Secretary of State under Presidents Lincoln and Johnson, William H. Seward had many more credits to his name than the purchase of Alaska in 1867. Abraham Lincoln trusted Seward's advice on domestic issues, most notably the timing of the Emancipation Proclamation. John Wilkes Booth had targeted Seward as well as Lincoln in the assassination plot. Although severely wounded, Seward survived the attack. Continuing in his cabinet position for Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's successor, Seward backed the president against radical Republican attacks. In addition to the purchase of Alaska, Seward advocated the acquisition of the Danish West Indies (Virgin Islands) and Hawaii.
Abraham Lincoln Cabinet
President Lincoln's cabinet included all of his major rivals for the Republican nomination for President in 1860William H. Seward Salmon P. Chase Simon Cameron and Edward Bates. Some of these men had been effectively promised positions as part of the negotiations that led to Mr. Lincoln's nomination at the Republican national convention in May 1860. Many of them objected to the inclusion of each other in the cabinet. There were worries about both geographic distribution and balance between former members of the Whig and Democratic Parties. There were also differences over ideology ethics and personality. Simon Cameron came under particular attack because of his reputation for political and financial shenanigans.
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