United States presidential election, 1864

United States presidential election, 1864

Infobox Election
election_name = United States presidential election, 1864
country = United States
type = presidential
ongoing = no
previous_election = United States presidential election, 1860
previous_year = 1860
next_election = United States presidential election, 1868
next_year = 1868
election_date = November 8, 1864

nominee1 = Abraham Lincoln
party1 = National Union Party (United States)
home_state1 = Illinois
running_mate1 = Andrew Johnson
electoral_vote1 = 212
states_carried1 = 22
popular_vote1 = 2,218,388
percentage1 = 55.0%

nominee2 = George B. McClellan
party2 = Democratic Party (United States)
home_state2 = Pennsylvania
running_mate2 = George Hunt Pendleton
electoral_vote2 = 21
states_carried2 = 3
popular_vote2 = 1,812,807
percentage2 = 45.0%

map_size = 350px
map_caption = Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Lincoln/Johnson, Blue denotes those won by McClellan/Pendleton, Brown denotes Confederate States. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.
title = President
before_election = Abraham Lincoln
before_party = Republican Party (United States)
after_election = Abraham Lincoln
after_party = National Union Party (United States)

In the United States Presidential election of 1864, Abraham Lincoln was re-elected as president. Lincoln had been a Republican but he ran under the National Union Party banner against his former top Civil War general, the Democratic candidate, George B. McClellan, and the Radical Republican Party candidate, John C. Frémont. McClellan was the "peace candidate" but did not personally believe in his party's platform. Frémont abandoned his political campaign in September 1864, after he brokered a political deal in which Lincoln removed U.S. Postmaster General Montgomery Blair from office.

The election of 1864 was conducted during the Civil War, and as such, none of the states controlled by governments loyal to the Confederate States of America participated. This was the first time any nation held a national election in the midst of a civil war.

Republicans across the country were jittery during the summer of 1864. Confederate forces had triumphed at the Battle of Mansfield and the Battle of the Crater. In addition, the war was continuing to take a very high toll. The prospect of a long, never-ending war started to make the "negotiated peace" offered by the Democrats look more desirable. But then the Democrats had to confront the severe internal strains within their party at the Democratic National Convention. Finally, with William Tecumseh Sherman marching inexorably toward Atlanta and Ulysses S. Grant pushing Lee into the outer defenses of Richmond, it became increasingly obvious that a Union military victory was inevitable and close at hand.

The Lincoln/Johnson ticket ran with the slogan “Don't change horses in the middle of a stream.” Republicans loyal to Lincoln, in opposition to a group of Republican dissidents who nominated John C. Frémont, joined with a number of Democrats to form the National Union Party, to appeal to War Democrats; the new name vanished after the election. Johnson, however, never became a Republican.

The Republican/Union party made an all-out effort to depict the Democrats in the worst way possible. They ridiculed McClellan for his pacifist platform and denounced Democrats as traitorous Copperheads. On November 8, Lincoln won by over 400,000 popular votes and easily clinched an electoral majority. Several states allowed their citizens serving as soldiers in the field to cast ballots, a first in United States history. Soldiers in the Army gave Lincoln more than 70% of their vote.


"National Union Party" nomination

Abraham Lincoln was nominated by the Republican Party, which was replaced before the 1864 election by the "National Union Party”. Lincoln's nomination was not unanimous, however, as 22 disgruntled opponents of Lincoln voted for Ulysses S. Grant, who was not a candidate. Seeing an opportunity to work with the War Democrats under the Union banner, the convention nominated Military-Governor Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, a War Democrat, as Lincoln's running mate over incumbent Vice President Hannibal Hamlin and three other War Democrats - former New York Senator Daniel S. Dickinson, Buchanan cabinet member Joseph Holt and General Ben Butler.

General election

The 1864 election was the first time since 1812 that a presidential election took place during a war. For much of 1864, Lincoln himself believed he had little chance of being re-elected. Early on, McClellan was thought to be a heavy favorite to win the election. But McClellan's chances of victory faded after Union victories in Georgia and Virginia, followed by the negotiated withdrawal of John C. Frémont's Radical Republican Party candidacy.

A foretaste of the national election came in the state elections held in the months prior to the presidential election. In these six state elections (Oregon on 6/5, Vermont on 9/6, Maine on 9/11, Ohio and Pennsylvania on 10/10, and West Virginia on 10/26), the Union Republican Party won a sweeping victory. These six states elected 44 Union Republicans in U.S. House races, compared to just 10 Democrats, for a net gain of 18 seats for the Union Republicans. The stage had been set for Lincoln.


Only 24 states participated, because 11 had seceded from the Union and claimed to have formed their own nation: the Confederate States of America (CSA). Three new states participated for the first time: Nevada, West Virginia, and Kansas. The reconstructed portions of Tennessee and Louisiana elected presidential Electors, although Congress did not count their votes.

Source (Popular Vote): Leip PV source| year=1864| as of=July 27, 2005

Source (Electoral Vote): National Archives EV source| year=1864| as of=July 31, 2005

(a) "The states in rebellion did not participate in the election of 1864."
(b) "One Elector from Nevada did not vote"
(c) "Andrew Johnson had been a Democrat, and after 1869 was a Democrat. The Republicans did not run a presidential candidate in 1864 but formed the National Union Party to accommodate the War Democrats."

See also

* American election campaigns in the 19th century
* History of the United States (1849–1865)
* Third Party System
* United States House elections, 1864


* Harold M. Dudley. "The Election of 1864," "Mississippi Valley Historical Review", Vol. 18, No. 4 (Mar., 1932), pp. 500-518 full text in JSTOR
* David E. Long. "Jewel of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln's Re-election and the End of Slavery" (1994)
* Merrill, Louis Taylor. "General Benjamin F. Butler in the Presidential Campaign of 1864." "Mississippi Valley Historical Review" 33 (March 1947): 537-70 full text in JSTOR
* Nelson, Larry E. "Bullets, Ballots, and Rhetoric: Confederate Policy for the United States Presidential Contest of 1864" University of Alabama Press, 1980.
* Nevins, Allan. "Ordeal of the Union: The War for the Union" vol 8 (1971)
* Randall, James G. and Richard N. Current. "Lincoln the President: Last Full Measure". Vol. 4 of Lincoln the President. 1955.
* Vorenberg, Michael. "'The Deformed Child': Slavery and the Election of 1864" "Civil War History" 2001 47(3): 240-257. ISSN 0009-8078 full text in JSTOR
* Jack Waugh "Reelecting Lincoln: The Battle for the 1864 Presidency" (1998), a popular study
* White, Jonathan W. "Canvassing the Troops: the Federal Government and the Soldiers' Right to Vote" "Civil War History" 2004 50(3): 291-317. ISSN 0009-8078


External links

* [http://geoelections.free.fr/USA/elec_comtes/1864.htm 1864 popular vote by counties]
* [http://www.multied.com/elections/1864Pop.html 1864 State-by-state popular results]
* Transcript of the 1864 [http://www.sonofthesouth.net/union-generals/mcclellan/democratic-platform-1864.htm Democratic Party Platform]
* [http://elections.harpweek.com/1864/Overview-1864-2.htm Harper Weekly - Overview]
* [http://13thamendment.harpweek.com/HubPages/CommentaryPage.asp?Commentary=05Election1864 more from Harper Weekly]
* [http://www.msu.edu/~sheppa28/elections.html#1864 How close was the 1864 election?] - Michael Sheppard, Michigan State University
* [http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/presidents/lincoln/ Abraham Lincoln: A Resource Guide from the Library of Congress]


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