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regarded by many historians as the greatest president ever tostand at Americas helm This reputation is extremely welldeserved as Lincoln was able to preserve the Union andgain victory in the civil war despite his fighting an uphillbattle against his own presidential cabinet Had he not beenstruggling against this divided government President Lincolncould have achieved victory with extreme efficiency and aminimum of wanton bloodshed Angle 659 After Lincolnwas inaugurated on March 4 1861 he was forced to battlea split cabinet because of campaign promises made tovarious Republican factions which made it almostmandatory for certain individuals to be appointed to cabinetposts He ruled his cabinet with an iron hand and oftenacted without cabinet consent or advice Although hisopponents called his method of rule dictatorial andunconstitutional it was the only effective way to getanything done Simmons 142 In the beginning Lincolnssecretary of state William H Seward clearly consideredhimself the Presidents superior and blandly offered toassume the executive responsibility He entered the cabinetwith the thought of becoming the power behind the 2Presidential chair and openly opposed Lincolns control ofthe Union This made Lincolns position as Chief of Stateexceedingly difficult and hindered his communication andcontrol of the military As time passed however Sewardrecognized Lincolns capabilities and gave him completeloyalty Simmons 174 This could not be said of Salmon PChase Lincolns first secretary of the treasury Blinded by aninflated ego Chase pursued his own presidential aspirationsHe was in constant conflict with Seward and in generalopposition to Lincoln particularly over the issue of slaveryChase has been described as jealous of the President andoverly ambitious Lincolns personal secretary JohnNicolay wrote There is enough in Chases letters abusingLincoln behind his back for quite a scorcher He grew sofurious with the Presidents capable rule that he finallyresigned his position Williams 202 Another weak link inLincolns cabinet was his first secretary of war SimonCameron He was considered an honest politician being thathe would stay bought when he was bought His reputationas a swindler caused dissent among
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