Zachariah Chandler


Zachariah Chandler Famous memorial

Bedford, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, USA
Death 1 Nov 1879 (aged 65)
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Burial Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Plot Section B, Lot 49
Memorial ID 12645 View Source

US Senator, Presidential Cabinet Secretary, Detroit Mayor. Born in Bedford, New Hampshire, he was descended from English immigrants who settled in Massachusetts early in the 17th Century. He was educated in his native village and neighboring academies, then moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1833. Successful in the dry goods business, he purchased real estate and in time amassed great wealth. By 1848 he had become active in politics, speaking locally on behalf of presidential candidate Zachary Taylor. In 1851, a Whig, he won a term as Mayor of Detroit and made a bid the next year for the state's governorship; despite an energetic race, he was defeated. From his earliest days a political liberal, an ardent foe of slavery and states rights, he became a charter member of Michigan's Republican party. Boosting his emancipationist image, he played a leading role in a convention held in Buffalo, New York, to facilitate migration of free-staters to "Bleeding Kansas." He was also a delegate to the 1856 convention in Philadelphia, which produced the first Republican presidential candidate, John C. Fremont. He was elected as a Republican Senator from Michigan to the United States Senate, serving from 1857 to 1875. In the Senate he quickly rose to prominence in his party as a "radical among radicals." A tough, blunt politician of sometimes excessive temperament, he was also idealistic and incorruptible. Beyond the freedom and social advancement of blacks, he promoted internal improvements to develop the nation's commerce, especially within the Midwest, furthering this interest through his 14 year chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Commerce, which enabled him to dispense appropriations for river and harbor improvement. He also had a keen interest in military affairs and, when the Civil War began, stirred the martial spirit of his constituents to raise and equip state units. Late in 1861 he became a member of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, a Radical Republican oriented panel that held frequent inquests into the military prosecution, and the political orientation, of the conflict. An outspoken enemy of the Confederacy, he initiated legislation aimed at confiscating Southerners' property, prepared plans for ruling a conquered South (laying the basis for Congressional Reconstruction), and opposed political and military leaders he considered "soft" on slavery or secession, a prime target being Major General George B. McClellan. During his Senate career he supported a national bank, a high tariff, and Greenback currency and censured those foreign nations, especially England, friendly with the Confederacy. In 1864 he almost singlehandedly persuaded Fremont to drop his third party candidacy in favor of Abraham Lincoln, which not only helped Republican's retain the White House at a crucial period but helped force the resignation from Lincoln's cabinet of Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, a friend of Fremont's and an enemy of Radical Republicans. After the war, he fought to impeach President Andrew Johnson and served as chairman of the Republican National Executive Committee during the presidential campaigns of 1868 and 1876. In 1874 he was defeated for reelection to the Senate but late the next year was appointed Secretary of the Interior by President Ulysses S. Grant, retaining the post until early 1877. Re-elected to the Senate in February 1879, he served only a few months, as he was found dead in his room at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Chicago, Illinois while on a speaking tour. He was the nephew of John Chandler and Thomas Chandler, father in law of Eugene Hale, grandfather of Frederick Hale and great great granduncle of Rod Dennis Chandler, all whom served in the United States Congress. In 1913 his statue was given by Michigan to represent the state in the National Statuary Hall Collection located in the Capitol.

Bio by: Ugaalltheway

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 18 Sep 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 12645
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Zachariah Chandler (10 Dec 1813–1 Nov 1879), Find a Grave Memorial ID 12645, citing Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .