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E . L . E . C . T . I . O . N


William E. Gienapp
Historical Research and Narrative

Election cartoon

When war erupted in the spring of 1861, Senator Stephen A. Douglas promptly called upon President Abraham Lincoln and pledged his support. A few days later, Douglas left Washington and returned home to Illinois to rally northern Democrats to support the Union war effort. "There are only two sides to the question," he proclaimed in a speech in Chicago. "There can be no neutrals in this war, only patriots—or traitors." Douglas died a month later, yet the citizens of Illinois, heeding his patriotic appeal, sustained the Union cause with unprecedented enthusiasm. Indeed, in the first months of the war Illinois raised 60,000 troops, more than any other state, as Democrats joined Republicans in endorsing Abraham Lincoln's decision to use force to preserve the Union.

By 1862, however, that initial burst of bipartisan enthusiasm had waned in the face of mounting battlefield casualties and growing northern divisions over war policy. Of particular importance were Lincoln's interference with traditional civil liberties on the Union homefront, the resort to conscription to raise manpower for the military, and his controversial decision to make emancipation a Union war aim. In the fall of 1862 Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus throughout the North in cases involving antiwar activity, thereby authorizing the army to arrest civilians and hold them indefinitely without trial. Military authorities also suppressed and otherwise interfered with newspapers they considered disloyal. Democrats also bitterly denounced the Emancipation Proclamation and accused Lincoln of perverting the war to save the Union into a wild abolitionist crusade to destroy slavery and overthrow the South's existing social order.

Those policies strengthened the so-called Copperheads, or Peace Democrats, who opposed the war and called for an armistice and peace negotiations with the Confederacy. They hated abolitionists, Republicans, and New England Yankees, whom they blamed for the war, and a number were willing to accept disunion. The peace wing of the Democratic party was especially strong in Illinois, which contained a large southern-born population, particularly in the southern counties known as "Egypt." Illinois Democrats capitalized on growing popular discontent over Lincoln's leadership to win control of both houses of the legislature in 1862, but the growing radicalism of extreme Peace Democrats finally led Republican Governor Richard Yates to prorogue the legislature in 1863.

As the year 1864 opened, the deepening divisions in the Republican ranks between radicals and conservatives, the administration's failure to defeat the Confederacy, and the war's appalling slaughter rendered Lincoln a highly vulnerable president, both nationally and in his home state. Indeed, the leaders of Lincoln's own party increasingly believed that he was unequal to the task that confronted him. "You would be surprised, in talking with public men we meet here, to find how few, when you come to get at their real sentiments, are for Mr.


Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis

Union ticket

Lincoln's reelection," Republican Senator Lyman Trumbull of Illinois wrote from the capital in February 1864. "There is a distrust and fear that he is too undecided and inefficient to put down the rebellion." In May a convention of dissident radicals nominated General John C. Fremont for president as an independent Republican candidate on an advanced antislavery platform, a development that threatened to divide the Republican vote and defeat Lincoln in November.

Although he was worried about his ebbing political fortunes, Lincoln gave no thought to canceling or postponing the election. Holding a general election in wartime entails considerable risk, but Lincoln believed that to postpone the election would be to lose republican government itself. "We cannot have free government without elections," he explained, "and if the rebellion could force us to forego or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us." Lincoln faced significant Republican opposition in his own state. Although only a few German papers endorsed Fremont's nomination, many more radicals, led by Senator Lyman Trumbull and Governor Richard Yates, privately grumbled over Lincoln's lack of leadership. Conservative Republicans, including former senator Orville Browning, an old personal friend, were alienated by Lincoln's support for emancipation. Only after a vigorous debate did the state convention endorse Lincoln's renomination. "Lincoln's course has not only dissatisfied but embittered many thousands of Republicans, particularly Germans, against him," a party loyalist informed Trumbull during the summer. "There is no enthusiasm for him, and cannot be."

Despite the opposition to him within Republican ranks, the President, strengthened by his control of the federal patronage, easily won renomination by the rechristened Union party convention in June. With Lincoln's concurrence, the delegates also approved a plank in the national platform endorsing the proposed constitutional amendment to abolish slavery throughout the United States.

The Democrats decided to postpone their convention until the end of August in order to see how the military situation developed. In the meantime, they sought to capitalize on the growing war weariness of the northern home front, expressed in the growing clamor for peace. As northern popular morale sagged, one Illinois Democratic newspaper commented, "The war is no longer popular with the majority of the people....The people are tired of the war—tired of the vain sacrifices of so many thousands of lives—tired of the continual increase of the public debt, and they are sternly determined on a change of Administration." As that editorial indicated, popular discontent over the war inevitably focused on Lincoln's performance as president and commander-in-chief.

