bluff wade

| No Comments

Benjamin Franklin "Bluff" Wade  Nicknamed "Bluff Ben,"



(October 27, 1800 - March 2, 1878) was a U.S. lawyer and United States Senator. In the Senate, he was associated with the Radical Republicans of that time.



As a leading anti-slavery advocate in the Senate he opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act

During the Civil War, he was chair of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War and sponsored the Wade-Davis Bill (1864), an early attempt by Congress to wrest control over the Reconstruction process from the President. The bill stipulated Confederate disfranchisement, a loyalty oath of 50 percent of the electorate, and abolition of slavery before a state could be readmitted to the Union. It was pocket-vetoed by President Lincoln.


Lincoln defended his decision by telling Zachariah Chandler, one of the bill's supporters, that it was a question of time: "this bill was placed before me a few minutes before Congress adjourns. It is a matter of too much importance to be swallowed in that way."Lincoln made a speech on 8th July where he explained that he had rejected the bill because he did not wish "to be inflexibly committed to any single plan of restoration".

On 5th August, Wade and Henry Winter Davis published an attack on Lincoln in the New York Tribune. In what became known as the Wade-Davis Manifesto, the men argued that Lincoln's actions had been taken "at the dictation of his personal ambition" and accused him of "dictatorial usurpation". They added that: "he must realize that our support is of a cause and not of a man."


Wade also opposed Andrew Johnson and like other Radical Republicans, argued in Congress that Southern plantations should be taken from their owners and divided among the former slaves. He also attacked Johnson when he attempted to veto the extension of the Freeman's Bureau, the Civil Rights Bill and the Reconstruction Acts.

At the beginning of the 40th Congress Wade became the new presiding officer of the Senate. As Johnson did not have a vice-president this meant that Wade was now the legal successor to the president.

In November, 1867, the Judiciary Committee voted 5-4 that Johnson be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.


Although a large number of senators believed that Johnson was guilty of the charges, they disliked the idea of Wade becoming the next president. Wade, who believed in women's suffrage and trade union rights, was considered by many members of the Republican Party as being an extreme radical. James Garfield warned that Wade was "a man of violent passions, extreme opinions and narrow views who was surrounded by the worst and most violent elements in the Republican Party."

further vote on 26th May, also failed to get the necessary majority needed to impeach Johnson. The editor of The Detroit Post wrote that "Andrew Johnson is innocent because Ben Wade is guilty of being his successor."

Merrimac vs. Monitor

| No Comments

The Confederates built the Merrimac, which was an ironclad ship. They wanted to take control of Hampton Roads so that General McClellan could attack Richmond. The North built an ironclad ship to defend from the Merrimac and so they built the Monitor. On March 8, the Merrimac sailed into Hampton Roads and rammed a Union ship (the Cumberland) and sunk it. The Confederates then fired on another Union ship (the Congress) and the ship surrendered. The Merrimac had plans to attack a final Union ship (the Minnesota) the next day. When the Monitor arrived, the Merrimac had already left. They positioned themselves to protect the Minnesota. The Merrimac returned the next day and the Merrimac and Monitor started a naval battle. Since both of the ships were built so well, neither of them sustained any real damage. Eventually the Merrimac left. However, both sides declared victory. The Merrimac sunk 2 Union ships and killed more people but the Monitor successfully defended the Union vessel.

