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The Election Of 1864 Essay, Research Paper

The Election of 1864 took place in the midst of the Civil War, a time when our country was in a crisis that could change the future drastically. Abraham Lincoln had just finished his previous term as president and had been unanimously nominated as the Republicans candidate for president. In spite of this, Lincoln had doubts that he would succeed in winning re-election. Lincoln was strongly anti-slavery and wanted for the Civil War to be fought out successfully in order to end this crisis correctly. He wished that the victor would then help the looser recover. The other candidate, George McClellan, wanted the war to end immediately, unfinished, and was not strongly opposed to slavery. The future of America depended on which man was elected. If McClellan had been elected, America could possibly, today, still be two countries in which slavery was still practiced (www.freerepublic.com). Although neither candidate campaigned aggressively, it was still a semi-typical election campaign (www.ripon.edu).

Lincoln won this election with 212 electoral votes over McClellan s 21. Although Lincoln badly beat McClellan as far as electoral votes were concerned, McClellan received 45% of the popular vote compared to Lincoln s 55%— that is not a very big difference (www.sddt.com). It is extraordinarily narrow considering the changes that would have taken place if those were electoral votes.

In my opinion, Abraham Lincoln won this election because the Union started doing better in the war. It seems that what had the most effect on who was to be elected was determined by which side was doing better in the war. As I previously stated, neither candidate campaigned aggressively; the only information that is available on the campaigning done for this election states that the campaigns were ugly . Lincoln s campaign labeled McClellan a traitor and McClellan s campaign similarly labeled Lincoln a tyrant (www.ripon.edu). Another factor that contributed to the victory of Lincoln was the popularity earned by his previously served term as president. He had built up quite a reputation as a friendly and honest man, in fact he was known as Honest Abe and was a very personable president. There are stories collected from journals of soldiers stating how much Lincoln felt like a father to them (www.cw-book-news.com). This type of thing appeals to the hearts of the voters. Being caring and friendly is something that can be very helpful to anybody in order to win popularity.

This election shows that although campaigns are an important part of an election, sometimes they do not play a big role. It demonstrated that a national crisis is more important to the citizens than a presidential campaign. It also shows how important elections are, being that if the outcome of this election had been different, there are many aspects of our society that could have changed. It shows that people can make a good choice without it being presented to them on a silver platter.





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