Seward and Davis: An Unlikely Friendship

Presidential History Blog

Jefferson Davis and William Seward in their old age.

William H. Seward: Republican Whig

Senator William Seward (R-NY)

The 1850s was decade seething with unrest; a volcano just waiting to erupt. The Whigs had always been a cobbled-together party of various factions and sections and philosophies. By the 1850s, it was imploding, scooping those factions and sections and philosophies into the new Republican party. Only this time, it would have stronger leadership.

Arguably the best known and most respected Whig-turned-Republican was William Seward (1801-72), a New Yorker who had been in the public eye and on the national scene for more than a decade.

He was not only a leader, but one with a solid resume:  Legislator, Governor, NY Senator, and shortlisted for high office. He was perceived a moderate in a sea of extremes. Always strongly against slavery, he was pragmatic like Abraham Lincoln, and had straddled the middle…

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