Simon Cameron was an American businessman and politician.
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Simon Cameron was an American businessman and politician.
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Simon Cameron represented Pennsylvania in the United States Senate and served as United States Secretary of War under President Abraham Lincoln at the start of the American Civil War.
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Simon Cameron was elected to the United States Senate as a member of the Democratic Party in 1845.
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Simon Cameron won election to another term in the Senate in 1857 and provided pivotal support to Abraham Lincoln at the 1860 Republican National Convention.
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Simon Cameron made a political comeback after the Civil War, winning a third election to the Senate in 1867 and building the powerful Simon Cameron machine that would dominate Pennsylvania politics for the next seventy years.
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On his mother's side, Simon Cameron was the great-grandson of Hans Michel Pfoutz, one of the first Palatine Germans to emigrate to the American colonies, and was the third of eight children born to Charles and Martha Cameron.
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Simon Cameron was sent to live with the family of Dr Peter Grahl, a Jewish physician in Sunbury.
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Simon Cameron met Samuel D Ingham, the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
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Simon Cameron held this position throughout that year, but the newspaper was not profitable and merged with another local paper, costing Cameron his job.
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Simon Cameron next worked as a compositor for the Congressional Globe, the periodical which reported the debates in Congress.
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Simon Cameron benefitted from the election of his friend, John Andrew Shulze as Pennsylvania's governor in 1823.
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Not only did Simon Cameron spend several years in the profitable post of State Printer, but in 1829, Governor Shulze appointed him Adjutant-General of Pennsylvania.
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Delegate from Dauphin County to the Harrisburg State Convention of the Democratic-Republicans in 1824, Simon Cameron was slow to support the presidential candidacy of General Andrew Jackson in the 1824 election, despite Jackson's broad support in Pennsylvania, and only did so because he supported Calhoun for vice president.
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In that capacity, Clay was responsible for selecting three printers in each state to print the laws and resolutions of Congress, and since Simon Cameron was not known as an ardent Jacksonian, his firm became one of the official printers.
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Simon Cameron corresponded extensively with Clay, offering him political advice on Pennsylvania affairs.
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In doing so, Simon Cameron followed a new political ally, Pennsylvania Congressman James Buchanan.
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The president had originally pledged to serve only one term, in changing his mind he enlisted Simon Cameron to get the Pennsylvania legislature to pass a resolution urging him to change his mind and run again in 1832.
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Pennsylvania politicians preferred one of their own to run with Jackson, but Simon Cameron arranged a delegation that would back Van Buren, and he was elected along with Jackson.
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When he returned, Simon Cameron tried to get him elected to the Senate in 1833, lobbying the legislature for votes—until 1913, senators were elected by state legislatures.
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Simon Cameron was not successful, but the following year, Cameron prevailed on Jackson to give Pennsylvania's senior senator, William Wilkins, a diplomatic post, opening a seat that Buchanan might fill.
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Nevertheless, when Simon Cameron sought appointment by Jackson in 1835 as governor of Michigan Territory, he did not get it.
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Simon Cameron was named as one of the two commissioners, and in August 1838, journeyed to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin Territory.
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Simon Cameron wrote to Buchanan in December 1844, hinting at his interest in the seat, but both factions had candidates in mind.
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Simon Cameron worked to unite the minority of the Democratic Party with the Whigs and Native American Party to gain a majority in the legislature and elect himself.
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Simon Cameron held similar views to the Whigs on internal improvements, and found them willing to support him—he hinted to the nativists that he supported increasing the residence time for immigrants to gain citizenship.
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Simon Cameron began his first term in the Senate with little long-term support in the legislature, since he was alienated from many of the Democrats and was viewed by the Whigs as the lesser evil to Woodward, to be replaced in better times.
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Angered, Simon Cameron struck back, defeating the nomination of Henry Horn to the lucrative position of Collector of Customs for the Port of Philadelphia, which Polk pressed repeatedly.
