- NAME: William Seward
- OCCUPATION: Lawyer, Governor, U.S. Representative, Government Official
- BIRTH DATE: May 16, 1801
- DEATH DATE: October 10, 1872
- EDUCATION: Farmers' Hall Academy, Union College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Florida, New York
- PLACE OF DEATH: Auburn, New York
- Full Name: William Henry Seward
- AKA: William Seward
- Nickname: Henry Seward
- AKA: Harry Seward
- AKA: William H. Seward
Best Known For
William Seward was a New York governor and U.S. senator before serving as secretary of state under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.
Abraham Lincoln - Full Episode (89:44)
Biographer Walter Stahr, author of "Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man," describes the contributions of William Seward, from buying Alaska to acquiring ports and islands around the world. Video courtesy of Simon & Schuster © 2012.
Biography takes a rare glimpse into Abraham Lincoln's personal life, including his tumultuous marriage and abusive father.
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An attempt was made on Seward’s life by an ally of John Wilkes Booth the same night as Lincoln's assassination.
Seward and wife Frances, who had five children together and adopted a daughter, Olive Risley, when she was 19, were active abolitionists throughout their lives. There is evidence that they were involved in the Underground Railroad,
and lent financial backing to Frederick Douglass's North Star newspaper in Rochester, New York. Seward supported Harriet Tubman in the purchase of property in his hometown of Auburn, New York, where he died on October 10, 1872.
Seward's disshevelled appearance and ever-present cigar may conjure Columbo, but the clever and capable statesman’s legacy is one of accomplishment and vision. His most recent biographer, Walter Stahr, author of Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man, asserts that Seward is considered an exemplary secretary of state, second only to John Quincy Adams.
William Seward is said to be the first New Yorker honored with a monument in the city: A statue of Seward by Randolph Rogers, located in Madison Square Park in New York City, was dedicated in 1876.
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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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