(13.) GENERAL LEWIS CASS (1782-1866)
Democrat Cass/William Butler
Defeated by Whig General Zachary Taylor/Millard Fillmore, 1848
It is an irony of fate that the years of service and statesmanship of General Lewis Cass were ignored by a fickle public in favor of a man who had taken no interest in civic affairs, not even enough to vote. It is said, however, Zachary Taylor was in the public eye as a military hero.
Gen. Cass spent years with the Indians of the Northwest Territory educating them and guiding them to love the Great White Father in Washington. He had taken an active part in the Canada Campaign in the War of 1812, was Michigan’s territorial governor for the next 18 years and made the Indians understand that their friends were in Washington and not in the British ranks.
Cass became Secretary of War in 1831, serving until he was made Minister at Paris in 1836. He was a senator during the time he was defeated for presidency and left the Senate to become Secretary of State under Buchanan.
Cass was earnestly alarmed on the eve of the secession. He asked Buchanan to send reinforcements to Charleston to prevent the South from appropriating the military supplies. The president refused and Cass resigned as Secretary of State saying, “I saw the Constitution born and I fear I may see it die.”