By Bill Federer
The Democrat candidate for president in 1848 was Lewis Cass, born Oct. 9, 1782. In 1807, Lewis Cass became the U.S. Marshal for Ohio. He was a brigadier-general in the War of 1812, fighting in the Battle of the Thames.
President James Madison appointed Lewis Cass as governor-general of the Michigan Territory, 1813-1831. Cass made Indian treaties, organized townships and built roads. In 1820, Lewis Cass led an expedition to northern Minnesota in search of the source of the Mississippi River in order to define the border between the U.S. and Canada. Cass’ expedition geologist Henry Schoolcraft was able to correctly identify the Mississippi’s source as Lake Itasca in 1832.
President Andrew Jackson appointed Lewis Cass as Secretary of War in 1831, then minister to France in 1836. Lewis Cass was elected a U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1845-48, 1849-57. He was the Democrat presidential candidate in 1848. Cass was Secretary of State for President James Buchanan, 1857-1860.
Senator Lewis Cass wrote from Washington, D.C. in 1846: “God, in His providence, has given us a Book of His revealed will to be with us at the commencement of our career in this life and at its termination; and to accompany us during all chances and changes of this trying and fitful progress, to control the passions, to enlighten the judgment, to guide the conscience, to teach us what we ought to do here, and what we shall be hereafter.”
Lewis Cass delivered a Eulogy for Secretary of State Daniel Webster, Dec. 14, 1852: “‘How are the mighty fallen!’ we may yet exclaim, when reft of our great and wisest; but they fall to rise again from death to life, when such quickening faith in the mercy of God and in the sacrifice of the Redeemer comes to shed upon them its happy influence this side of the grave and beyond it. …”
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Cass added regarding Daniel Webster: “And beyond all this he died in the faith of the Christian – humble, but hopeful – adding another to the long list of eminent men who have searched the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and have found it to be the word and the will of God.”
Seventeen states have places named for Lewis Cass, including:
- 1 building
- 1 fort
- 1 river
- 2 lakes
- 3 parks
- 4 schools
- 9 counties
- 10 streets
- 10 cities
- 30 townships
Lewis Cass stated: “Independent of its connection with human destiny hereafter, the fate of republican government is indissolubly bound up with the fate of the Christian religion, and a people who reject its holy faith will find themselves the slaves of their own evil passions and of arbitrary power.”
The state of Michigan placed a statue of Lewis Cass in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall.
The name “Michigan” is from the Ojibwa Indian word “mishigamaa” which means “large lake.” Michigan was originally governed under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which stated:
Section 13. For extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the basis whereon these republics … are erected. …
Section 14. Article I. No person, demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments in the said territory. …
Section 14. Article III. Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
Michigan’s first state Constitution was approved by the U.S. Congress and Michigan became the 26th State in 1837. The Constitution of Michigan, written in 1835, stated in Article I, Bill of Rights:
First. All political power is inherent in the people. …
4. Every person has a right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of his own conscience. …
6. The civil and religious rights, privileges and capacities of no individual shall be diminished or enlarged on account of his opinions or belief concerning matters of religion. …
13. Every person has a right to bear arms for the defence of himself and the state.
The Constitution of the state of Michigan, 1908, stated:
Preamble. We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom … establish this Constitution …
Article II, Section 3. Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. …
Article XI, Section 1. Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. …
The Pew Survey (2007) listed Michigan as:
- Christian: 79% consisting of:
– Catholic: 23%
– Protestant: 53%
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