The election of 1864 is over, the results are in, and Abraham Lincoln has won a second term as President of the United States. Lincoln is therefore the first president since Andrew Jackson to win a second term. The New York Tribune commends the process of this election, reporting that despite it being a wartime election “it has been conducted peaceably and according to all the forms of law.”1 Lincoln managed to stave off the challenge of Democratic candidate George B. McClellan, who carried only New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky, gaining twenty-one electoral votes compared to Lincoln’s 212 electoral votes. Lincoln also swept the popular vote, gaining fifty-five percent of the vote. News of Lincoln’s re-election has begun to spread to the Union troops, and a New York Times reporter with the Union Army in Virginia writes that “people can have but little conception of the rejoicing here among Union men over the success of Mr. Lincoln.”2 Yet not everyone is thrilled with Lincoln’s re-election, as made evident by an article in the pro-Confederate Richmond Daily Dispatch, which described the election as a time when people assembled at the voting places “on the purpose of making a formal surrender of their liberties…to a vulgar tyrant.”3 Interestingly, the London Times also criticized Lincoln’s re-election, describing it as “an avowed step towards the foundation of a military despotism.”4 Like it or not, Lincoln has now joined the small number of presidents, including Washington and Jefferson, who have had the chance to serve for two terms.
*This blog post is meant to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s re-election in 1864.
1The New York Daily Tribune, 16 November 1864.
2The New York Times, 16 November 1864.
3The Richmond Daily Dispatch, 9 November 1864.
4London Times, 22 November 1864.