• Photo of cannon at Antietam National Battlefield

    The Civil War


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.

Showing results 6-10 of 45

  • Henry Clay

    Henry Clay

    Henry Clay, lawyer, politician and skilled speaker, was known as the Great Compromiser for his role in brokering compromises in Congress on the issue of slavery in the first half of the 19th century. Read more

  • Schuyler Colfax

    Schuyler Colfax

    Schuyler Colfax was a journalist, politician and leader of the so-called "radical" wing of the Republican Party in the 1850s and 1860s. He served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1863 to 1865 and again from1865 to 1867 and was selected as Ulysses S. Grant's running mate in 1868. Read more

  • Gettysburg National Military Park

    Andrew Curtin

    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

  • Jefferson Davis

    Photo of Jefferson Davis

    A West Point graduate who had served in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate and as Secretary of War, when his native Mississippi seceded from the Union, Jefferson Davis hoped for a military command. The nascent government of the Confederate States of America had other plans, however. Read more

  • Stephen A. Douglas

    Photo of Stephen A. Douglas

    Stephen A. Douglas was an Illinois Senator and opponent of Abraham Lincoln in their senatorial contest of 1858 and in the presidential race of 1860. Despite this, when war erupted between the states in 1861, Douglas threw his whole-hearted support behind Lincoln's efforts to preserve the Union by any means necessary. Read more