Illinois Democrats spent the summer hammering away at President Lincoln's record, particularly on the questions of civil liberties, race and emancipation, and peace negotiations. Democrats made especially effective use of the peace issue and called for negotiations with the Confederacy to end the war. Voicing the public mood, Horace Greeley, the editor of the Republican New York Tribune, wrote Lincoln during the summer, "Our bleeding, bankrupt, almost dying country.... longs for peace—shudders at the prospect of fresh conscriptions, of further wholesale devastations, and new rivers of human blood."

Lincoln realized that Jefferson Davis and the Confederate leaders would not accept reunion, and hence no negotiated settlement was possible. But he also knew that he had to neutralize this issue in the presidential campaign. Therefore, he announced in mid-July that he was willing to consider any Confederate peace proposition "which embraces the integrity of the whole Union, and the abandonment of slavery." He then sanctioned several informal peace missions, all of which, as he expected they would, came to naught.

Lincoln's insistence on emancipation as a precondition for peace, however, largely undercut his attempt to weaken the peace movement on the northern home front. Bitterly denouncing the president, Democrats charged him with prolonging the war by his stubborn unwillingness to abandon the policy of emancipation. The Chicago Times, the leading Democratic paper in the state, argued that the administration "has been offered peace and Union, and has rejected the offer. It demands the wealth and lives of our people to prosecute a crusade against an institution whose rights are guaranteed by the law investing them with temporary power, and which they have sworn to defend and support." The power of the Copperhead movement in the state, coupled with opposition to emancipation and the use of black troops, made the peace issue especially important in Illinois politics.

With the Republicans squabbling among themselves and glumly anticipating defeat, the Democrats finally assembled in Chicago at the end of August for their national convention. The Democrats were also a deeply divided party. The regular Democrats demanded that the war continue until the Confederacy was militarily defeated, although they opposed emancipation, while the peace Democrats advocated an armistice and negotiations with the rebels. In the end, as Lincoln had predicted, the convention nominated a war candidate, former general George McClellan, a regular Democrat, for president on a peace platform written by former congressman Clement Vallandigham of Ohio, the most notorious Copperhead leader in the country. The most controversial plank pronounced the war a failure and called for an armistice and a peace convention of the states.


Election day

In his acceptance letter, McClellan rejected that plank and, appealing to Union soldiers for support, proclaimed, "The Union is the one condition for peace—we ask no more." As this statement implied, McClellan intended to maintain slavery in the South if he were elected.

Radical Republicans had long assailed McClellan as a pro-slavery Democrat, and his nomination, together with the Democrats' platform, produced great resentment in the Republican ranks. In addition, the military situation dramatically improved in September, when the Union army under William Tecumseh Sherman captured Atlanta, followed by Philip Sheridan's victorious campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. Republican spirits brightened, while Democratic—and Confederate—ones correspondingly were dampened. Fremont, leader of a dissent Republican faction, soon withdrew from the race, and Lincoln emerged as the clear favorite to win.

The Republicans' campaign strategy in Illinois was to tar the Democratic party with charges of treason and disloyalty. Republican newspapers and speakers repeatedly accused the Democrats, whom they routinely labeled Copperheads, of being willing to accept disunion, of wishing to preserve slavery, and of stabbing Union soldiers in the back just as the war was on the verge of being won. The Democrats cry of "peace," the Illinois State Journal declared, "means not only abject and disgraceful submission to these enemies of the Union, but disunion also." The Republicans' strategy was greatly aided by the Democratic party's national platform and by the prominence of leading Copperheads in the McClellan campaign. In explaining "why we are for Lincoln," the Champaigne Union and Gazette, for example, emphasized that "every traitor, rebel, bushwhacker and malignant schismatic in the country is opposed to him," while "a large majority of the citizens of unconditional Union proclivities are for him...." Republican papers trumpeted straw polls among Illinois regiments that demonstrated strong support for Lincoln over McClellan and published pro-Lincoln letters from Union military leaders such as General James D. Morgan of Quincy. Republicans also brought General John A. Logan, a former Democratic leader from southern Illinois, back to the state to campaign for Lincoln. In a series of hard-hitting campaign addresses, Logan accused his previous Democratic associates of treason and disloyalty This was a war of patriots against traitors, Logan bluntly affirmed, and the Democratic national platform advocated a disgraceful and dishonorable peace.

