Gideon Welles, Legacy (American National Biography)

John Niven, "Welles, Gideon," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
By the war's end Welles had been primarily responsible for building a navy second only to that of Great Britain. He had also reorganized the department, improved significantly contract administration, and established an academy of science, the forerunner of all government-sponsored research agencies.

As a cabinet member, Welles gave complete support and loyalty to Lincoln on broad policy measures. He retained, however, much of his Democratic political views. Though he backed emancipation, he was decidedly conservative on extending full civil rights to the former slaves. An ardent believer in states' rights, he insisted such legislation must be left to the states. His views on Reconstruction were similar to those of Andrew Johnson. Welles consulted on many of Johnson's veto messages and consistently approved of his stand against Congressional Reconstruction.
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