SEWARD, WILLIAM HENRY
\sˈuːəd], \sˈuːəd], \s_ˈuː_ə_d]\
Definitions of SEWARD, WILLIAM HENRY
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(May 16, 1801-October 10, 1872), a distinguished American statesman, was born in Orange County, N.Y. He was graduated at Union College in 1820, and having studied law he entered on its practice at Auburn. The anti-Masonic excitement broke out soon afterward, and Seward was carried into the State Senate on a wave of this feeling in 1830. In 1834 he was defeated as the Whig candidate for Governor. About this time began the political partnership of Thurlow Weed, Horace Greeley and Seward, which was far-reaching in its influence on State and National affairs. Seward was Governor in 1839-1843. In 1849 he entered the U.S. Senate. He was in that body one of the leaders of the anti-slavery men, and when the Republican party was formed he was among its foremost orators. Among his numerous speeches were that in 1850, which spoke of the "higher law," and the "irrepressible conflict" oration of 1858. In 1860, at the Chicago Convention, Seward was at the start the leading candidate for the Presidential nomination. The many elements opposed to him proved too strong, and Lincoln was nominated. The new President called his chief rival to the Department of State. Secretary Seward's tenure of his office, 1861-1869, covers the highly important periods of the Civil War and of reconstruction. Many were the delicate questions, especially with England, as in the "Trent" affair and throughout the struggle, also with France in the Mexican episode. Seward's ability in the conduct of the foreign relations has been generally praised. On the night of Lincoln's assassination he was stabbed and dangerously injured. In 1867 he negotiated the purchase of Alaska, and he made various West Indian treaties which failed of confirmation. He traveled extensively after retiring from office, and the narratives of his travels, as well as his speeches, have been published. Life by Seward.
By John Franklin Jameson