For Illinois Democrats, the critical issue of the election was peace or war. The Union's recent military victories took some of the wind out of the sails of the peace issue, although Democrats continued to insist that the destruction of slavery was neither desirable nor necessary to win the war. In attacking Lincoln's policy on emancipation, the state's Democratic leaders aggressively played the race card and appealed to anti-black feeling in the state. Anti-black racism had always been part of the Democratic party's stock-in-trade in Illinois, and party spokesmen directly linked emancipation with racial equality. Indeed, the Democratic state organ, the Illinois State Register, charged the Republicans with favoring racial equality, which it designated "the real key-note" of the presidential campaign.

Democrats also devoted considerable attention to Lincoln's record on civil liberties, particularly his suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and the interference with freedom of the press. The Chicago Times, which had been momentarily suppressed by the military in 1863, charged with special fervor that "there is hardly a provision of the constitution which the President has not violated or treated with contempt."

Both parties argued that the fate of the nation and of democracy were at stake in the election, which helps account for the campaign's unusually harsh rhetoric. For Republicans, Lincoln's re-election was essential to preserve the Union and destroy slavery, which threatened the Republic. The issue was "a plain one," the State Journal maintained in its final issue before the election. "It is a question of Union or disunion, of freedom or slavery." Democrats, on the other hand, believed that a Republican triumph would destroy the country's heritage of democratic liberty and the existing racial order. The Democratic state organ darkly predicted that if Lincoln were victorious, the American people would bid "farewell to civil liberty, to a republican form of government, and to the unity of these states...."

As those comments reveal, partisan rhetoric in the 1864 election was unusually severe. At the end of the campaign, the State Register conceded, "We have had heat and acrimony and sometimes hard feelings in every preceding election, but never anything to compare with what was felt in this." The newspaper was relieved to report that peace and order prevailed at the polls throughout the state on election day.

The 1864 election was a great personal triumph for Abraham Lincoln. He won 55 percent of the popular vote, with a popular majority of more than 400,000 votes. He easily defeated McClellan in the electoral college, 212 electoral votes to 21. Although McClellan managed to carry only New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky of the loyal states, the election was closer than these figures suggest, since Lincoln's winning margin in several key large states was quite small. Nevertheless, the results demonstrated that Lincoln was more popular with ordinary Americans than he was with the leaders of the Republican party. During the campaign, the


Chicago Tribune observed, "Through all this fiery ordeal Mr. Lincoln has continued to have not only the confidence but the love of the masses of the people."

Lincoln carried Illinois by 30,794 votes. Partisan disagreements blocked efforts to allow Illinois soldiers to vote in camp, which hurt Lincoln in the state, since Union troops elsewhere voted overwhelmingly (78 percent) for the President. Even without the soldier vote, Illinois Republicans had made a remarkable political comeback from their defeat in 1862. They elected Richard Oglesby governor, carried eleven of fourteen congressional districts (including, remarkably, the seat in Egypt), and regained control of the legislature, which would select Yates to replace Democrat William Richardson in the U.S. Senate.

The 1864 election had great significance in American history. For one thing, it was a vindication of democracy. As Lincoln observed, it proved that "a people's government can sustain a national election in the midst of a great civil war." More important, it represented a popular mandate to see the war through to its conclusion on the principles of reunion and emancipation. In a post-election editorial, the Chicago Tribune hailed the outcome as an endorsement of the policy of abolition. "If there was any one single issue which.... was most distinctly drawn and plainly presented, it was whether the people of this country would vote for the Lincoln policy to carry on the war, not to save the Union, but to destroy slavery. And the people have recorded their answer, by reelecting Lincoln...." Northerners, it continued, "have emphatically pronounced their determination, that the country cannot be saved unless slavery be destroyed."

Lincoln's victory had a devastating impact on popular morale in the Confederacy, which rapidly disintegrated in the aftermath of the election. After wavering during the dark gloom of the summer of 1864, northern public opinion manifested a determination to persevere until victory was achieved. Congressman Elihu B. Washburne of Galena, one of Lincoln's staunchest supporters, pointed to this meaning of the election when he wrote: "The re-election of Mr. Lincoln by such an overwhelming and unprecedented popular majority, must show the rebels and the foreign powers that the American people prefer to go thro' with this thing at whatever cost of treasure and blood. The news of the result I have no doubt has made all rebeldom quake." Jefferson Davis remained defiant, but the last hope of a Confederate victory was now gone. Lincoln's re-election removed all doubt that slavery would be abolished in the reconstructed Union.


