Zachariah Chandler

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Zachariah T. Chandler
Zachariah Chandler Senate portrait.jpg
Former U.S. Senator from Michigan
From: February 22, 1879 – November 1, 1879
Predecessor Isaac P. Christiancy
Successor Henry B. Baldwin
Chair of the Republican National Committee
From: June 1876 – November 1, 1879
Predecessor Edwin D. Morgan
Successor J. Donald Cameron
12th United States Secretary of the Interior
From: October 19, 1875 – March 11, 1877
President Ulysses S. Grant (1875–1877)
Rutherford B. Hayes (1877)
Predecessor Columbus Delano
Successor Carl Schurtz
Former U.S. Senator from Michigan
From: March 4, 1857 – March 3, 1875
Predecessor Lewis Cass
Successor Isaac P. Christiancy
Mayor of Detroit, Michigan
From: 1851–1852
Predecessor John Ladue
Successor John H. Harmon
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Letitia Douglas
Religion Presbyterian[1]

Zachariah T. Chandler (December 10, 1813 – November 1, 1879) was a staunch abolitionist and Whig-turned-Republican from Michigan who served as the state's U.S. senator from 1957 to 1975, as well as for a brief period in 1879. During the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, Chandler was appointed Secretary of the Interior. Considered a "roughhewn, grim-visaged, hard-drinking, plain-speaking man,"[2] he was the father-in-law and grandfather of later Maine senators Eugene Hale and Frederick Hale respectively.

Chandler was a part of the Radical Republican faction of the party[3][4] who pressured President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War to take more aggressive war approaches[2] and who advocated a strong Reconstruction policy to secure the rights of newly freed Southern blacks after the war.

Political career

A member of the Whig Party prior to 1854, Chandler campaigned for successful Whig nominee Zachary Taylor in the 1848 presidential election[5] and was the mayor of Detroit in the early 1850s, defeating John R. Williams in the 1851 election.[4] He joined the newly formed Republican Party when it formed which stood in firm opposition to slavery and helped found the state GOP in Michigan.[2]

Chandler unsuccessfully ran for Governor of Michigan in 1952 as an anti-slavery Whig,[6] losing to incumbent Democrat Robert McClelland by ten percentage points, with Free Soil nominee and future Senate opponent Isaac P. Christiancy garnering 7.6% as a minor candidate.[7]

U.S. Senate, 1857–1875

Stalwart Republicans



Other members:

Related topics:

Chandler strongly opposed the wrongful United States Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford.[4] As the Southern Democrats plotted secession over the election of Lincoln to the presidency, he refused to compromise, declaring:[2]

...without a little bloodletting this Union will not, in my estimate, be worth a rush.

A strong political conservative who voted with the right on key issues an average of 94% of the time,[8] Chandler backed higher protectionist tariffs[2] and the gold standard.[9] When Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency following the assassination of President Lincoln, Chandler would turn against the racist Tennessee Democrat's policies on Reconstruction and voted for the articles of impeachment, though conviction failed due to Kansas RINO Edmund G. Ross's nays. The DW-NOMINATE gives him a rating of 0.601, and says that he was the most conservative member of the 45th Senate, as well as most other sessions of the Senate during his time in office.[10]

Chandler lost re-election in the 1874 Midterms to Democrat Isaac P. Christiancy amidst the GOP landslide defeats that year.[2]

U.S. Senate, 1879

In 1879, Christiancy resigned from the Senate and Chandler successfully sought his old seat. During the campaign, the Kalamazoo Telegraph stated:[11]

In the most trying crises of our national life, Mr. Chandler was not merely on the right side, but was among the most positive elements which brought that side out victorious.

See also


  1. Fort Street Presbyterian Church. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Zachariah Chandler. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  3. Radical Republican. Britannica. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Chandler, Zachariah. Detroit Historical Society. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  5. Zachariah Chandler. Britannica. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  6. Zachariah Chandler. Spartacus Educational. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  7. MI Governor Race - Nov 02, 1852. Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  8. FascinatingPolitics (March 17, 2019). Aside From Their Push for Equal Rights, What Was the Ideology of the Radical Republicans?. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  9. FascinatingPolitics (August 31, 2019). The Oldest Presidential Candidate in American History. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  11. February 18, 1879. SENATOR CHANDLER'S RE-ELECTION.. The New York Times. Retrieved August 10, 2021.

External links

  • Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Profile at Find a Grave