Photo of Confederate President Jefferson Davis

An enormous range of beliefs flowed across the political landscape of pre-Civil War America, and this is reflected in the rise and fall of a dozen different political parties that tried and failed to find a unifying political strategy that would end sectional strife. Only the events of April 12, 1861 would clarify this landscape and politicians of every description welcomed it… at first.

People from Politicians

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  • Gettysburg National Military Park

    Andrew Curtin

    Photo of Andrew Curtin

    Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, Andrew Curtin found his chief role in the war in June of 1863, when Lee's Army of Northern Virginia invaded his state, which culminated in the Battle of Gettysburg. He was also a friend of President Lincoln, and helped marshal support for the war amongst Union governors. Read more

  • Andrew Johnson National Historic Site

    Andrew Johnson

    Photo of Andrew Johnson

    Andrew Johnson was a Tennessee politician and Vice President of the United States who ascended to the presidency in April 1865 upon the death of Abraham Lincoln. His benign approach to the reintegration of Southerners into the Union following the Civil War contributed to his impeachment in 1868, which failed in the Senate by a single vote. Read more

  • Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

    Benjamin Harrison

    Photo of Benjamin Harrison

    Descended from a long line of politicians and himself 23rd President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison's military service Civil War is less well known, though no less distinguished, than his political career. Read more

  • Vicksburg National Military Park

    Cadwallader Washburn

    Photo of Hon. Cadwallader Colden Washburn

    In 1854, Cadwallader Washburn was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from Illinois, the first of his three terms. He served as a delegate to the 1861 Washington Peace Conference, a final effort by the states to prevent civil war. Read more

  • Christopher Memminger

    Photo of Christopher Memminger

    Christopher Memminger was a South Carolina politician and financial expert who helped draft his state's official justification for secession and the Confederate Constitution. Read more

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