U.S. Senator. Ambassador to Russia. Lincolnís
Secretary of War
An historian said of Simon Cameron, ďNo
politician of his generation understood the
science of politics better than he; none enjoyed
great power.Ē ■
Simon Cameron was born March 8, 1799, in Maytown,
Pennsylvania. His great-grandparents were
Scottish emigrants to Pennsylvania. His father
was a tailor. Cameron was apprenticed to a
printer and became acquainted with Samuel D.
Ingram, then secretary of state for
Pennsylvania. Ingram invited Simon to work on
his sickly newspaper at Doylestown.
■ He revived
the newspaper and soon became a power in local
politics. He moved ahead rapidly and was soon
owner of another newspaper, had interests in a
bank, and became president of two railroads.
When Sen. James Buchanan became President,
Cameron was elected to fill out his term of
office as U.S. senator.
with Democratic party politics, Cameron joined
the new Republican party of Abraham Lincoln.
Cameron had hopes of becoming President himself
but settled for secretary of war in the Lincoln
Cameron was an early advocate of full
mobilization when the Civil War seemed
inevitable. When the cabinet didnít support him,
he resigned and was appointed minister to Russia
in 1862. He stayed only long enough to enlist
Russian sympathies for the Northern cause.
■ He ran for
the U.S. Senate and was elected in 1873 for the
fourth time. He resigned to make way for his
sonís election to the post.
political power in Pennsylvania was nearly
absolute. He had a genial and pleasing
personality which he used to pyramid his power.
He was not without his critics.
■ He retired
to his estate near his birthplace of Maytown
where he died June 26, 1889.
Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546