Cass, Lewis
b. 1782
d. 1866
Lewis Cass (1782-1866), American secretary of state, was born and raised in Exeter, New Hampshire. He taught school in Wilmington, Delaware, before moving west to Marietta, Ohio, where he established a law practice in 1802. He was elected to the Ohio legislature at age twenty-four—the youngest member of the legislature.1
During the War of 1812, Cass served as colonel of the Third Ohio regiment and played a prominent role in its victories over the British and their Indigenous allies.2 In 1813 was appointed governor of the Michigan Territory, a position he held for the next eighteen years. He served as secretary of War (1831-36), US minister to France (1836-42) and senator from Michigan (1845-48 and 1849-57).3
In 1848, he won the Democratic nomination for the presidency but lost the election to Zachary Taylor. Cass served as secretary of state in the Buchanan administration from 7 March 1857 to 12 December 1860, when he resigned.4 Although retired from public office during the Civil War, he continued to take an active part in public affairs, encouraging, among other things, enlistment in the union army.
  • 1. Cass, Lewis, The Joseph Smith Papers.
  • 2. Daniel F. Littlefield and James W. Parins, Encyclopedia of American Indian Removal, (ABC-CLIO, 2011), 34.
  • 3. Cass, Lewis, The Joseph Smith Papers.
  • 4. Lewis Cass, Ohio History Central.
Dumas Malone, ed., Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Scribner's, 1964) 2, pp. 562-64. See also Samuel Flagg Bemis, The American Secretaries of State and Their Diplomacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1928), pp. 295-384. BCPO 89.3.
Mentions of this person in the documents
People in this document

Buchanan, James