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

Showing results 41-34 of 34

  • William L. Yancey

    Photo of William Lowndes Yancey

    William Lowndes Yancey, southern politician, Confederate diplomat, journalist and orator, championed the causes of slavery, states' rights and secession in the run-up to the Civil War. Could this staunch southerner's views hold up, though, as the nation approached disunion? Read more

  • William McKinley

    Photo of William McKinley

    William McKinley was an enlisted man in the American Civil War who rose to become President of the United States in 1896, the fifth (and last) Civil War Veteran to hold the office. Read more

  • William Vandever

    Photo of U.S. Representative William Vandever

    Beginning in 1859 through the start of the Civil War, William Vandever served two terms as a Republican member of Congress from Iowa and participated in the Peace Conference of 1861, a last-ditch attempt to peacefully preserve the Union. How would he react when negotiations were unsuccessful? Read more

  • Antietam National Battlefield

    Winfield Scott Hancock

    Photograph of Winfield Scott Hancock

    Named for Winfield Scott, a noted general of the War of 1812 and head of the United States army at the start of the Civil War, Winfield Scott Hancock, started a four decade long military career after graduating from West Point in 1844. Read more