Oliver P. Morton grew up in Wayne County Indiana and went on to become a successful lawyer who one day became Indiana’s 14th governor. He was a strong alley of President Abraham Lincoln and like the president drew criticism that he relied to heavily on one man rule. Many future historians agreed with other politicians and the newspapers of Morton’s day who opposed him throughout his political career that he was an opportunist who changed his positions on issues to stay in power. A. James Fuller,, a professor at the University of Indianapolis, however presents a different picture of Morton. He writes that Morton like Lincoln did change is views but it was not done to stay in power. It was natural.
Fuller also writes and backs it up with lots of historical sources that Morton held firm in his national ideology. National ideology means that an person’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual and group interests. The ideals Morton held onto include freedom, Union, power and party.
In addition Morton fought for equal rights and freedoms for African Americans living in the United States. He also pushed in his political career for women to gain more rights and to not stay subservient. In addition to this Morton also pressed for his fellow Congressman to not back down from Reconstruction and to keep it going no matter how tough it got. And this is just a taste of one of many subjects and aspects of who this lawyer, governor, and Washington statement did during his lifetime.
I never knew about Morton before until I took a look at this biography in my local library. I am glad I picked up this book and learned about this past politician. It is a very comprehensive book and as I wrote earlier draws on lots of historical sources to present a full picture of who Morton was. This biography also adds another layer to my understand of the period before and after the Civil War. I recommend it to others to read to gain the same or similar insight into the past like I did.
Oliver P. Morton & the Politics of the Civil War & Reconstruction
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