[OT, Meta, Politics] Abraham Lincoln and the little-known origin of an mgoblog meme

Submitted by Yeoman on April 30th, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Found this in Reinhard Luthin's First Lincoln Campaign; I think the good professor may not have fully recognized the significance of the tale he tells.

You probably know the story of the 1860 Republican convention—the leading candidate, William Seward, was opposed by conservatives because his strong anti-slavery position made success in the western border states doubtful; the anti-immigrant sentiments of the more conservative #2, Edward Bates, made him anathema among German-Americans.

In the days leading up to the balloting Lincoln's supporters had made inroads among the opponents to Seward as a possible compromise candidate without the baggage of Bates. Enough progress had been made by the night of the nomination that the vote on the third ballot was Lincoln 231 1/2, Seward 180, with 233 needed to nominate.

At this point Joseph Medill, a former Ohioan now publisher of the Chicago Press and Tribune, who had been asked by Lincoln's managers to sit with the Ohio delegation to prevent a defection to Seward of Ohio's votes, most of which had been committed to Salmon Chase and favorite son Benjamin Wade, whispered to David Cartter that if the 4 votes from Wade's delegates were switched from Chase to Lincoln, “Ohio would be well cared for.” After a few moments Cartter stood: “I rise, Mr. Chairman, to announce the change of four votes of Ohio from Mr. Chase to Mr. Lincoln.” The nomination was Lincoln's.

That was Medill's story, anyway. Cartter claimed that it wasn't just Ohio, but Cartter himself, that Medill had promised would be “well cared for,” and he came to Washington after the inauguration to lay claim to the governorship of the Nebraska territory that he said Medill had promised him.

This posed a problem. The slavery crisis was then largely focused on the territories, especially Kansas and Nebraska. The governorship of Nebraska was no small matter and it couldn't be handed to any joker claiming he'd been made a patronage promise by a newspaperman not even directly part of Lincoln's staff. On the other hand, Medill had clearly said something to get Cartter to change the votes, and Lincoln couldn't very well have Cartter out there telling stories about how he and his men couldn't be trusted to keep their promises. What to do?

Any reader of mgoblog probably has the solution, but it took a man of real vision to come up with it in 1861, well over a century before the first internet troll....

David Kellogg Cartter was named Minister to Bolivia.

Enjoy your time in La Paz, Mr. Cartter. Points come back when the war is over.

 


 

Comments

Butterfield

April 30th, 2013 at 12:13 PM ^

This is deep.  So is Mike Tyson is Abraham Lincoln?  I guess that would make him like Richard from LOST - a non ager who can reinvent himself based on the time he is in. 

 

MGoneBlue

April 30th, 2013 at 12:15 PM ^

"You probably know the story of the 1860 convention"

You probably assume too much.  My ecudation on that election started at the Lincoln-Douglass debates.

Alton

April 30th, 2013 at 3:33 PM ^

If Lincoln had debated Douglass in 1858, it could have been even more important historically than his actual debates that year, which were against Douglas.

(OK, I acknowledge that this post was a little too close to a spelling flame, but the distinction between Frederick Douglass and Stephen Douglas is rather important).

 

Maize_in_AZ

April 30th, 2013 at 12:28 PM ^

What I'm gleaning from this is that Abe had the chance to "take good care of" Ohio along with Cartter and send all of them to Bolivia and failed to see the advantages in doing so...

ijohnb

April 30th, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

Not in the America of today.  It is always politics and there is no such thing as history, unless it is the one we like.  And "politics" has taken on a new meaning to encompass anything that anybody could possibly take a stance on, even if they are not taking a stance on anything.  Take this post, it is very possible that somebody may reply with "no politics please," to which I will respond wha.........?

justingoblue

April 30th, 2013 at 2:42 PM ^

when virtually none of the platform is anything that resonates today, and also when it's something that becomes cultural instead of political. That sounds weird, but I'm thinking of jokes and stuff, where a JFK reference is definitely less political than a Clinton reference.

To take this way too far with tounge firmly impanted in cheek, the Republican Party Platform of 1860 has four parts anyone alive would care about (probably only two of those would hit "politics" in an intro to public policy course, as opposed to policy), one meta bullet point, three points pretty specific to mid-19th century politics, one asking for Kansas as a state and the rest is all about slavery. There aren't a bunch of people that are pro slavery, don't want Kansas as a state or have a visceral reaction to criticism directed at the Buchanan administration, so I think we're pretty clear of that line.

Danwillhor

April 30th, 2013 at 5:24 PM ^

haha... Exactly my vision when I read and replied. Good read! Absolutely! Yet, I immediately pictured one of those scenes and the one where Buzz becomes the new 4th member of Peter's buddy group when Joe gets new legs.

LSAClassOf2000

April 30th, 2013 at 12:55 PM ^

That was a fascinating delve into history. The presidential history buff in my thanks you for sharing that.

It seems to me that one of the takeaway messages here is that David Kellogg Cartter likely spent the entire war having to telegram a Captcha password before every dispatch and he often asked if someone with enough points would send important messages. 

Yeoman

April 30th, 2013 at 1:20 PM ^

...but I guess I should finish the story.

Cartter got his points back a year later, briefly retired to private practice, and in 1863 Lincoln named him the first Chief Justice of the D. C. District Court (callled "Supreme Court" at the time). He apparently became quite close to Lincoln and others in the administration--he was the judge summoned by Secy. of War Stanton to the house across the street from Ford's Theater to be at Lincoln's bedside and to take testimony from witnesses in the first hours after Lincoln was shot.

Jacoby

April 30th, 2013 at 4:08 PM ^

MGoHistoricalNugget:

It was Abraham Lincoln who coined the phrase "Michigander." In the mid-19th century, the suffix "-ander" had connotations of heaviness or overweight. Lincoln had a general on his Civil War staff, and the general was overweight. So Lincoln would call him the "Michigander" to suggest the overweight Michigan general. The word stuck, and nowadays only deranged lunatics use the word "Michiganites." Some internet sleuthing shows that there is some disagreement as to whether this was a general from Michigan, a political rival from Michigan, or other. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. [see also: http://michigantoday.umich.edu/NewsE/091503/lincoln.html]

Bonus fact: Lincoln and Darwin share the same birthday, and Darwin created more words in the English language than anyone.

rob f

April 30th, 2013 at 9:51 PM ^

find this part of the OP at all surprising:

 

"At this point Joseph Medill, a former Ohioan now publisher of the Chicago Press and Tribune, who had been asked by Lincoln's managers to sit with the Ohio delegation to prevent a defection to Seward of Ohio's votes, most of which had been committed to Salmon Chase and favorite son Benjamin Wade, whispered to David Cartter that if the 4 votes from Wade's delegates were switched from Chase to Lincoln, “Ohio would be well cared for.” After a few moments Cartter stood: “I rise, Mr. Chairman, to announce the change of four votes of Ohio from Mr. Chase to Mr. Lincoln.” The nomination was Lincoln's.

That was Medill's story, anyway. Cartter claimed that it wasn't just Ohio, but Cartter himself, that Medill had promised would be “well cared for,” and he came to Washington after the inauguration to lay claim to the governorship of the Nebraska territory that he said Medill had promised him."

 

...that an ohioan would  be involved in underhanded, sneaky behavior leading to improper benefits?