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Simon Cameron

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Simon Cameron

Simon Cameron (March 8, 1799June 26, 1889) was United States Secretary of War for Abraham Lincoln from 1861 to 1862.

Cameron was born in Maytown, Pennsylvania. He was orphaned at nine and later apprenticed to a printer before entering the field of journalism. He was editor of the Bucks County Messenger in 1821. A year later, he moved to Washington and studied political movements while working for the printing firm of Gales and Seaton. He married Margaret Brua and returned to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where he purchased and ran the Republican in 1824.

Cameron served as state printer of Pennsylvania from 1825 until 1827 and was state adjutant general in 1826. He constructed several rail lines and merged them into the Northern Central Railroad. He founded the Bank of Middletown in 1832 and engaged in other business enterprises. In 1838, he was appointed as commissioner to settle claims of the Winnebago Indians.

He became a Whig Party member, and later became a member of the Democratic Party, before being elected to replace James Buchanan in the Senate in 1845. He switched to the Republican Party and was nominated for President, but gave his support for Lincoln at the Republican National Convention of 1860. Lincoln, appreciative of Cameron's support, named him Secretary of War. Because of allegations of corruption, however, he was forced to resign early in 1862.

In 1867, Cameron was again elected to the Senate and served there until 1877, when on assurances from the Pennsylvania legislature that his son, James Donald Cameron would be the successor to his seat, he resigned. His son had already been named as Secretary of War in 1876.

He retired to his farm in Donegal Springs, Pennsylvania where he died on June 26, 1889.

Cameron County, Pennsylvania and Cameron Parish, Louisiana are named in his honor.

Quote

  • "An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought."

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Preceded by:
James Buchanan
United States Senator from Pennsylvania
18451849
Succeeded by:
James Cooper
Preceded by:
Richard Brodhead
United States Senator from Pennsylvania
18571861
Succeeded by:
David Wilmot
Preceded by:
Joseph Holt
United States Secretary of War
18611862
Succeeded by:
Edwin M. Stanton

Template:End boxfr:Simon Cameron

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