Lewis Cass

Lewis Cass

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Lewis Cass was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 military officer and politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

. During his long political career, Cass served as a governor of the Michigan Territory
Michigan Territory
The Territory of Michigan was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from June 30, 1805, until January 26, 1837, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Michigan...

, an American ambassador, a U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 representing Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, and co-founder as well as first Masonic Grand Master
Grand Master (Masonic)
In Freemasonry a Grand Master is the leader of the lodges within his Masonic jurisdiction. He presides over a Grand Lodge, and has certain rights in the constituent lodges that form his jurisdiction....

 of the Grand Lodge of Michigan
Grand Lodge of Michigan
The Grand Lodge of Michigan in cooperation with the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Michigan govern the practice of regular Freemasonry in the state of Michigan.-History:...

. He was the losing nominee of the Democratic Party for president in 1848. Cass was nationally famous as a leading spokesman for the controversial Doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, which would have allowed voters in the territories to determine whether to make slavery legal instead of having Congress decide.

Early life


Cass was born in Exeter, New Hampshire
Exeter, New Hampshire
Exeter is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The town's population was 14,306 at the 2010 census. Exeter was the county seat until 1997, when county offices were moved to neighboring Brentwood...

, where he attended Phillips Exeter Academy
Phillips Exeter Academy
Phillips Exeter Academy is a private secondary school located in Exeter, New Hampshire, in the United States.Exeter is noted for its application of Harkness education, a system based on a conference format of teacher and student interaction, similar to the Socratic method of learning through asking...

. His parents were Major Jonathan Cass and Molly Gilman. In 1800 he moved with his family to Marietta
Marietta, Ohio
Marietta is a city in and the county seat of Washington County, Ohio, United States. During 1788, pioneers to the Ohio Country established Marietta as the first permanent American settlement of the new United States in the Northwest Territory. Marietta is located in southeastern Ohio at the mouth...

, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

. On May 26, 1806, he married the former Elizabeth Spencer. Interested in "passing knowledge forward" Cass joined the Freemasons on May 7, 1804 and was later elected as the third Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio
Grand Lodge of Ohio
The Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Ohio is the governing body of the largest group of Masonic lodges in Ohio...

 on January 4, 1808. Later he went on to co-found the Grand Lodge of Michigan being elected as its first Grand Master on July 21, 1826.

Territorial governor


During the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

, Cass served as a brigadier general and participated in the Battle of the Thames
Battle of the Thames
The Battle of the Thames, also known as the Battle of Moraviantown, was a decisive American victory in the War of 1812. It took place on October 5, 1813, near present-day Chatham, Ontario in Upper Canada...

. As a reward for his service, he was appointed Governor of the Michigan Territory
Michigan Territory
The Territory of Michigan was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from June 30, 1805, until January 26, 1837, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Michigan...

 by President James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 on October 29, 1813, and served until 1831. He was frequently absent, and several territorial secretaries often served as acting governor in his place.

In 1817, he was one of two commissioners (along with Duncan McArthur
Duncan McArthur
right|thumb|350pxDuncan McArthur was a Federalist and National Republican politician from Ohio. He served as the 11th Governor of Ohio....

) who negotiated the Treaty of Fort Meigs
Treaty of Fort Meigs
The Treaty of Fort Meigs, also called the Treaty of the Foot of the Rapids, was signed September 29, 1817 between the chiefs and warriors of the Wyandot, Seneca, Delaware, Shawnee, Potawatomi, Ottawa and Chippewa, tribes of native Americans and the United States of America, represented by Lewis...

, which was signed September 29 of that year with several Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 tribes.

In 1820, he led an expedition
Lewis Cass expedition
The Lewis Cass expedition of 1820 was a survey of the western part of Michigan Territory led by Lewis Cass, governor of the territory. On January 14, 1820, United States Secretary of War John C...

 to the northern part of the territory, in the northern Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 region in present-day northern Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, in order to map the region and discover the source of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

. The source of the river had been unknown until then, resulting in an undefined border between the United States and British North America
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

. The expedition erroneously identified Cass Lake
Cass Lake (Minnesota)
Cass Lake is a glacially-formed lake in north central Minnesota in the United States. It is approximately long and wide, located in Cass and Beltrami counties, within the Chippewa National Forest and the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, adjacent to its namesake city of Cass Lake...

 as the source of the river. The source of the river was correctly identified in 1832 by Henry Schoolcraft
Henry Schoolcraft
Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was an American geographer, geologist, and ethnologist, noted for his early studies of Native American cultures, as well as for his 1832 discovery of the source of the Mississippi River. He married Jane Johnston, whose parents were Ojibwe and Scots-Irish...

, who had been Cass's expedition geologist, as nearby Lake Itasca
Lake Itasca
Lake Itasca is a small glacial lake, approximately in area, in the Headwaters area of north central Minnesota. The lake is located in southeastern Clearwater County within Itasca State Park and it has an average depth of 20–35 feet , and is 1,475 ft above sea level.The Ojibwe name for...

.

Later political career


On August 1, 1831, Cass resigned as governor of the Michigan Territory to take the post of Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

 under President Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

, a position he would hold until 1836. Cass was a central figure in formulating and implementing the Indian removal
Indian Removal
Indian removal was a nineteenth century policy of the government of the United States to relocate Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river...

 policy of the Jackson administration. Next, Cass was appointed minister to France, a post he retained until 1842.

In the 1844 Democratic convention Cass stood as a candidate for the presidential nomination, losing on the 9th ballot to dark horse
Dark horse
Dark horse is a term used to describe a little-known person or thing that emerges to prominence, especially in a competition of some sort.-Origin:The term began as horse racing parlance...

 candidate James K. Polk
James K. Polk
James Knox Polk was the 11th President of the United States . Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He later lived in and represented Tennessee. A Democrat, Polk served as the 17th Speaker of the House of Representatives and the 12th Governor of Tennessee...