Roger B. Taney

| No Comments

Roger B. Taney was born in 1777 in Maryland and died in 1864. He was the song of Michael Taney and Monica Brooke. The Taney family was a slaveholding family. Roger Taney graduated from Dickinson College in 1795 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He set up law firms in Calvert County and at the same time he ran for a seat in the Maryland lower house as a Federalist in 1799 and won. Unfortunately he lost his seat in 1800. Taney then moved to Frederick in 1803 and ran for the assembly again but lost. He then married Anne Phebe Charlton Key in 1806. Anne was the sister of Francis Scott Key. In 1816, Roger became the leader of the Maryland Federalists and won a 5 year term in t he Maryland Senate. He then moved to Baltimore in 1824 to move up the professional ladder. In 1827 he was elected as the state attorney general. He served as chair of the Jackson Central Committee of Maryland in the 1828 election and in 1831 Jackson offered Taney the attorney general position. Taney was then asked to take the position of Secretary of the Treasury after the former secretary was dismissed in 1836. Taney then ordered that federal deposits be transferred from the Second Bank to the state banks. In 1835 Jackson nominated Taney for associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court but the senate refused him. Chief Justice John Marshall dies and Jackson nominates Taney to fill the position. Taney was dismissed based on his opinion on slavery. In 1846 Dred Scott sued for his freedom and was at first declared free. Then his owner appealed and the ruling was reversed, saying that Scott was a slave. Scott then took his case to the federal court and was again declared a slave. Finally, Scott took his case to the Taney Court. President Buchanan stepped in and stated that the slavery issue had to be settled and Taney took it upon himself to answer the question. Scott was finally pronounced a slave and Taney went on to say that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional and did not allow individuals the right to exercise property rights. He went on to doubt free black people’s citizenship. Taney got a horrible reputation because of his opinion on slavery. Taney administered t he oath of office to Lincoln and then Taney took many chances to denounce Lincoln. He went as far as to leak informal, unsolicited opinions to the press about the unconstitutionality of the Emancipation Proclamation. Taney suffered a lot of personal loss. In 1855 his wife and daughter died of yellow fever. Finally Roger B. Taney died in 1864.

The Battle of Shiloh:Ulysses S. Grant &Cyrus F. Boyd

| No Comments
-both the Union and the Confederate armies were full of "green" soldiers-they had never stepped foot on a battle field
-both described the battle with great intensity

-Grant's account made the Union soldiers seem chaotic, whereas Boyd's sounded as though the Confederates were well organized
-Grant's account was that of a well seasoned soldier, Boyd's was that of a fresh eyed rookie
-Boyd's account discussed the fleeing of the Confederate army and the scenes that were unfolding, Grant discussed his official decisions as the commanding officer
-Boyd's account had a much more personal flair than Grant's, you could actually feel as though you were there.

The Lecompton Constitution

| No Comments
The Lecompton Constitution was a pro-slavery response to the anti-slavery, Topeka Constitution. When the two were put to a vote, Kansans could only vote on one section of the constitution, Article 7. This meant that if one was to vote against Article 7, then no new slaves could be imported Kansas, but current slaves would remain the property of their owners. If they voted for the article slavery would continue as it had been. When the actual vote took place the Free-Staters boycotted it, so Article 7 was approved in a landslide. After this the Free-State Legislature set a date to vote on the entire document rather than just Article 7. This time many Free-Staters showed up at the polls and overwhelmingly rejected the constitution in its entirety. There was intimidation and violence at the polls and election fraud was suspected. It was later investigated and John C. Calhoun was found to have forged pro-slavery votes. This greatly damaged both Calhoun's reputation and the power of the Lecompton Constitution. Two more constitutions were created, the Leavenworth and Wyandotte, before one was finally passed and Kansas officially became a state in 1861. After the Lecompton Constitution, the pro-slavery movement in Kansas never regained its power.

Dorothea Dix

| No Comments
Dorothea Dix is most famous for her work in prisons and mental institutions, but during the Civil War she was the Union's Superintendent of Female Nurses. She volunteered her aid to the Union Army when she was 59 years old, right after the attack on Ft. Sumter. She convinced military officials that women were capable nurses and began recruiting women for the job. This resulted in over 3,000 women serving in the Union army as nurses. She made her nurses wear modest brown or black skirts and had a reputation for being very strict, winning her the nickname "dragon dix." However, the soldiers who received her name referred to her as the "Angel of the Battlefield." She took care of her nurses and the soldiers and found private funding when there was not enough available through the government. After the war she returned to her work for the mentally ill.

