Abraham Lincoln reference site established 2005

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces
of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty, as we understand it.

    - Speech at New Haven, CT, March 6, 1860

Lincoln's Cabinet

compare with the present-day cabinet

Secretary of State

William H. Seward, Lincoln's Secretary of State
Next to the President, the highest executive officer of the government. Holds intercourse with the ambassadors and ministers of foreign governments accredited to ours, and conducts correspondence with them; prepares and issues instructions to our ministers and consuls abroad... Also collects and communicates to Congress all commercial information obtained through our ministers and consuls abroad, or from other sources. Receives the enrolled acts passed by Congress, that have become laws, and promulgates them. Causes the seal of the United States to be affixed to all civil commissions after they have been signed by the President. (In 1876, the U.S. maintained about 75 consuls in various parts of the world.)

William H. Seward (1801-1872)
March 5, 1861 - March 3, 1869

Secretary of the Treasury

Charged with supervision of the fiscal transactions and finances of the government, and execution of laws concerning commerce and navigation, the survey of the coast, the light-house establishment, the marine hospitals of the United States, and the construction of public buildings for custom-houses and other purposes.

Salmon P. Chase (1808-1873)
March 7, 1861 - June 30, 1864

William P. Fessenden (1806-1869)
July 5, 1864 - March 3, 1865

Hugh McCulloch (1808-1895)
March 7, 1865 - March 4, 1869

Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury

Secretary of War

Issues commissions, directs the movement of troops, superintends their payment, stores, clothing, arms, equipments, and ordnance, and conducts the works of military engineering.

Simon Cameron (1799-1889)
March 11, 1861 - January 14, 1862

Edwin M. Stanton (1814-1869)
January 15, 1862 - May 26, 1869

Secretary of the Navy

Procures naval stores and materials, to direct the construction, arrangement, and equipment of vessels of war, and executes all orders of the President relating to the naval establishment.

Gideon Welles (1802-1878)
March 5, 1861 - March 3, 1869

Attorney General

Prosecutes and conducts all suits in the Supreme Court, in which the United States is a party, and gives his advice and opinion upon questions of law, when required by the President, or when requested by the head of any department. Also charged with the general superintendence and direction of all United States attorneys and marshals, as to the manner of discharging their respective duties. Examines the titles of all land to be purchased by the United States as the sites of arsenals, light-houses, custom-houses, and other public works; receives all applications for the appointment of judges, district attorneys, and marshals, and prepares statements to the President on applications for pardons, and the remission of imprisonment of public debtors.

Edward Bates (1793-1869)
March 5, 1861 - November 24, 1864

James Speed (1812-1887)
December 2, 1864 - July 17, 1866

Secretary of the Interior

Caleb B. Smith, Lincoln's Secretary of the Interior

Assigned the general supervision and management of the following bureaus, or branches of the public service: the General Land Office; the Pension Bureau; the Indian Office; the Bureau of Education; the Patent Office; and the Department of Agriculture. Besides the supervision of the United States marshals and attorneys, and of the clerks of the United States courts, has also the duty of taking and returning the census of the United States. (Department of the Interior was established in 1849.)

Caleb B. Smith (1808-1864)
March 5, 1861 - January 1, 1863

John P. Usher (1816-1889)
January 8, 1863 - May 14, 1865

Postmaster General

Oversees the Post-office Department and supervises three assistant postmasters-general. (In 1872, there were 31,863 post-offices in the country, each headed by a postmaster.)

Montgomery Blair (1813-1883)
March 9, 1865 - September 23, 1864

William Dennison (1815-1882)
October 1, 1864 - July 16, 1866

Vice President

Hannibal Hamlin (1809-1891)
March 4, 1861 - March 3, 1865

Andrew Johnson (1808-1875)
March 5, 1865 - April 15, 1865


Three of Lincoln's cabinet members are part of the Famous Fabrics 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW baseball card base set: William Henry Seward, William P. Fessenden, and Hugh McCullouch.


Abraham Lincoln's first cabinet

source of cabinet responsibilities: von Steinwehr, A. Centennial Gazetteer of the United States, J.C. McCurdy & Company, Philadelphia, 1876, pp. 43-49.

First Cabinet engraving: Harper's Weekly, July 13, 1861, p. 437.


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