Lewis Cass was born October 9th 1782 in Exeter, New Hampshire the son of Jonathan and Molly (Gilman) Cass. He attended the Phillips Exeter Academy in his home town, before moving with his family to Marietta, Ohio. He read for the law and became a lawyer. Cass was a member of the Freemasons, becoming Grand Master in 1826 of the Grand Lodge of Michigan. He served as the Governor of the Michigan Territory from 1813 to 1831. Cass became the Secretary of War under President Andrew Jackson August 1831, and formulated and implemented Jackson’s Indian policies. He went on to represent Michigan as a US Senator, serving as chair of the Committee on Military Affairs from 1845 to 1848. Cass ran for President in 1848, supporting the Doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, which called for the people who lived in the territories to decide for themselves whether to or not to be slave holding areas. His nomination caused a split in the Democratic Party. Cass lost the election to Zachary Taylor. He went back to the Senate, serving until 1857.
Cass began serving in 1857 as Secretary of State for President James Buchanan. Cass resigned from his post December 13th 1860 because of Buchanan’s failure to send troop to protect Federal interest in the southern states. He felt the action might have helped to avert the Southern states from succeeding.
Cass died June 17th 1866 in Detroit, Michigan. He is buried the Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan.