November 01, 2004

The Election of 1864

From the Belmont Club

The election of 1864 bears an uncanny resemblance to 2004's on several points, a comparison that has not escaped others. After three years of war, victory in 1864 over the Confederacy seemed farther than ever. The Democrats, therefore, fielded ex-general McClellan as a candidate on a something of a peace platform, for many in the party intended to negotiate either a return to the Union of the seceding states (allowing them to keep slavery) or recognize the Confederacy. Lincoln himself thought it unlikely that he would win. In fact, he had made matters worse by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, which made it abundantly clear that while he remained President, the South would be fighting not only for State's Rights but to preserve its entire social fabric. It was therefore true that Lincoln, by his obduracy, had made peace impossible in a war that had cost nearly half a million lives on a population base of 30 million. And all the Democrats were saying, was that after a failed war of three years, that it was best to give peace a chance.

Posted by Vanderleun at November 1, 2004 09:57 PM | TrackBack
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