Political cartoon

"The news
of the
has made

Frederick D. Drake


Main Ideas

Holding regular public elections is an American value, belief, and political tradition. The election of 1864 has a special prominence because it was held during the Civil War among the Union states. Republican Abraham Lincoln carried 22 of 25 states participating in the presidential election. Lincoln captured every state in the electoral college except Kentucky, New Jersey, and Delaware. Lincoln's reelection, however, was not easy. First, Lincoln had to gain the nomination of his party to run for a second term, and he had to do so when the Union was not doing well on the battlefield. Thus, Lincoln had to overcome nomination challenges by Salmon P. Chase and John C. Fremont. Both men eventually backed down, allowing Lincoln to be renominated by the Republicans. Second, the 1864 election has special and ironic notoriety in Illinois history because Lincoln's support in the state was not overwhelming. Lincoln won Illinois by a margin of slightly over 30,000 popular votes. General George B. McClellan, the Democrat's presidential nominee, had strong support in Illinois and the other states in the Union. Political pundits at the time predicted that McClellan would win the election and oust Lincoln during the middle of the Civil War. What did the incumbent Lincoln believe were his chances of gaining reelection? What impact did Lincoln's political victory have on the outcome of the war? What effect did Lincoln's reelection have statewide, nationally, and internationally?

This lesson has three parts. Activity One engages students in looking at a map and predicting the outcome of the 1864 election. Activity Two calls upon students to read and analyze primary sources related to the 1864 election. After reading and categorizing the sources, students create a trailer for a movie on the election. In this activity students consider the influence of the apostate General John A. Logan of Illinois regarding the outcome of the election. How did both Republicans and Democrats solicit Logan's support for their candidates in Illinois? How important was General John A. Logan's support for Lincoln during the campaign? In Activity Three students analyze political cartoons and construct their own cartoon about the election.

This lesson helps students understand the significance of the 1864 election. Students can develop a democratic disposition as they read accounts written by supporters and opponents of Lincoln. Students can gain an empathy for Lincoln as he ran for a second term as president, grasp the complexity of historical causation, and recognize the importance of


I won.

individuals who have made a difference. Furthermore, students should reflect on strategies of newspapers to persuade voters with their editorial comments, political cartoons, and daily reports of campaign developments.

Connection with the Curriculum

The following activities are appropriate for the study of United States history pertaining to the Civil War and Reconstruction from 1850 to 1877 and for a Civics and Government unit on political parties. The activities may be appropriate for the Illinois Learning Standards 16.A.4a, 16.B.4, and 14.C.4.

Teaching Level

The activities are appropriate for high school students, with adaptations possible for other grade levels.

Materials for Each Student

Each student should receive a copy of the article, "The Election of 1864," individual copies of Activities 1, 2, and 3, and a copy of "A Rubric for Alternative Assessment." The rubric can be found in the book Alternative Assessment in the Social Sciences or on the Internet at

Objectives for Each Student

• Predict outcomes of the 1864 election
• Analyze letters, newspaper articles, and political cartoons
• Grasp the complexity of historical causation
• Recognize the importance of individuals who have made a difference in history
• Synthesize primary sources to explain the significance of John A. Logan's role in the 1864 election by creating a trailer for a movie
• Create a political cartoon based on an 1864 newspaper advertisement


Opening the Lesson

In Activity One students should look at a map of 1864 and identify states in the Confederacy and the states in the Union. Ask students: "How successful was the Union on the battlefield by 1864?" Ask students: "Why would leaders be skeptical about holding an election in 1864?" "What does conducting an election reveal about American values and beliefs?" Ask students: "Why did the Union hold elections in 1864 during the middle of the Civil War?" "What would be the benefits? The drawbacks?" Ask students: "What states would be most likely to vote for Lincoln over McClellan in the 1864 election?"

Distribute the predictions of the electoral vote (Document 2) published one week before the election was held. Have students compare those with the 1864 predictions of political pundits.

Developing the Lesson

In Activity Two students create a trailer for a movie on the election of 1864. (See Activity Two directions to students.) Divide the class into groups of four. Each student in the group will be responsible for becoming an "expert" on one set of the documents. One student should be assigned Documents 1 and 2 (Lincoln's thoughts), one student should be assigned Documents 3, 4, 5, and 6 (a Democratic handbill and excerpts from newspapers in Springfield, Illinois), one student should be assigned Documents 7 and 8 (efforts to influence John A. Logan), and one student should be assigned Documents 9 and 10 (remembrances of John A. Logan's role in the election).

After students have analyzed their assigned documents individually, they should be instructed to share their knowledge with the members of their group and then work together to create the trailer for the movie. Placing the documents in categories and assigning students roles as experts should ensure that the movie preview students create includes Lincoln's perspective, the positions espoused in Illinois newspapers, attempts to persuade Logan, and recollections of Logan's importance in the 1864 election. Students will write a script and perform their trailer in class.

