greatest president ever to
stand at America's helm. This reputation is extremely well
deserved, as Lincoln was able to preserve the Union and
gain victory in the civil war, despite his fighting an uphill
battle against his own presidential cabinet. Had he not been
struggling against this divided government, President Lincoln
could have achieved victory with extreme efficiency and a
minimum of wanton bloodshed (Angle 659). After Lincoln
was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, he was forced to battle
a split cabinet because of campaign promises made to
various Republican factions, which made it almost
mandatory for certain individuals to be appointed to cabinet
posts. He ruled his cabinet with an iron hand, and often
acted without cabinet consent or advice. Although his
opponents called his method of rule "dictatorial" and
"unconstitutional," it was the only effective way to get
anything done (Simmons 142). In the beginning, Lincoln's
secretary of state, William H. Seward, clearly considered
himself the President's superior, and blandly offered to
assume the executive responsibility. He entered the cabinet
with the thought of becoming the power behind the 2
Presidential chair and openly opposed Lincoln's control of
the Union. This made Lincoln's position as Chief of State
exceedingly difficult and hindered his communication and
control of the military. As time passed, however, Seward
recognized Lincoln's capabilities and gave him complete
loyalty (Simmons 174). This could not be said of Salmon P.
Chase, Lincoln's first secretary of the treasury. Blinded by an
inflated ego, Chase pursued his own presidential aspirations.
He was in constant conflict with Seward, and in general
opposition to Lincoln, particularly over the issue of slavery.
Chase has been described as "jealous of the President," and
"overly ambitious." Lincoln's personal secretary, John
Nicolay, wrote,... [continues]
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