Stanton, Edwin

Stanton, Edwin (McMasters)

(1814–69) lawyer, public official; born in Steubenville, Ohio. A tireless, innovative lawyer who pioneered the temporary insanity defense, he served as attorney general under President Buchanan (1860–61) and—although a Democrat—secretary of war (1862–68) under Presidents Lincoln and Johnson. Although he greatly exceeded his authority both during and after the Civil War, he is credited with establishing effective civilian control of the armed forces. Disagreements with Johnson led to his expulsion from the cabinet, which became the immediate provocation for Johnson's impeachment. President Grant appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1869 but he died before joining the court.
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