Stiffening Abe: William Pitt Fessenden and the role of the broker politician in the Civil War Congress

Cook, Robert J. (2007) Stiffening Abe: William Pitt Fessenden and the role of the broker politician in the Civil War Congress. American Nineteenth Century History, 8 (2). pp. 145-167. ISSN 1466-4658

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Abstract

The difficult but by no means dysfunctional relationship between President Abraham Lincoln and Congress remains an understudied aspect of Civil War history. Indeed, it is impossible to arrive at a comprehensive or convincing explanation for Union victory until that relationship is limned more precisely. This article contends that U.S. Senator William Pitt Fessenden (1806-69) played a critical mediating role in the wartime Congress. He did so firstly in his capacities as chair of the Senate finance committee and close associate of U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase and secondly as a public supporter of executive war powers. Although the influential Maine Republican had serious doubts about the effectiveness of the Lincoln administration, his determination to quash the southern rebellion and considerable powers of self-restraint enabled him to act as an important and constructive broker between the White House and the fractious Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > American Studies
Subjects: E History America > E151 United States (General) > E0456 Civil War period, 1861-1865
Depositing User: Robert Cook
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:09
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2012 13:18
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/29823
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