United States presidential election, 1864

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The election of 1864 was held in the middle of the American Civil War. Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party had (with reason) believed that this election would depend on their performance in the war. Throughout the summer before the election, he assumed that the North's poor military performance would cause him to be defeated; he even had his cabinet sign a sealed memorandum saying,

...it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he can not possibly save it afterwards.[1]

The Copperhead movement in the northwest, which had spawned numerous riots, also opposed Lincoln on the grounds that he infringed on civil rights. They advocated immediate peace and recognition of the Confederate States of America. The Democratic platform advocated these positions; however, the Democratic party nominated dismissed General George B. McClellan as their candidate. He supported the war and promptly disowned the platform.

Despite an intra-party challenge, the Republicans re-nominated President Abraham Lincoln as their candidate. Re-naming themselves the National Union Party, they chose the Democrat Andrew Johnson, military governor of Tennessee and supporter of the war, as his running mate.

Late-coming military victories, particularly William T. Sherman's March through Georgia, turned the election in favor of the Republicans. The results showed:

Candidate Party Popular vote Electoral vote
Abraham Lincoln National Union (Republican) 2, 206, 938 212
George B. McClellan Democrat 1, 803, 787 21
Not Voting (Confederate states) 0 81

[2]

References

  1. http://www.myloc.gov/Exhibitions/lincoln/presidency/HealingTheNationsWounds/ExhibitObjects/BlindMemo.aspx
  2. A Pictoral History of the U.S. Presidents, by Clare Gibson, Gramercy Books, 2001, p. 120.
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