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Lincoln And The 1864 Presidential Election

979 words - 4 pages

The 1864 presidential election was one of the important elections in the American History. In the middle of a devastating civil war, the United States had held its presidential election almost without discussing any alternative (American President: A Reference Resource). None of the other Democratic nations had ever conducted a national election during the time of war. While there was still talk going in postponing the election. That was when Lincoln pointed out that America needs a free government and without conducting the election we have ruined ourselves (Boller P.115). So, before even the year had ended United States had gone forward with its voting just as in peacetime.
This was one of the deeply anxious election outcomes for both, the Republican and Pro-war Democrats. They both joint together and formed the National Union Party, which re-nominated Lincoln and selected Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee a prominent War Democrats. The campaign of 1864 was noisy and abusive. The threat posed by the Democratic Party, which met in Chicago in August. The Democrats came forward boldly and proclaimed the Civil War a failure, demanded the immediate ending of hostilities, and called for the convening of a national convention to restore the Union by negotiation with the Confederate government (American President: A Reference Resource). The Democrats nominated General George B. McClellan, former commander of Union forces whom Lincoln had fired because of his failure to pursue Confederate General Robert E. Lee's army after the battle at Antietam in 1862. Some of the Radical Republicans were completely against Lincoln’s reelection (Mintz).
Lincoln then had asked the congress to seat representative from the three recently conquered Confederate states such Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee. And he also announced that when 10 percent of the votes in the rebel states which is excluding the high Confederate officials had to pledge loyalty to the Union. This pledge was including the government actions concerning slavery for which they had to readmit to the Union. But the Radicals had denounced the 10 percent plan and viewed it to be too lenient (Mintz). In July 1864, the Congress had finally adopted a radical measure on the Wade-Davis Bill, which required rebel states to abolish slavery, reject the confederate war debt, and disfranchise confederate leaders. Finally they require fifty percent of the citizens to pledge for loyalty to the Union (Mintz). By this time the Radial Republicans had nominated General John C. Freemont for President, but he had withdrawn from the election a month before (American President: A Reference Resource).
As it got closer to the election Lincoln feared that the northern battlefield victories might be lost at the polls. Late summer of 1864, he confessed to his administration “it seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be reelected” (Mintz). Lincoln’s feared that if McClellan won the election then...

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