| No Comments

The Ostend Manifesto

| No Comments

     The Ostend Manifesto was a document written on October 9, 1854 in Ostend, Belgium.  The document was written by U.S. diplomats, James Buchanan, the U.S. minister to Britain, John Young Mason, U.S. minister to France, and Pierre SoulĂ©, U.S. minister to Spain.  An attempt to expand U.S. territory, the Ostend Manifesto pushed for Spain to sell Cuba to the United States for $120 million dollars.  The document also suggested that if Spain were to refuse, the U.S. would use force as an effort to get them to agree.  Intended to be a secret, the document leaked and was eventually made public.  Although it was primarily an attempt to expand U.S. territory, the document also caused uproar against antislavery groups because Cuba was already an established slavery territory.  The Ostend Manifesto was declared unconstitutional due to the Fugitive Slave Law that was passed as part of the Compromise of 1850; therefore Cuba did not become a U.S. territory.

Benjamin F. Butler

| No Comments

     Benjamin F. Butler was born in late 1818 and would become known as an outspoken and controversial man during the Civil War era.  Butler studied law at Waterville (now Colby) College and had four children with his wife Sarah Hildreth.  A clever attorney who was known for using spectacular tricks to win cases, Butler often took on unpopular cases, especially those regarding the rights of labor.  He was active in politics, holding positions both as the Governor of Massachusetts in the 1850s and a general from New Hampshire during the Civil War.  Butler supported both the Democratic-Free Soil Coalition of 1850 as well as the Buchanan administration.  Benjamin F. Butler was a delegate to the Democratic Convention in Charleston during which he submitted a one-man minority platform that called for the re-endorsement of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.  Also as a delegate Butler voted over fifty times for Jefferson Davis to be the party’s presidential candidate.  After the convention broke he sided with pro-southern faction and supported John C. Breckinridge.  Butler was well-known for his help rehabilitating the Middlesex Mills where he performed a valuable service to the Union by putting aside anti-Republican prejudices and helped supply overcoats to Governor John A. Andrew.  Butler has a series of highly sensational operations starting with the isolation of the capital in which he destructed railroad tracks north of the city so that troops could travel through Annapolis.  He was promoted to major general by Lincoln after capturing Baltimore and refused to return runaway slaves employed as Confederate fortifications, declaring them “contraband of war.”  Butler lost the Battle of Big Bethel near Yorktown, VA and assisted in the capture of Hatteras Inlet in NC where he earned the military rank of president.  His administration of New Orleans was one of his most sensational operations.  Here he issued General Order No. 28 which threatened to treat all females who misbehaved towards troops as “women of the town plying their avocation.”  Butler also cleaned up streets, prevented yellow fever, aided the poor, and kept order in the city.  His military career came to an end after the reelection of Lincoln and he was reelected to Congress during Grant’s administration.  During his last years he remained a radical, defending the Haymarket riots and supporting the Populist candidate for president in 1892.  Throughout his life Butler remained outspoken and controversial, never being able to shake off rumors of corruption.  He was credited for successful advocacy of the rights of labor, blacks, and women, and for rallying Democrats to the national cause during the Civil War.

Battle of Antietam

| No Comments

On September 16, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan confronted Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Maryland. At dawn September 17, Hooker’s soldiers mounted a powerful assault on Lee's troops that began the single bloodiest day in American military history. Fighting swept across Miller’s cornfield and fighting continued around the Dunker Church. Union assaults against the Sunken Road eventually penetrated the Confederate center, but the Union advantage was not followed up. Late in the day, Burnside’s troops crossed the stone bridge over Antietam Creek . At a crucial moment, A.P. Hill’s division arrived from Harpers Ferry and counterattacked, driving back Burnside and saving the day. Although outnumbered 2-1, Lee committed his entire force, while McClellan sent in less than three-quarters of his army, enabling Lee to fight the Union to a standstill. During the night, both armies consolidated their lines. In spite of heavy casualties, Lee continued to skirmish with McClellan throughout the 18th, while removing his wounded south of the river. McClellan did not renew the assaults. After dark, Lee ordered the Army of Northern Virginia to withdraw across the Potomac into the Shenandoah Valley. The battle resulted in a union strategic victory, but no distinct winner.