Abraham Lincoln Appoints Salmon P. Chase Chief Justice Of The United States

On December 6, 1864, Abraham Lincoln appointed Salmon P. Chase chief justice of the United States.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Chase studied law under Attorney General William Wirt. Championing Sunday Schools and temperance in the 1830s, by the 1840s he was an active member of the abolitionist movement. Chase defended fugitive slaves in Ohio and played a key role in creating the Free Soil Party, which opposed the expansion of slavery into the territories.

With Free Soil support, Chase was elected to the Senate in 1848. He founded the Ohio Republican party and served as the state's first Republican governor from 1855 to 1859. In office, he vigorously opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act and defended the rights of African Americans. At the 1860 Republican convention, Chase permitted delegates pledged to support him to cast decisive votes for Abraham Lincoln. As a reward, in 1861, just two days after beginning his second term as senator, Chase left the Senate to serve as Lincoln's secretary of the treasury.

Salmon Portland Chase (January 13, 1808–May 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.

Chase articulated the "Slave Power conspiracy" thesis well before Lincoln did, and he coined the slogan of the Free Soil Party, "Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men." He devoted his enormous energies to the destruction of what he considered the Slave Power – the conspiracy of Southern slave owners to seize control of the federal government and block the progress of liberty.

Our national experience has demonstrated that public order reposes most securely on the broad basis of universal suffrage. It has proved, also, that universal suffrage is the surest broad basis of universal guarantee and most powerful stimulus of individual, social, and political progress. May it not prove, moreover, in that work of re-organization which now engages the thoughts of all patriotic men, that universal suffrage is the best reconciler of the most comprehensive lenity with the most perfect public security and the most speedy and certain revival of general prosperity?”

— Hon. Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the United States to Wm. Syphax and John F. Cook, Committee