Seward, Frederick William

Life Span
to
Full name
Frederick William Seward
Place of Birth
Birth Date Certainty
Exact
Death Date Certainty
Exact
Gender
Male
Race
White
Sectional choice
North
Origins
Free State
No. of Spouses
1
No. of Children
0
Family
William H. Seward (father), Anna Wharton (wife)
Education
Other
Other Education
Union College
Occupation
Politician
Diplomat
Attorney or Judge
Journalist
Relation to Slavery
White non-slaveholder
Political Parties
Whig
Republican
Government
Lincoln Administration (1861-65)
Hayes Administration (1877-81)

Frederick Seward (American National Biography)

Scholarship
When [President Abraham] Lincoln was shot that night, another assassin, Lewis Payne, was to kill the secretary of state, who was recovering in bed from an accident. Fred Seward stopped Payne outside his father's bedroom. Payne tried to shoot him, but the pistol misfired. Payne pistol-whipped Fred, fracturing his skull. The assassin then slashed [Secretary of State] William Seward, who eventually recovered. Fred lay unconscious for days before beginning to improve. By early 1866 both Sewards had returned to the State Department, where William plotted a vast postwar expansionist policy to obtain Caribbean bases and trading outlets in the Pacific Ocean-East Asian regions.

In December 1866 Fred Seward went to Santo Domingo with Vice Admiral David D. Porter to negotiate the sale or lease of the magnificent SamanĂ¡ Bay. Discovering that the surrounding heights controlled the bay, they demanded this land as well. The Dominican government refused, and the mission failed. Later in 1867 the Dominicans did sign a treaty, but it was rejected by the U.S. Senate, whose Radical Republicans had broken with both the more conservative president, Andrew Johnson, and William Seward. The secretary of state's expansionist plans were largely unrealized except for the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. During these talks, Fred Seward successfully lobbied the unpredictable chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Charles Sumner, to obtain his necessary support for the treaty.
Walter LaFeber, "Seward, Frederick," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00896.html.
How to Cite This Page: "Seward, Frederick William," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/6555.