William Henry Seward was one of the most important Americans of the nineteenth century. Progressive governor of New York and outspoken U.S. senator, he was the odds-on favorite to win the 1860 Republican nomination for president. As secretary of state and Lincoln's closest adviser during the Civil War, Seward not only managed foreign affairs but had a substantial role in military, political, and personnel matters. Some of Lincoln's critics even saw Seward, erroneously, as the power behind the throne; this is why John Wilkes Booth and his colleagues attempted to kill Seward as well as Lincoln. Seward survived the assassin's attack, continued as secretary of state, and emerged as a staunch supporter of President Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's controversial successor. Drawing on hundreds of sources not available to or neglected by previous biographers, Walter Stahr sheds new light on this complex figure, as well as on pivotal events of the Civil War and its aftermath.
Walter Stahr is the author of John Jay: Founding Father, a biography of America's first Supreme Court Chief Justice. He lives in Exeter, New Hampshire, and Vienna, Virginia.
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