Presidental Election of '64

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Salty, Apr 29, 2015.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    That would be 1864!

    During the Spring and Summer of '64, Lincoln was afraid he would loose the November election.

    Had that happen - would the CSA have been victorious in remaining a country.

    From US History
     
  2. Salty

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    there was talk among the Democrats that they would have recognized the CSA - and thus ended the WBTS.

    In 1864 Lincoln won re-election with 55%; compared to 39% in 1860

    (But keep in mind that 1860 includes votes of the Southern States/Commonwealths)
     
  3. rsr

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    I've been mulling this question for a long time and the answer is "maybe" but "probably not."

    First, how much history are you willing to roll back? If you assume the same facts on the ground — Sherman has routed Hood and embarked upon his March to the Sea — it does not at all appear likely that McClellan would have ended the war precipitously. Being commander in chief would have allowed him, at long last, to implement his own strategy and finally take Richmond. Finally, he would have the chance to conquer the South.

    After all, McClellan was a War Democrat, though the party was dominated by the Peace wing. Would he have given up the opportunity to win the war (remember that his inauguration would have taken place just a month before Appomattox)? Not likely.

    However, if you posit the election of McClellan you must be assuming different facts in the progress of the war. Perhaps Sherman was defeated before Atlanta, or at least was prevented from taking the city. (Still, you would have to deal with Mobile Bay, and there is no conceivable way that Union victory could have been forestalled short of an act of God.)

    In that case, perhaps McClellan would have sought some kind of negotiated settlement, though, again, his vanity might have been overridden such sentiments if the prospect of becoming a second Washington (or Napoleon) were in his grasp.

    It does not seem likely that McClellan would have countenanced the preservation of the CSA, except perhaps through mismanagement. He was a Unionist, after all, and his goal would have been to restore the Union in some fashion.

    Now toss in the rest of the election results. Would he have had a Democratic Congress to work with? Probably not, and the Radical Republicans would have fought him tooth and nail to prevent a negotiated settlement that was not on their terms. Perhaps we would have seen an Andrew Johnson-style confrontation in 1865.

    Certainly a McClellan victory could have changed history considerably. McClellan was no abolitionist, and it's entirely likely that the 13th or 14th amendments would have been approved at that time.

    So — my guess is a continued prosecution of the war, the defeat of the South, but not the formal abolition of slavery, although McClellan would have had to figure out how to deal with all the slaves freed by their own efforts or by the Emancipation Proclamation while still upholding the Peculiar Institution. Even Lincoln couldn't have figured that one out, and McClellan was no Lincoln.
     

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