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Tip: Sign In to save these choices and avoid repeating this across devices. You can always update your preferences in the Privacy Centre. The election of positioned the nation on the brink of fundamental change. A Republican win would end the South's political dominance of the Union. Southerners had been President of the U.

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Up to that point in American history, Southerners had also controlled the speakership of the House, the presidents pro tem of the Senate, and the majority of Supreme Court justices for most of the time. When the votes were tallied, Lincoln, who was not on the ballot in any Southern state, carried all of the North but one state in the popular vote.

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With respect to popular support, Douglas came in second, followed by Breckinridge and Bell. The Electoral College results, however, placed the candidates in a different ranking. Most Southerners voted for Breckinridge, who carried eleven slave states of fifteen. Bell won in the more conservative upper South states of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The Ripon Forum

Despite his popular support, Douglas carried only Missouri. In the final Electoral College count, Lincoln beat Breckinridge votes to Bell polled 39 and Douglas came in last with 12 votes. Clearly, the extreme positions identified with Lincoln and Breckinridge appealed to the majority of voters. On the other hand, the combined vote for Bell and Douglas was nearly one hundred thousand more than that for Lincoln. Taken together, those two candidates beat Breckinridge in large parts of Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky as well as in substantial portions of Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Had the Democratic Party stayed united, it would have carried the popular vote but still lost in the Electoral College due to Lincoln's win in the North. Thus, the election revealed the importance of the heavily populated Northern states in achieving victory in the Electoral College.

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The amazing fact about the election of is that it occurred in the first place. In the middle of a devastating civil war, the United States held its presidential election almost without discussion about any alternatives. No other democratic nation had ever conducted a national election during times of war.

And while there was some talk of postponing the election, it was never given serious consideration, even when Lincoln thought that he would lose. The second noteworthy fact about the election is that Lincoln won with a huge Electoral College victory and a substantial popular vote of 55 percent. Up to the very eve of the election, Lincoln was doubtful about his chances, and most of his key advisers had been warning him through the summer of to expect the worst. Part of the problem stemmed from the growing dissatisfaction within his own party by Radical Republicans, who doubted Lincoln's commitment to ensuring political equality for the formerly enslaved once the war had ended.

They also opposed Lincoln's mild approach to Reconstruction that he had applied to Louisiana. The President's strategy allowed for the reorganization of the state's government if only 10 percent of its white males swore loyalty to the Union and accepted the abolition of slavery. Radical Republicans contended that if such a plan were applied broadly to all the defeated Confederate states, the former rebels might return to power with little protection for the former slaves.

To counter Lincoln's plan, Radical Republicans in Congress passed the Wade-Davis bill, which established a more severe Reconstruction model—50 percent of the voters had to swear loyalty to the Union—to be administered by Congress. When Lincoln pocket vetoed the bill and invited Southerners to rejoin the Union under his 10 percent plan or else the Wade-Davis plan, his opponents within the party publicly attacked him—and this was just months before the election of Although Lincoln won nomination for a second term on the first ballot when the Republicans met in Baltimore in June, a dissident convention of Radical Republicans had met earlier in Cleveland on May They chose the name Radical Democracy for their party, and they nominated John C.

The initial break indicated, however, the uncertainty in the political support for Lincoln within his own party. More serious than the division among Republicans was the threat posed by the Democratic Party, which met in Chicago in August.

The Democrats boldly 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. The Democrats nominated General George B. Lee's army after the battle at Antietam in The ensuing campaign attacked Lincoln, and the Republicans gave equal measure in return. The Democrats confidently believed that the nation had grown weary of the war and of the way Lincoln had conducted it.

Thousands of Americans disliked the draft, and at one point Lincoln had been forced to send troops to quell draft riots in New York City. Then too there was the hue and cry raised by the Democrats over Lincoln's abuse of power as President in censoring the press, extending military rule over areas adequately served by civilian government, and arresting and detaining war critics without benefit of a trial. The Democratic platform attacked Lincoln's use of presidential powers and claimed he had acted unconstitutionally.

