November 8, 1864: Lincoln Re-elected

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Ohio claims they are due a president as they haven’t had one since Taft. Look at the United States, they have not had one since Lincoln.

Will Rogers

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Lincoln and Liberty Too.  Mr. Lincoln was re-elected 150 years ago.  The 1864 campaign songs have been long forgotten, while Lincoln and Liberty Too from the 1860 campaign is probably the most famous campaign song in American political history.

With the re-election the last faint hope for the Confederacy vanished.  The War would be fought to a finish and slavery was as dead as the hundreds of thousands of men who had fallen in the bloodiest conflict in American history.

Lincoln garnered 55% of the vote to 45% for McClellan.  The electoral vote was a landslide of epic proportions:  221-21.  Even if all the Confederate states had been able to cast unanimous votes against Lincoln, he still would have won a solid majority in the electoral college.  The margins in some of the Northern States were close, but as the saying goes, that only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Presidents having two terms was a rare event in the Nineteenth Century after the Virginia Dynasty.  Between James Madison and Abraham Lincoln only Andrew Jackson won two terms.  After Lincoln only Grant would have two terms, until Grover Cleveland won two non-consecutive terms.  The Presidency was a smaller office then, two terms being a reward for perceived greatness, unlike the Twentieth Century when not having two terms meant a President was a perceived failure.

Most Presidents are smaller than the great office they attain.  A few are larger than the office.  Washington and Lincoln are the two most notable in this precious band.  On this day in 1864 Lincoln had the greatest political success of his life, as the nation voted to continue the War through to victory.  Lincoln was nearing his goals of Union and freedom for the slaves as the sands of his life were quickly running out.

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