- NAME: Simon Cameron
- OCCUPATION: Business Leader, U.S. Representative, Editor, Government Official
- BIRTH DATE: March 08, 1799
- DEATH DATE: June 26, 1889
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Maytown, Pennsylvania
- PLACE OF DEATH: Maytown, Pennsylvania
- Nickname: "General Simon Cameron"
- Full Name: Simon Cameron
- Nickname: "General Cameron"
Best Known For
Simon Cameron was a Pennsylvania senator who later served as President Abraham Lincoln's secretary of war.
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However, within a year, the newly appointed member of Lincoln's Cabinet came to an impasse with the rest of the president's administration; he disagreed with a passage in his annual report permitting freed slaves to be armed and utilized as troops against the Confederacy in the American Civil War. Cameron refused to soften his stance and ultimately resigned from his Cabinet post on January 14,
1862. He was replaced by his legal advisor, Edwin Stanton, who had written the controversial passage.
Despite this incident and accusations of corruption, including those related to awarding biased military contracts, Lincoln continued to endorse his one-time Cabinet member; soon after Cameron left the president's Cabinet, Lincoln appointed him minister of Russia. Despite successfully garnering Russia's support for the Union during the war, Cameron abruptly relinquished his role as minister after less than one year, and returned to Pennsylvania.
Although no longer a government official, Cameron's continued endorsement of Lincoln kept him in an unofficial position of power, especially in Pennsylvania. the president regularly consulted his confidante regarding federal appointments in Pennsylvania, and Cameron's governmental reach continued to grow.
In 1867, Cameron threw his hat back into the political ring, returning to the Senate, where he would remain until 1877. He only agreed to step down so that his son, James Donald Cameron, could take over his Senate seat. He spent his remaining years traveling before retiring to his Pennsylvania farm.
Cameron died after suffering a stroke on June 26, 1889, at age 90. He was buried at Harrisburg Cemetery, located in his home state. Later, Cameron County, Pennsylvania was named after him. (He was also memorialized with the naming of Cameron Parish, Louisiana.)
Cameron is remembered for several famous quotes, including, "An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought."
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President Abraham Lincoln's Cabinet was truly one of the most unique in American history, including several of his disappointed presidential opponents—William Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Simon Cameron and Edward Bates, who lost the Republican Party's presidential nomination to Lincoln in 1860—as well as dogmatic politicians like Montgomery Blair, Hannibal Hamlin, Edwin Stanton, Gideon Welles and Lincoln's future successor, President Andrew Johnson. Learn more about these historic figures, Abraham Lincoln's presidency, the American Civil War and more, only at Biography.com.
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