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Sun Nov 29, 2020, 08:45 AM

How the Union Pulled Off a Presidential Election During the Civil War

The United States has never delayed a presidential election. But there was one instance in which some wondered if the country should: when the nation was embroiled in the Civil War.

The 1864 election was the second U.S. presidential election to take place during wartime (the first was during the War of 1812). Still, it wasn’t the logistics of carrying out a wartime election that made some people want to postpone it. Rather, it was the fact that by the spring of 1864, the Union had no clear path to victory, and many feared President Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t win reelection.

Today, conventional wisdom holds that incumbent presidential candidates are more likely to win reelection, especially during wartime. Franklin Delano Roosevelt won an unprecedented fourth term during World War II, and Richard Nixon delayed Vietnam peace talks because he thought prolonging the Vietnam War would help his reelection chances in 1972 (and indeed, he won a second term). Yet in 1864, this wasn’t a common assumption—the eight presidents directly preceding Lincoln had each served one term or less.

Lincoln’s main weakness as a candidate was that the Union’s war against the Confederacy wasn’t going well. By the spring of 1864, the Civil War had been going on for three years with no end in sight, and many voters (i.e., white men ages 21 and up) were starting to get war-weary. Lincoln agreed with his advisors that his chances for winning reelection looked grim, but he disagreed with those who suggested he delay the election.

https://www.history.com/news/civil-war-presidential-election-abraham-lincoln

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Reply How the Union Pulled Off a Presidential Election During the Civil War (Original post)
Sherman A1 Nov 2020 OP
dubyadiprecession Nov 2020 #1
Fortinbras Armstrong Nov 2020 #3
thucythucy Nov 2020 #2
Fortinbras Armstrong Nov 2020 #4
Fortinbras Armstrong Nov 2020 #5
PAMod Dec 2020 #6

Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Sun Nov 29, 2020, 09:16 AM

1. Republicans freed the slaves and kept this country United.

So my question to my fellow Democrats is:
Are we the Baddies?

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Response to dubyadiprecession (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 30, 2020, 08:45 AM

3. The Republicans were the good guys in the 1860s.

However, when the Civil Rights laws were passed in the 1960s under LBJ, the racists flocked to the Republicans, where they were welcomed with open arms.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Sun Nov 29, 2020, 09:36 AM

2. It seems odd to say, but the south seceding

was a great boost to progressive politics.

With southern senators and congressmen gone legislation such as the Homestead Act was finally passed.

And a number of Supreme Court and other federal judges resigned to join the Confederacy, allowing Lincoln and progressive Republicans to reshape the courts entirely.

One of history's many ironies, that.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Mon Nov 30, 2020, 08:50 AM

4. What really saved Lincoln was the victory at Gettysburg

In the first three days of July 1864, followed immediately by the taking of Vicksburg the next day. Two resounding and significant Union victories within the same week. The significance of Vicksburg was, of course, that the Union had control of the entire length of the Mississippi River, which both simplified transport and cut off Texas and Arkansas (and the Confederate forces in Missouri) from the rest of the Confederacy.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Mon Nov 30, 2020, 08:50 AM

5. What really saved Lincoln was the victory at Gettysburg

In the first three days of July 1864, followed immediately by the taking of Vicksburg the next day. Two resounding and significant Union victories within the same week. The significance of Vicksburg was, of course, that the Union had control of the entire length of the Mississippi River, which both simplified transport and cut off Texas and Arkansas (and the Confederate forces in Missouri) from the rest of the Confederacy.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2020, 08:21 AM

6. Thank you for posting this

I've had John Waugh's book in my pile for months - now I want to crack it open -

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