, who went on to win the presidential election.

Cass represented Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from 1845 to 1848. He served as chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs in the 30th Congress
30th United States Congress
The Thirtieth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1847 to March 3, 1849, during the last two years of...

. In 1848, he resigned from the Senate to run for President. William Orlando Butler
William Orlando Butler
William Orlando Butler was a U.S. political figure and U.S. Army major general from Kentucky. He served as a Democratic congressman from Kentucky from 1839 to 1843, and was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee under Lewis Cass in 1848.-Early life:Butler was born in Jessamine County, Kentucky,...

 was his running mate. Cass was a leading supporter of the Doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, which held that the people who lived in a territory should decide whether or not to permit slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 there. His nomination caused a split in the Democratic party, leading many antislavery Democrats to join the Free Soil Party. He also supported the annexation of Texas.
After losing the election to Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States and an American military leader. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor nonetheless ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass...

, he returned to the Senate, serving from 1849 to 1857. He was the first non-incumbent Democratic presidential candidate to lose an election.

From 1857 to 1860, Cass served as Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 under President James Buchanan
James Buchanan
James Buchanan, Jr. was the 15th President of the United States . He is the only president from Pennsylvania, the only president who remained a lifelong bachelor and the last to be born in the 18th century....

. He was sympathetic to American filibusterers
Filibuster (military)
A filibuster, or freebooter, is someone who engages in an unauthorized military expedition into a foreign country to foment or support a revolution...

 and was instrumental in having Commodore Hiram Paulding
Hiram Paulding
Hiram Paulding was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy, who served from the War of 1812 until after the Civil War.-Naval career:...

 removed from command for his landing of Marines in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 and compelling the removal of William Walker to the United States. Cass resigned on December 13, 1860, because of Buchanan's failure to protect federal interests in the South and failure to mobilize the federal military, actions that might have averted the threatened secession of Southern states.

Cass died in 1866 and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery
Elmwood Cemetery (Detroit, Michigan)
Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit is one of Michigan's most important historic cemeteries. Located at 1200 Elmwood Street in Detroit's Eastside Historic Cemetery District, Elmwood is the oldest continuously operating, non-denominational cemetery in Michigan...

 in Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

.

His Great-Great Grandson Cass Ballenger
Cass Ballenger
Thomas Cass Ballenger is an American politician. A Republican, he represented North Carolina's 10th Congressional district, centered in North Carolina's foothills, in the United States House of Representatives from 1986 to 2005....

 was a U.S. Representative from North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

.

Michigan-based attorney, activist and singer-songwriter Jen Cass
Jen Cass
Jen Cass is an American singer-songwriter born in Detroit, Michigan.-Musical career:In November 1996, Cass released her first CD, Brave Enough To Say, and quickly sold over 2,000 copies. She recorded with the help of the Russian surf-rock band Red Elvises...

 is Lewis Cass' great-great-great-grandniece.

Commemoration


  • A statue of Cass is one of the two that were submitted by Michigan to the National Statuary Hall
    National Statuary Hall
    National Statuary Hall is a chamber in the United States Capitol devoted to sculptures of prominent Americans. The hall, also known as the Old Hall of the House, is a large, two-story, semicircular room with a second story gallery along the curved perimeter. It is located immediately south of the...

     collection in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
    Washington, D.C.
    Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

     It stands in the National Statuary Hall room. (The other statue is of President Gerald Ford
    Gerald Ford
    Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

    , the only U.S. president to come from Michigan
    Michigan
    Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

    .)
  • The Liberty ship
    Liberty ship
    Liberty ships were cargo ships built in the United States during World War II. Though British in conception, they were adapted by the U.S. as they were cheap and quick to build, and came to symbolize U.S. wartime industrial output. Based on vessels ordered by Britain to replace ships torpedoed by...

     S.S. Lewis Cass
  • Cass Technical High School
    Cass Technical High School
    The Cass Tech Technicians football team is a high school football program in Division 1 Public School League, representing the prestigious Cass Technical High School in Detroit, MI. Cass Tech High School has long been recognized nationwide for its extraordinary football program dating back to its...

     in Detroit, Michigan
    Detroit, Michigan
    Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

     is named after Cass, as are the Cass River
    Cass River
    The Cass River is a river in the Thumb region of the U.S. state of Michigan. It drains large portions of Sanilac and Tuscola counties and smaller portions of Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, and Saginaw counties....

     and Cass City
    Cass City, Michigan
    Cass City is a village in Tuscola County in the Flint/Tri-Cities area of the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 2,428 at the 2010 U.S. Census and 2,643 at the 2000 U.S. Census . It is located along the M-81 state trunkline approximately 4 miles west of that highway's intersection with M-53...

     in the Thumb
    The Thumb
    The Thumb is a region and a peninsula of Michigan, so named because the Lower Peninsula is shaped like a mitten; thus the Thumb is the area that looks like the thumb of the mitten. The Thumb is generally considered to be in the Mid-Michigan area of the state, located east of Flint/Tri-Cities...

     area of Michigan.
  • Cass County, Texas
    Cass County, Texas
    As of the census of 2000, there were 30,438 people, 12,190 households, and 8,654 families residing in the county. The population density was 32 people per square mile . There were 13,890 housing units at an average density of 15 per square mile...

    was named for him, as Cass supported Texas' annexation into the United States.
  • The Lewis Cass Legacy Society which supports The Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation was named for his support of Michigan Freemasonry.