Edwin Stanton began his law career in Ohio in 1836, moved to Washington to pursue a practice devoted to constitutional law, and came to the attention of Abraham Lincoln in the 1850s, when he represented one of Lincoln's clients in a patent case. But his most important work came in California in 1858, sorting out land claims allegedly deeded to speculators and settlers by Mexico before the Mexican American War, and this led to his 1860 appointment as Buchanan's attorney general. Though an open critic of Lincoln, the President asked him to replace Simon Cameron as secretary of war in 1862. Stanton ran the department with a notable lack of graft and fraud, and proved an able administrator, consistently meeting demands for troops, weapons, and supplies. Stanton was also a complex man who inspired little admiration. His contemporaries found him arrogant, suspicious, brutal, and unjust. However, after he joined the cabinet, he became Lincoln's loyal and trusted friend.
Edwin McMasters Stanton
1814 - 1869
Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen silver print
(carte de visite), circa 1865
8.7 x 5.3 cm (3 7/16 x 2 1/8 inches)
National Portrait Gallery,
Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C.