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Simon Cameron defeated the nomination of Woodward to the Supreme Court, the latter likely with Buchanan's help.
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Simon Cameron felt free to oppose it as he owed no debts to Polk and the Pennsylvania legislature had passed a resolution asking the state's congressional delegation to oppose the legislation.
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Simon Cameron gave a lengthy speech against the tariff in July 1846 opining that it would harm Pennsylvania's iron foundries, and opining that no native of the state could support the bill.
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Longtime supporter of the annexation of Texas, Simon Cameron backed the declaration of war against Mexico and the Mexican-American War, He opposed the annexation of land where slavery might flourish, and supported the Wilmot Proviso which would ban slavery from lands gained from Mexico.
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Simon Cameron expected that in due course, Southern states would themselves abolish slavery.
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Simon Cameron was a delegate from Pennsylvania to the 1848 Democratic National Convention and in common with the state's other delegates, supported Buchanan on each ballot.
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The nomination went to Michigan Senator Lewis Cass, and Simon Cameron was accused of working behind the scenes to defeat Buchanan.
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Simon Cameron apparently had no supporters in the Democratic caucus; he received no votes in the legislature's balloting for senator, with Whig James Cooper was elected.
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Once his term in the Senate expired in March 1849, Simon Cameron returned to Pennsylvania and devoted his time to his business enterprises.
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The Democrats recaptured the state legislature in 1850, and Simon Cameron hoped to succeed Sturgeon in the election the following January, but failed to gain enough votes.
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In 1850, trying to diminish any southern support the former secretary might get, Simon Cameron sent Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis a thirty-year-old news article showing that Buchanan had signed an anti-slavery petition.
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Pennsylvania's delegation to the 1852 Democratic National Convention, which included Simon Cameron, was instructed to vote for Buchanan; nevertheless, Simon Cameron worked for the nomination of Cass and the evident dissension in his home state's ranks hurt Buchanan's chances.
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Once elected, Pierce declined to return Buchanan to the cabinet, and Simon Cameron was successful in getting a number of his allies federal positions.
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Persistent opponent of slavery, Simon Cameron switched to the Know Nothing Party, before joining the Republican Party in 1856.
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Simon Cameron waged a bitter dispute with governor-elect Andrew Curtin, but nevertheless in 1860 made himself the state's "favorite son" at the Republican national convention.
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Simon Cameron was not a serious contender for the presidency, but his control of the large Pennsylvania delegation gave him tremendous influence over the ultimate result.
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At the 1860 Republican National Convention, Simon Cameron controlled the votes of the Pennsylvania delegation.
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Simon Cameron delivered those votes to Abraham Lincoln for the nomination for President, which proved decisive.
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Simon Cameron broke with Lincoln and openly advocated emancipating the slaves and arming them for the army at a time when Lincoln was not ready to publicly take that position.
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Simon Cameron made a political comeback after the Civil War, building a powerful state Republican machine that would dominate Pennsylvania politics for the next seventy years.
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Later that year, Cameron helped Rutherford B Hayes win the Republican nomination for President.
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Simon Cameron resigned from the Senate in 1877, after ensuring that his son would succeed him.
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Simon Cameron is buried in the Harrisburg Cemetery in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
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Simon Cameron was shrewd, wealthy, and devoted his talents in money to the goal of building a powerful Republican organization.
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Simon Cameron achieved recognition as the undisputed arbiter of Pennsylvania politics.
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Simon Cameron's assets included business acumen, sincere devotion to the interests and needs of Pennsylvania, expertise on the tariff issue and the need for protection for Pennsylvania industry, and a skill at managing and organizing politicians and their organizations.
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Simon Cameron cleverly rewarded his friends, punished his enemies, and maintain good relations with his Democratic counterparts.
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Biographer Paul Kahan says Simon Cameron was very good as a “back-slapping, glad-handing politician, ” who could manipulate congressmen.
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Simon Cameron paid too much attention to patronage and then not enough to strategy.
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