Concluding the Lesson

In Activity Three students should analyze two political cartoons that favor Lincoln and McClellan, respectively. Students then should examine a political advertisement regarding Union victories and create a political cartoon of their own using the advertisement as the basis for the cartoon's message.

Extending the Lesson

Have students describe effects Lincoln's reelection had on international relations. Students should consider the impact of Lincoln's reelection on European thoughts about interfering in the Civil War and then compose a cable message from British leaders informing Jefferson Davis of British policy following the 1864 election.

Assessing the Lesson

Several performance assessment strategies are suggested in the activities. These assessment strategies will help reveal the dimensions of students' historical knowledge, reasoning, and ability to communicate.


Activity 1, Document 1 — Man and Electoral Predictions

Union and Confederate States in 1864

US map in 1864

1. Distinguish Union states from Confederate states in 1864.

2. Why would Union leaders be skeptical about holding an election in 1864?

3. What does conducting an election in 1864 reveal about American values and beliefs?

4. Why would the Union benefit from an election? What would be the drawbacks?

5. Which Union states would most likely vote for Abraham Lincoln rather than George B. McClellan in the 1864 election?


Activity 1, Document 2

Predictions of 1864 Election
November 2, 1864
Valley Spirit

The result of the elections in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, as well as the recent town vote in Connecticut, settles the question that the political tide is running heavily against the [Lincoln] administration. All the gain is on the side of the Democratic party, and now that the current has fairly set in, it will move with accelerated force up to the time the November vote is taken. The present is a good time, therefore, to present some estimates of the probable results in several States when the presidential vote is taken.

States Certain to Vote
For McClellan















New Jersey


New York








States Which Will Probably
Go For McClellan







New Hampshire


Rhode Island


West Virginia






States Certain to Vote Lincoln













States Which May Go Lincoln



New Hampshire


West Virginia




Rhode Island






It will thus be seen that if Lincoln carries the doubtful Republican, as well as the certain Republican States, he will still far short of the needed [electoral] votes. It is easily demonstrable that the same percentage of increase of the fall's vote in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, as compared with last year, will give us all the States in November save those indicated above as being certain for Lincoln.

Although in all probability General McClellan will be honestly elected president on the 8th of November, still there is so large a margin of doubt, that Democrats cannot afford to consider the matter settled. All hands must turn to and work with a will in the brief three weeks before us. Democratic speakers must be stirring, the conservative presses must multiply their issues. One earnest and determined effort will make the assurance of victory doubly sure.


1. When was the article predicting the outcome of the 1864 election written?

2. On what evidence does the article base its predictions?

3. Is there evidence of bias in this article?

4. Compare the predictions in this article to your predictions of the 1864 election.


Activity 2 — The Election of 1864 Goes To Hollywood

Imagine that a producer in one of Hollywood's major studios has approached you and asked you to serve as a screenwriter for a new production. You accepted the position and created a movie about the drama that took place in the state of Illinois during the election of 1864. Now you have to create a trailer that will be shown in theaters. As in the case of any good preview, the trailer must reveal the general plot without giving away the ending, and it should make the audience wonder about the complexity of different characters. The officials in Hollywood also want you to include one line from the movie that summarizes the main issues at stake in the 1864 election. When the public hears this line, they should identify immediately with your movie. Use the guidelines below, the article, and Documents 1-9 to help you create the trailer.

Remember, the public might not have much knowledge about the 1864 election, so you will have to summarize the key issues for them. Capture their attention with an overview of the struggles in the state of Illinois between the War and Peace Democrats and the Republicans. Then use the information from the Springfield newspapers, Sherman's letter, and Mrs. Logan's remembrance to reveal more detailed information about the movie's plot.

Finally, the producer and director cannot settle on a title for the movie, so they have decided to leave the decision to you. You want to create a title that audiences can remember easily and one that captures the essence of the drama in your film.

Working together as a group, write the script and perform the trailer before an audience.

Election goes to hollywood



Activity 2, Document 1

Lincoln Distinguishes Himself From His Democratic Opponent

To Abram Wakeman

Abram Wakeman, Esq
My dear Sir:
Executive Mansion,
July 25, 1864.

