This Week in the Civil War - #977
On December 6, 1864, the same day that President Abraham Lincoln sent his annual address to be read in Congress, he named former Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase to become Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, succeeding the recently deceased Roger B. Taney. Although Lincoln had difficulty with Chase during the years he served in the Cabinet due to Chase’s unbridled, interest in the presidency, Lincoln considered Chase as his number one chose for replacing Taney. Perhaps Lincoln wished to permanently sideline Chase’s aspirations. In truth, Lincoln recognized that Chase’s substantial intellectual abilities were well suited to the Chief Justice’s post and that Chase’s appointment would appease the Radicals within his party. Lincoln was right; Salmon Chase served with distinction until his death in 1873.