Sep 13, 2018
By most accounts I've seen, it seems like he was not a very pleasant man. On the other hand, I don't think anyone would disagree that he was a massive upgrade from Simon Cameron.

1) How much credit does Stanton deserve for Union success? Was he a mastermind who engineered the Union war machine? Or a very competent clerk who looks exceptional because his predecessor was so mediocre?
2) Depending on your answer to 1, was he Lincoln's best cabinet pick? I used to think Seward was, but while I'm sure he was an essential adviser, Lincoln himself had a magnificent political mind, versus a less sophisticated understanding of war and industrial policy. So perhaps a SoW pick was more essential than a good SoS one

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2nd Lieutenant
Jul 28, 2015
New York City
1) Stanton was one of the important characters in the National government and as such, deserves credit for the Union's success. He was a tireless administrator and overseer of the vast logistical effort that was required to obtain victory. One example: he masterminded and pushed through the prompt rail movement of the XI and XII Corps to the Chattanooga front in September 1863. Without support from the War Department, the field armies could not have accomplished all they did.
2) Lincoln was fortunate to have a "team of rivals" who comprised some of the best minds in the country. So certainly, Stanton, along with Seward, Chase, and Bates each had important roles to fill in their respective fields.

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