Salmon P. Chase

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Salmon Chase, Brady-Handy photo portrait ca1855-1865.jpg

Salmon P. Chase (January 13, 1808May 7, 1873) was an American politician and jurist in the Civil War era who served as U.S. Senator from Ohio and Governor of Ohio; as U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Abraham Lincoln; and as Chief Justice of the United States.


  • The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States.
  • No more slave States; no slave Territories.
    • Platform of the Free Soil National Convention, 1848.
  • The way to resumption is to resume.
  • Congress was right in not limiting, by its reconstruction acts, the right of suffrage to whites; but wrong in the exclusion from suffrage of certain classes of citizens and all unable to take its prescribed retrospective oath, and wrong also in the establishment of despotic military governments for the States and in authorizing military commissions for the trial of civilians in time of peace. There should have been as little military government as possible; no military commissions; no classes excluded from suffrage; and no oath except one of faithful obedience and support to the Constitution and laws, and of sincere attachment to the constitutional Government of the United States.
    • Letter to August Belmont, May 30, 1868, in J. W. Schuckers, The Life and Public Services of Salmon Portland Chase, (1874). p. 585.


  • My agency in promoting the passage of the National Banking Act was the greatest financial mistake in my life. It has built up a monopoly which affects every interest in the country.
    • Quoted in the 1995 video "The Money Masters" (google video)
  • True democracy makes no enquiry about the color of skin, or the place of nativity, whereever it sees man, it recognizes a being endowed by his Creator with original inalienable rights.
    • Quoted in "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin

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