United States Passport 1858 – Signed By Lewis Cass

United States Passport 1858

What makes this passport so special is the fantastic condition which looks almost like new. Imagine this travel document is 158 years old!


Lewis Cass (October 9, 1782 – June 17, 1866) was an American military officer, politician, and statesman: he was a longtime governor of the Michigan Territory (1813–1831), Secretary of War under President Andrew Jackson, and Secretary of State under President James Buchanan. During his long political career, he served as an American ambassador to France, and as a U.S. Senator representing Michigan. A Mason from his years as a young man in Ohio, Cass was a co-founder of the Grand Lodge of Michigan and its first Masonic Grand Master. United States Passport 1858

He was nationally known in the late antebellum period as a leading spokesman for the controversial Doctrine of Popular Sovereignty. It proposed allowing voters in the United States territories to determine whether to allow slavery in each jurisdiction rather than having Congress determine this. In 1848 Cass ran as a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party but lost to Zachary Taylor.

Lewis Cass was appointed Secretary of State by President James Buchanan on March 6, 1857, and assumed office the same day. He served until December 14, 1860.

Influence on American Diplomacy

President Buchanan appointed Cass Secretary of State with hopes he would unify the Democratic Party then riddled with sectional tensions.

An experienced diplomat and former Secretary of State, President Buchanan aggressively directed foreign policy. Two focal points of the Buchanan administration were Latin America and Great Britain. Internal dissension from antislavery proponents, sparked in part by the attempt to purchase Cuba from Spain, often thwarted Buchanan’s foreign policy plans. Attempts to purchase more territory from Mexico were also frustrated by an increasingly divided Congress and disinterest on the part of Mexican leaders.

Nonetheless, Cass successfully negotiated a final settlement of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty with the British Government. The treaty limited both U.S. and British control throughout Latin America. The British also relinquished their claim to the right to search U.S. vessels under Cass’s tenure.

With the election of Abraham Lincoln and the rise of the new Republican Party, Cass began to voice his long-held disagreements with the Buchanan administration, specifically his protests related to sectional differences. Cass tendered his resignation in the last days of 1860.

His daughter, Isabella Cass, married Theodorus Marinus Roest van Limburg (1806–1887), Dutch ambassador in the USA (1856–1868) and Foreign Minister (1868–1870). His great-great-grandson Cass Ballenger was a U.S. Representative from North Carolina.

Lewis Cass issued during his time in office less than 22.000 passports (Source: DOS)

United States Passport 1858


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