I feel that the subject which you pressed upon my attention in our recent conversation is an important one. The men of the South, recently (and perhaps still) at Niagara Falls [Canada],1 tell us distinctly that they are in the confidential employment of the rebellion; and they tell us as distinctly that they are not empowered to offer terms of peace. Does any one doubt that what they are empowered to do, is to assist in selecting and arranging a candidate and a platform for the Chicago [Democratic] convention? Who could have given them this confidential employment but he who only a week since declared to Jacques and Gilmore that he had no terms of peace but the independence of the South in the dissolution of the Union? Thus the present presidential contest will almost certainly be no other than a contest between a Union and a Disunion candidate, disunion certainly following the success of the latter. The issue is a mighty one for all people and all time; and whoever aids the right will be appreciated and remembered. Yours truly

A. Lincoln

From Roy P. Basler, et al., eds., The Collected Works
of Abraham Lincoln,
9 vols. (New Brunswick: Rutgers
University Press, 1953-1955), 7: 461.

1 Niagara Falls, Canada, was a place where Confederate agents were stationed.
2 Lincoln sent Colonel James Jacques and James Gilmore to visit the Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Peace advocates in the Union believed that negotiations would bring about a peaceful solution to the Civil War. Lincoln sent the two negotiators, who had visions of bringing about a peaceful settlement. Their failure dampened the spirits of those who advocated such a position. Lincoln brought up the Jacques and Gilmore and Niagara Falls, Canada, examples to illustrate his point that peace terms could not be negotiated.


Activity 2, Document 2

Lincoln's Blind Memorandum
August 23, 1864

This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President-elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he can not possibly save it afterwards.

As quoted in Mark E. Neely, Jr., The Last Best Hope of
Earth: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993), 174.

Political cartoon

"YOUR PLAN       AND         MINE".


Activity 2, Document 3

Daily Illinois State Register
September 6, 1864

The Draft in Illinois

The people of Illinois will be astonished and outraged to learn, that notwithstanding, it has been officially announced that, taking the states in the aggregate, and deducting her excesses on former calls from the number required under this, we are owing the United States about 16,000 men, and orders are issued to draft 29,000 under the last call! As though the former injustice and outrage done the state was not enough, this additional measure is piled upon her shoulders as a reward for the sacrifices she has already exerted, to reinforce the armies of the Union.

The modus operandi of this swindle is as follows: The state, as a whole, is utterly ignored. About forty-one counties are in excess of all calls, including the last; the remainder are in arrears. Every sub-district which is behind is to be drafted to the full extent of its complement on this and former calls, ignoring the reduction which should be allowed for the excesses in other sub-districts; and the total number to be drafted is therefore as stated above — 29,000 men. A more astounding, not to say infamous course of treatment could not be imagined.

From Daily Illinois State Register, September 6, 1864



Activity 2, Document 4

Daily Illinois State Register
October 8, 1864

Lincoln's Well-wishers.

Col. Benton long ago remarked that the abolitionists of the north and the nullifiers of the south were to each other as the blades of a pair of shears, by whose movement in opposite directions the map of the Union was likely to be cut in two. The apt illustration of an undeniable truth is recalled to mind by observing how these opposite classes of destructives concur in desiring the reelection of Abraham Lincoln. He is equally indebted to both for his first election; and he has equally the good wishes of both for his second. The same fire-eaters that broke up the national convention at Charleston, in 1860, with a view to divide the democratic party, insure the triumph of the abolitionists, and so dissolve the Union, are now equally desirous that Lincoln should be reelected that they may clinch the nail that was then so successfully driven. The following extracts from leading secession journals attest the unity of plan and persistency of purpose which connect the conjoint efforts of the abolitionists and secessionists in 1860 with their concurrent wishes in 1864:

[From the Richmond Dispatch.]

If we could command a million of votes, Abraham Lincoln should receive them all.

[From the Richmond Examiner.]

Abraham has been a good emperor for us; he has served his turn; his policy has settled, established, and made irrevocable the separation of the old Union into nations essentially foreign, and we may be almost sorry to part with him.

From Daily Illinois State Register, October 8, 1864

Activity 2, Document 5

Election tickets


Activity 2, Document 6

Illinois State Journal
September 7, 1864

Old man





No Compromise With Traitors.

The loyal men of Springfield and vicinity, without regard to party, are invited to assemble at the Rotunda of the State Capitol this WEDNESDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 7th, for the purpose of conferring together and rejoicing over the glorious successes of the Union arms in the capture of Fort Morgan, Atlanta, and elsewhere.

Union men of Illinois, arouse! The enemies of the country are conspiring for its overthrow. Support the arms of your brethren now battling with rebels in the field. Send words of greeting and good cheer to the armies of Grant and Sherman and Canby. Assure them that they are sustained at home, and that no cowardly "fire in the rear" shall prevent them from compelling traitors to submit to the just and constitutional authority of the Government.

Able speakers from abroad and from our midst will be present to address the people.

