Stanton, Edwin McMasters (1814–1869), a United States statesman. A brilliant and dynamic lawyer, Stanton served as attorney general in President Buchanan's cabinet, 1860–61. Although a Democrat and initially opposed to President Lincoln, he was also a staunch patriot who accepted appointment as Lincoln's secretary of war in 1862. He proved to be a highly effective administrator, despite an abrasive personality that often caused conflict with other officials.
Stanton continued to serve under President Johnson after Lincoln's assassination, but soon became a bitter opponent of his Reconstruction policies. Johnson's attempt to remove Stanton from office led to impeachment proceedings against the President, after which Stanton resigned. In 1869 President Grant appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Stanton died before he could assume his duties.
Stanton was born in Steubenville, Ohio. He attended Kenyon College and then studied law. After admission to the bar in 1836, he practiced in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He moved to Washington, D.C., in 1856, gaining national prominence for his work in cases before the Supreme Court.