By tracing the life and activities of a conservative American politician through the Jacksonian and Civil War periods, Professor Cain provides a view of a transitional era as seen through the eyes of a participant. Caught, like many of his generation, between the agrarian idealism of Jeffersonian society and the material promise of young America, Edward Bates was confronted with the problems of the times - slavery, sectionalism, and the implications of the industrial awakening. During his early career as a frontier lawyer Bates became concerned with Western development, and he guided the formation of the Whig party in Missouri. This study, in analyzing Bates's role as Whig leader, examines the Whig party in the West and the reasons for the party's eventual decline. The book's emphasis, however, is on Bates's service in Lincoln's Civil War Cabinet and his influence on the legal decisions made by the Administration. Professor Cain defines Bate's positions on slavery, emancipation, blockade, Confederate belligerency, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, confiscation of Confederate property, and civil and military proceedings against Southern sympathizers. Drawing upon Bate's letters, deposited in collections throughout the United States, and upon official records and other sources, Professor Cain provides much new material on the Attorney General's office, on judicial and administrative procedures during the Civil War, and on Bates's personal and professional relationship with Lincoln.