Most importantly, Democrats believed that Lincoln had doomed his chances for reelection by turning the war from a conflict to preserve the Union into a battle to abolish slavery. Evidence of the President's shift in purpose was found in Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which was announced in September and officially proclaimed in January of Additionally, his decision to arm blacks and to allow them to serve in the U.

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Army was also perceived as having changed the war into a crusade to end slavery, which most Northerners—so the Democrats believed—only weakly supported. In reality, however, Lincoln's chances were better than anyone including he guessed at the time. His campaign slogan of "not changing horses in mid-stream" made sense to most Americans. Moreover, large numbers of Northern Democrats supported Lincoln as the best hope of preserving the Union.

When Vice President Hannibal Hamlin was replaced by Andrew Johnson, the Union Democrat from Tennessee who was Lincoln's military governor of occupied Tennessee, thousands of moderate Democrats in the border states moved into the Lincoln column. Additionally, the anti-Lincoln Democrats were in great disarray. Although the Democratic platform condemned the Union war effort as a failure and called for the immediate halt to the fighting and a negotiated settlement, McClellan denounced the platform and came out strongly for the preservation of the Union "at all hazards.

It vowed to crush the Confederacy and punish rebel leaders, supported a constitutional amendment to end slavery, offered aid to Union veterans, and demanded unconditional surrender. It seems, too, that most Northerners accepted the Emancipation Proclamation and the arming of black soldiers as a military necessity that would cause anarchy within Confederate lines and weaken the South's will to continue fighting.

William G. Engraving after a painting by L. New York: D. Appleton, Alexander Hamilton , ca. New York: The Knapp Co. Alonzo Chappel. New York: Johnson, Fry, As party lines were drawn in the new federal government, President George Washington tried to pacify the parties by addressing the chief protagonists—Alexander Hamilton, his secretary of the treasury, and Thomas Jefferson, his secretary of state. Although both Hamilton and Jefferson promised to work together, the struggle between the Federalist and Republican parties continued unabated.

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Although the Jeffersonian-Republican Party drew strength from the Anti-Federalists, no one had more claim to the authorship of the federal Constitution than did Madison, one of the founders of the Jeffersonian-Republican Party. A Candid State of Politics. National Gazette Philadelphia , September 22, The resulting treaty, which failed to resolve the issues but prevented a war with Great Britain, was extremely unpopular with the Jeffersonian Republicans.

John Jay — , a prominent New York nationalist and former president of the Continental Congress, was among the first to call for a National Convention to replace or revise the Articles of Confederation. Jay was an outspoken advocate for the new Constitution and authored several of the Federalist essays. He served as first chief justice of the United States, — London: R. Wilkinson and J. Debret, May Engraving after drawing by Pierre E.

In this letter, Thomas Jefferson challenged James Madison to enter the pamphlet wars against his political rival Federalist Alexander Hamilton whom he asserted is really a colossus to the anti-republican party. There is nobody but yourself who can meet him, urged Jefferson.

Despite George Washington's warning about the dangers of political factions or parties in his Farewell Address to the nation in , the lack of a consensus candidate to assume the presidency only intensified party struggles.

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John Adams and Thomas Jefferson led partisan political factions or parties into the national elections of Washington even sought advice from two opposing partisan leaders, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Displayed here is a draft of Washington's Farewell Address, which Hamilton helped write. They attacked each other with a cane and fireplace tongs on the floor of the House of Representatives on February 15, Congressional Pugilists.

Congress Hall, in Philadelphia , February 15, George Washington — , a Virginia planter and veteran of America's frontier wars, was revolutionary America's only commander of all military forces throughout the eight-year war for independence. His leadership during the Revolution led to his election as the first president of the United States — George Washington.

Charcoal on tinted paper, ca. American women, such as Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren, hoped the American Revolution would lead to more legal and political rights for women. During the post- Revolutionary period, periodicals aimed directly at women emerged. In this engraving, a copy of A Vindication of the Rights of Women , the cornerstone feminist document, by Mary Wollstonecraft — is presented to Lady Liberty. James Thackera and John Vallance.

Philadelphia: W. Gibbons, — Marian S.