The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968 Page: 639
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a series of party affiliations. Though small in stature and never
physically robust, he was driven by restless energy and pressing am-
bition that took him to the highest councils of state and nation,
thought not to his highest goal, the presidency, which at one time
he fully expected to reach.
In his first elective office, as a member of the New York Senate in
the 1830's, he evinced an interest in reform and internal improve-
ments that continued throughout his life. His opposition to slavery
led him to speak in 1850 of "the higher law" (p. 123) and in 1858
of "irrepressible conflict" (p. 193), although these phrases make him
appear more radical than he actually was.
One of the organizers of the Whig Party, Seward supported
Henry Clay for the presidency in 1844. Though always an ardent
expansionist, he believed the annexation of Texas would mean war
with Mexico. When his fear was realized, he termed the conflict "a
bastard war" (p. 10o5), yet urged the party for political reasons to
vote the supplies necessary to wage it.
After valiant service in helping bring the new Republican Party
into prominence, Seward looked forward confidently to receiving its
nomination for the presidency in 186o. The bitter taste of disappoint-
ment at being passed over was never forgotten, but he supported
the ticket and accepted appointment as Secretary of State. As a
member of the Cabinet he served both Lincoln and Johnson loyally
Seward's private life is not neglected in this study, but the major
emphasis is on his public career. About half of the volume is devoted
to the years when he was in charge of the State Department, faced
with unprecedented problems in American foreign affairs. His efforts
as secretary not only helped preserve the Union and the Monroe Doc-
trine, they "built for the future" (p. 566) and assured for him a high
rank among those who have filled that office.
Having already produced biographies of Henry Clay, Thurlow
Weed, and Horace Greeley, as well as a volume of the Jackson era,
Professor Van Deusen is on familiar ground in writing of still another
figure in mid-nineteenth-century American political history. This
lengthy, judicious, and highly interesting book is the best of his
biographies, an admirable addition to his scholarly endeavors.
University of Kentucky
JAMES F. HOPKINS
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968, periodical, 1968; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/m1/705/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.