Salmon Portland Chase was a U.S. politician and jurist who served as the sixth chief justice of the United States. He also served as the 23rd governor of Ohio, represented Ohio in the United States Senate, and served as the 25th United States Secretary of the Treasury. Chase was therefore one of a few U.S. politicians who served in all three branches of the federal government.
Born in Cornish, New Hampshire, Chase studied law under Attorney General William Wirt before establishing a legal practice in Cincinnati. He became an anti-slavery activist and frequently defended fugitive slaves in court. Chase left the Whig Party in 1841 to become the leader of Ohio's Liberty Party. In 1848, he helped establish the Free Soil Party and recruited former President Martin Van Buren to serve as the party's presidential nominee. Chase won election to the Senate the following year, and he opposed the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas–Nebraska Act. In the aftermath of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, Chase helped establish the Republican Party, which opposed the extension of slavery into the territories. After leaving the Senate, Chase served as the Governor of Ohio from 1856 to 1860.