Cover

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Half title, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

Projects like Amiable Scoundrel reflect the assistance of dozens, if not hundreds, of people whose names do not appear on the cover, so I want to take a moment and thank them. Ashley Cataldo at the American Antiquarian Society, Beth Huffer at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, ...

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Introduction: “Warm Friends and Bitter Enemies”

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pp. 1-4

His contemporaries called him the “greatest of wirepullers” and “corrupt as a dunghill.”1 Historians have been no kinder, branding him a “crafty manipulator with few scruples” and “a deadweight, an embarrassment.”2 ...

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1. “A Determined Will and a Right Purpose”

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pp. 5-28

On his father’s side, Simon Cameron was descended from the Lochiel family of the Clan Cameron. Two brothers—Duncan and Donald (the “foolish ones,” according to family tradition)—fled Scotland after participating in the disastrous Battle of Culloden in 1746. ...

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2. “The Great Winnebago Chief,” 1838–45

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pp. 29-58

Beginning in the mid-1830s, Cameron sought to leverage his political influence to secure a patronage job. In a July 1834 letter to Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan told the president that Cameron’s “influence is extensive and powerful throughout [the] State, and to my knowledge many of the Democratic members of our last Legislature were among his warmest friends.”1 ...

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3. “True-Hearted Pennsylvanian, Able, Fearless, and Unflinching,” 1845–49

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pp. 59-92

Two days after winning his seat, Cameron appeared in the U.S. Senate. Vice President Dallas laid the new senator’s credentials before the upper chamber, and on March 17, 1845, Pennsylvania’s senior senator, Daniel Sturgeon, presented Cameron to his colleagues. ...

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4. “Exclude Him from the Ranks of the Democratic Party,” 1849–60

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pp. 93-130

Cameron’s departure from the Senate coincided with an industrial boom in Pennsylvania. Between 1850 and 1860, the amount of capital invested in the commonwealth more than doubled, while the value of Pennsylvania’s industrial output surged by almost 100 percent.1 ...

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5. “What They Worship Is the God of Success,” 1860–61

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pp. 131-156

As Buchanan’s unhappy term ground to a close, Democrats of all stripes scrambled to succeed him. The most likely candidate was Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas. The “Little Giant,” as he was popularly known, had pursued the Democratic nomination in 1856, but withdrew when it became clear that neither he nor Buchanan had the political strength to secure it while the other was in the race. ...

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6. “Then Profit Shall Accrue,” 1861–62

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pp. 157-182

The new war secretary faced daunting and unprecedented challenges when he took office in March 1861: Cameron had to navigate the contradictory demands of an administration that desired peace but had to plan for war and he had to balance the often incompatible desires of cabinet members, the military, Northern state and border state governors, and the president. ...

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7. “Gentlemen, the Paragraph Stands,” 1861–62

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pp. 183-214

On Independence Day 1861, Cameron’s job got even harder because Congress convened in a special session. The war was no longer Lincoln’s alone; he now had to negotiate with Congress, and a significant number of congressmen wanted to manage the war. ...

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8. “A Man Out of Office in Washington,” 1862–67

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pp. 215-244

Cameron’s ouster from the cabinet was the nadir of his long political career, and in December 1862 Cameron complained, “A man out of office in Washington is greatly shorn of power.”1 Ironically, Cameron’s removal from the cabinet actually strengthened his hand politically because it turned him into a martyr to the abolitionist cause while the Radicals were growing more powerful in the Republican Party. ...

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9. “Nothing Can Beat You,” 1867–77

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pp. 245-274

Cameron’s return to the Senate marked his arrival as the putative boss of Pennsylvania’s Republican Party and his final defeat of both Curtin and McClure. While Cameron’s power in Pennsylvania was not uncontested, by the late 1860s he had constructed a durable, powerful political machine that dominated the Keystone State until the New Deal.1 ...

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10. “I’ll Behave Myself as Long as I’m Here,” 1877–89

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pp. 275-290

Donald’s confrontation with Hayes over appointing Cameron to represent the United States in Great Britain was hardly the only issue vexing Cameron’s retirement. At age seventy-eight, Cameron was sued for $50,000 by a former Treasury Department employee named Mary S. Oliver, ...

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Conclusion: “I Did the Best I Could and Was Never Untrue to a Friend”

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pp. 291-292

Cameron’s passing marked more than just the end of his life; it coincided with the end of an era. As the nineteenth century came to an end, the pressure to curb the abuses of the spoils system became irresistible. ...

Notes

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pp. 293-330

Bibliography

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pp. 331-358

Index

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pp. 359-367

Image plates

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