Come out to-night, and kindle anew the watch-fires of republican and constitutional liberty. Rally for Lincoln and Johnson; for Union and a permanent peace based upon the unconditional submission of traitors.

From Illinois State Journal, September 7, 1864



Activity 2, Document 7

J.W. Sheahan, a devoted friend and mentor of Senator Stephen A. Douglas, was a journalist. Along with other journalists and Democratic party leaders, Sheahan wrote General Logan letters urging the General to support McClellan in the 1864 election. What tactics does Sheahan use in his letter to persuade Logan to support McClellan in the election?

93 Washington Street,

CHICAGO, August 31, 1864


I enclose you a copy of the platform adopted by the convention. I want you, as a Democrat, to write a letter indorsing your fellow soldier, patriot, and Democrat. You never failed yet to meet any demand that the Democratic party or your country ever made upon your talents, or even your life. Will you refuse both when they jointly ask your voice in the election? In God's name, dear Logan, by all your hopes for your country and yourself, let not the Democracy ask your arm and be refused. You and I persistently refused to join any party, refused to accept the title of "War Democrats" as distinguished from the old Democratic party of our early love, and, now that the party gives a rational and a national platform, will you refuse to give your voice in behalf of our own soldier, patriot, Democrat, and statesman — McClellan? Give us one of your characteristic letters indorsing platform, nominee, and all, and from the very hearts of the party will go up a shout of thanks to you.

Yours truly,

From Mrs. John A. Logan, Reminiscences of a Soldier's Wife: An
(Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press,
1997), 176-77.


Activity 2, Document 8

Daily Illinois State Journal
September 8, 1864

Strong Effort Made To Induce Logan

Gen. John A. Logan — A strong effort was made to induce Gen. John A. Logan, of Illinois, to accept the nomination for Vice President on the copperhead ticket. John B. Haskin, Ex-Member of Congress from New York and a personal friend of Logan, wrote him, some weeks ago, an urgent letter to allow his name to go before the Convention for Vice-President. Several other prominent politicians wrote him on the subject. Haskin sent him a second letter, stronger, if possible, in language than the first one, beseeching him to be a candidate, and assuring him of the hearty support of the New York and other eastern delegates. Gen. Logan unqualifiedly refused. He told those gentlemen that he did not train with that crowd; that he was a war Democrat—not a peace sneak; that he was opposed to bowing down and supplicating for forgiveness at the feet of Jeff Davis; that he was for an honorable, permanent peace, which could only be obtained by overthrowing armed rebellion, and compelling the insurgents to yield obedience to the Constitution and the laws, and that he would never consent to make peace on any terms that did not embrace a complete restoration of the Union, in all its territorial integrity.

As we have already said, Gens. Logan and McClernand, have been most bitterly maligned and villified by the Copperhead press, simply because they chose to stand by the Government against its traitorous enemies.

From Chicago Tribune as quoted in Daily Illinois State
September 8, 1864


Activity 2, Document 9

Reminiscences of a Soldier's Wife

Mary Simmerson Cunningham Logan
(Mrs. John A. Logan)

Illinois, as the home of Mr. Lincoln, was watched with great anxiety. General Logan had refused all political preferment after he entered the army in 1861. This election of 1864 was the first Presidential election since the war began, and his old-time friends thought to win the support of McClellan. Mr. Lincoln realized that Illinois was so important to the Republican party that he was anxious to have General Logan's support. Hence ... Mr. Lincoln requested him [General John A. Logan] to come home and take part in the civil campaign, which was fraught with quite as much importance as the military [siege and capture of Atlanta] one just closed so gloriously.

After the army had entered Atlanta and all were to have a respite, General Logan came home. The plaudits of the people followed him everywhere, and I shall remember as long as I live the eagerness with which they surrounded him and plied him with questions as to his future political course. To all of them he said: "Wait till the arrival of the date when I am to speak to you." He had been advertised to speak in the grove near Carbondale, Illinois, our home at that time. The grove was a beautiful place, a natural amphitheatre shaded by grand old oak-trees, where outdoor public meetings were held. On this occasion, fully twenty thousand people assembled there, all breathless to hear what General Logan had to say. A large majority of the residents of that section were War Democrats, and inclined to the support of McClellan, a brother-in-law of mine among the number. My relative was so enthusiastic that he declared over and over again, while communication was cut off during the siege of Atlanta, that he knew General Logan, as a War Democrat, would espouse McClellan's cause, greatly to the vexation of General Logan's friends, who were devoted to Mr. Lincoln. One day, in the presence of a number of persons, he became so sanguine that he offered to bet a fine span of mules he owned against five hundred dollars that Logan would support McClellan. Seeing the annoyance and unhappiness his statement produced upon the friends, though not given to such practices, I said: "All right, Mr. Campbell, I will take your bet, since you are so confident." A half-dozen hands were instantly thrust into plethoric pockets, and the money was proffered to be put up to pay if I lost, and to be sure that I would have the mules if I won.

