Lewis Cass

American politician (1782-1866)

Lewis Cass (October 9, 1782 – June 17, 1866) was an American military officer, politician, and statesman. He represented Michigan in the United States Senate. He was in the Cabinets of two U.S. Presidents, Andrew Jackson and James Buchanan. He was also the 1848 Democratic presidential nominee. He was an important person for the idea of Popular Sovereignty. That idea said that the people in each territory should decide whether to allow slavery.

Lewis Cass
22nd United States Secretary of State
In office
March 6, 1857 – December 14, 1860
PresidentJames Buchanan
Preceded byWilliam Marcy
Succeeded byJeremiah Black
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
December 4, 1854 – December 5, 1854
Preceded byDavid Atchison
Succeeded byJesse Bright
United States Senator
from Michigan
In office
March 4, 1849 – March 3, 1857
Preceded byThomas Fitzgerald
Succeeded byZachariah Chandler
In office
March 4, 1845 – May 29, 1848
Preceded byAugustus Porter
Succeeded byThomas Fitzgerald
United States Ambassador to France
In office
December 1, 1836 – November 12, 1842
PresidentAndrew Jackson
Preceded byEdward Livingston
Succeeded byWilliam King
14th United States Secretary of War
In office
August 1, 1831 – October 4, 1836
PresidentAndrew Jackson
Preceded byRoger B. Taney (Acting)
Succeeded byJoel Poinsett
2nd Governor of the Michigan Territory
In office
October 13, 1813 – August 1, 1831
Appointed byJames Madison
Preceded byWilliam Hull
Succeeded byGeorge Porter
Personal details
Born(1782-10-09)October 9, 1782
Exeter, New Hampshire, U.S.
DiedJune 17, 1866(1866-06-17) (aged 83)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Eliza Spencer
(m. 2026; died 1853)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1812–1814
RankBrigadier General
Battles/warsWar of 1812

He was born in Exeter, New Hampshire.



In 1806, Cass was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives. Also in 1806, President Thomas Jefferson chose Cass to be the U.S. Marshal for Ohio.[1]

Secretary of War


On August 1, 1831, Cass quit being governor of the Michigan Territory to be the Secretary of War under President Andrew Jackson. He would be the secretary until 1836.[2]


  1. "Biographies of the Secretaries of State: Lewis Cass (1782–1866)". Office of the Historian. U.S. State Department. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  2. "Lewis Cass - People - Department History". history.state.gov. Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State. Retrieved 23 June 2019.