I heard nothing from General Logan for many weeks, and knew as little as any of them as to his position on political questions, except from intuition, and an appreciation of the situation and his well-known devotion to his country.

At last the day arrived on which General Logan was to speak. He was much worn and looked haggard and weary from his ceaseless labors in the Atlanta campaign which had lasted from May till September. He was so sunburnt that he looked like an Indian. The scenes through which he had passed had furrowed his brow, but the flashing light of his eyes was still there, and the return to home and his family made him happy. We soon told him... the claims of both parties for his support and influence. When told that I had committed him to the extent of actually betting that he would not support McClellan and the platform upon which he was nominated, he was greatly amused ... The incident had been telegraphed everywhere, and much comment indulged in, so, when General Logan mounted the beautifully decorated stand from which he was to speak, he was greeted by wild cheers and yells from the vast crowd: "Now he will win the mules." He spoke for some time, telling them the duty of all loyal men, of the cost of blood and treasure at which the victories of the Union had been won, and closed with a glowing appeal for Mr. Lincoln's re-election, that the war might speedily be brought to an end.

Scarcely a dry eye was to be seen among the thousands upturned to him, their idolized leader in civil as well as military campaigns....

From Mrs. John A. Logan, Reminiscences of a Soldier's
Wife: An Autobiography
(Carbondale: Southern Illinois
University Press, 1997), 173-75.


Activity 2, Document 10

                   WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 20th, 1883.

               U.S. Senate.


I beg to acknowledge receipt of your good letter of February 18th, and recall well the fact that about September 20th, 1864, I received at Atlanta a telegram from some one in authority, I think Mr. Lincoln himself, to the effect that your presence in Illinois was important to the National cause. You probably know that all my records were transferred to Lt. General Sheridan at the time he succeeded me in command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, and were burned up in the Great Chicago fire. I only retained the blotters from which the official records were made up. In one of them I find my letter to Gen. Howard, commanding Army of the Tennessee, East Point:

"I consent that you give Gen. Logan a leave. I have not yet heard from Gen. Grant, but in case of necessity, we can in Gen. Logan's absence, take care of the 15th Corps. There seems to be a special reason why he should go home at once."

This fully confirms what you write me, and looking back from the distance of time, I doubt not that you were able to give material help in the election of Mr. Lincoln, which was the greatest consideration of the day.

With great respect,
               Your friend,
                              W.T. Sherman

From Mrs. John A. Logan, Reminiscences of
a Soldier's Wife: An Autobiography
(Carbondale: Southern Illinois University
Press, 1997), 177-78.


Activity 3, Document 1

Analyze two political cartoons and determine how the creator of the cartoon favors either Lincoln or McClellan in the 1864 election. Then examine a political advertisement regarding Union victories and create a political cartoon of your own using the advertisement as the basis for the cartoon's message.

Analyze this cartoon. Then give the cartoon a title to influence Illinois voters in the 1864 election.


Political cartoon

The characters in the cartoon are from left to right: Abraham Lincoln,
George B. McClellan, and Jefferson Davis

1. What actions are occurring in the cartoon?

2. What position is each character taking in regard to the Civil War?

3. What is the central idea of the cartoon?

4. How might this cartoon influence voters in the 1864 election?


Activity 3, Document 2

Analyze this cartoon. Then give the cartoon a title to influence Illinois voters in the 1864 election.


Political cartoon

The character with the pipe is General George B. McClellan

1. What actions are occurring in the cartoon?

2. What position is McClellan taking in regard to the Civil War?

3. What is the central idea of the cartoon?

4. How might this cartoon influence voters in the 1864 election?


Activity 3, Document 3

Daily Illinois State Journal
October 29, 1864

Union Victories in 1864


W I N C H E S T E R.
W E L D O N' S  R O A D.
C  H  A  P  I  N'  S   F  A  R  M.
F  I    S   H   E   R'   S     H   I   L   L.
S   P   O   T   T   S   Y   L   V   A   N   I   A.
M   O   B   I   L   E          H   A   R   B   O   R.
N   E   W     M   A   R   K   E   T      R   O   A   D.


M A I N E.
O R E G O N.
V E R M O N T.
I  N  D  I  A  N  A.
C O N N E C T I C U T.
P E N N S Y L V A N I A.

From Daily Illinois State Journal,
October 29, 1864


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