As the election of 1864 neared, the reelection of President Lincoln was very much in doubt: It had been a long a terrible war, that had not started well for the Union. The country had not elected an incumbent President for a second term since Andrew Jackson in 1832 — nine Presidents in a row had served just one term. During three months in the summer of 1864, over 65,000 Union soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing-in-action. Lincoln had staunch opponents in the Congress. Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus was ruled unconstitutional by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney — an order Lincoln refused to obey.

So, what factors led to Lincoln's re-election in 1864?

Kevin Napier
12/31/2012 12:09:13 am

Lincoln's re-election was uncertain until September of 1864 when William Tecumseh Sherman took Atlanta. This changed the minds of anti-Lincoln Republicans, as well as giving the Republicans (National Union Party) fuel against the "Peace Democrats." Peace Democrats were called "copperheads," and were said to be plotting dangerous events. These events lost McClellan votes and bolstered Lincoln's position.

Chelsea Landor
12/31/2012 03:58:43 am

The reelection of Lincoln in 1864 against McClellan was becasue of many reasons. The confederacy ran raides on towns such as Frederick, Maryland,Chambersburg,and Pennsylvania. These attacks were in part created by a secret society of Confederates known as the "fifth column" or "Peace Democrates", which were ati-war northerners. Another cause was becasue Lincoln had the support of the union in which they brought brilliant successes to bolster his position;capturing the port of Mobile, Alabama and strengthening the Union grip on Confederate naval operations.A month later, General Sherman finally broke through the Confederate lines, seizing the city of Atlanta and evacuating all civilians.Because Sherman did what he did to Atlanta McClellan lost all his votes and Lincoln's aims were clear to see. Lincoln in the end won a clear popular majority of over 400,000 votes, and had a virtual clean sweep of the electoral college.

Blake Basmajian
1/1/2013 02:27:04 am

In Lincoln's reelection versus McClellan, Lincoln faced a very disappointed American population. While rivaling candidate George McClellan was seen by many as a military mastermind. While being so tired of war, American's just wanted an end to the Civil War. However, Lincoln's change in fate came in the military success just prior to election picking up victories; mobile bay fell to American Navy and then Sherman's taking of Atlanta as Chelsea explained above and then later Sheridan's capturing of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. So, the unhappy American people found regained faith in Lincoln with recent military victories prior to his reelection in 1864

Alex Piper
1/1/2013 04:11:31 am

As stated above many times, Americans were beginning to lose faith in Lincoln and the war effort. They were beginning to think that throwing their cards in to a president that may or may not finish the war was better than keeping their cards with a president who seemed to be losing fervor. After the capture of Mobile Bay, Atlanta and the Shenandoah Valley they saw that Lincoln's odds were turning up. The swaying public then threw their support behind the president with the most chance to win.

Tanner Flint
1/1/2013 04:59:37 am

Lincoln was facing an uphill battle in his campaign against General McClellan. The Unions change of fortune in the war regained Lincoln's support. General Grant's victory at Vicksburg split the Confederacy and his victory at Gettysburg turned the war around making the South go on the defensive. The Navy took control of Mobile bay and Sherman ruthlessly fought his way to Atlanta demoralizing the Confederates with his hard-war strategy. The newly achieved military success convinced many voters that the war was still worth fighting for.

Zack Shippee
1/1/2013 06:01:00 am

Lincoln's reelection in 1864 was against all odds. Leading up to the election, the odds weren't in his favor. Then the Americans started to see how he was having success in the war effort. General Grant's victories at Gettysburg, Vicksburg and the capture of Atlanta started to open up the eyes of the Americans. They started to realize he was having great success in the war and was keeping stability within the Union.

Taylor Dunn
1/1/2013 06:16:19 am

In this election McClellan was seen by most Americans as the better candidate for the job being that as seen by the public he was much more militarily knowledgeable than Lincoln. But as the Union began winning the Civil was as in the battles already stated multiple times up top, the people saw Lincoln in a new light and he won from what seemed a crazy twist of fate

Gaanploo Somboon
1/1/2013 06:17:15 am

While in the election of 1864, Lincoln was faced with a nation that desired an end to a war and an opponant who was ready to give them what they wanted. One factor that led Lincoln to victory in 1864 by the progress of the Union Army, most notably the capture of Atlanta by General William Tecumseh Sherman, which reinvigorated the public's faith in his capabilities as a President. His success can also be attributed to his supporters, who managed to conduct a campaign that portrayed the Democrats as traitors.

Ian Nolan
1/1/2013 06:53:31 am

Taking away Atlanta from the confederacy showed the union that the Civil war was no longer a stalemate. The Union now had a chance to win this total war instead of being caught up in a tie. Lincoln being a republican made the ideal choice in a country of sectionalism politics in a total war.

Tessa Goodine
1/1/2013 07:16:36 am

*Insert many comments from above* I do not want to simply re-hash what has already been said multiple times, but it's true. On top of all of that, Lincoln still had the moral reformist supporters, and the type of backing he had for the first election. He won in 1860 despite being absent from the ballots in ten of the Southern states. Everyone wanted an end to the war, but everyone also wanted to win. When the victories started occurring, people had a more solid grasp of their viewpoints, and their feelings for who will be their president.

Nate Woodcock
1/1/2013 08:12:21 am

As others have said above, Abraham Lincoln's re-election in 1864 was due to the fact that the Union was beginning to win this Civil War and his ability to keep stability in America. The Northern voters had much confidence that Lincoln would be able draw an end to the war which is why he was elected to his second term

Hannah Murphy
1/1/2013 09:56:55 am

Like mentioned in basically every comment above, Lincoln's re-election was based on the success of his Union troops. By securing Atlanta, it seemed that the Union would be able to come out victorious in the war. This win instilled a faith in the voters that Lincoln would be able to end the war, and accomplish his responsibilities as President.

Coleman Reardon
1/1/2013 10:12:46 am

Leading up to the election of 1864, the country looked as if it was ready to go in a new direction with the role of leadership. The Civil War had been going on for longer than many expected and the public was critical of some of President Lincoln's policies. What changed opinions of the people during the campaign was General Sherman's dominance in the state of Georgia. With what appeared to be a Union victory and what soon would become the near death of slavery pushed Lincoln ahead of McClellan in the 1864 election. Lincoln not only won, but the Republicans also increased their majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Courtney Densmore
1/1/2013 10:20:06 am

Despite numerous obstacles listed above, Lincoln's victory in November 1864 was due to General Sherman's success in Georgia against Confederate General John B. Hood on September 2nd, 1864. Destroying rail links to the rest of the Confederacy caused their opponents to abandon the city. Is could argue the main cause of President Lincoln's reelection was a drastically changed military status, as the tide began to shift toward Union victory. A deep pessimism settled over the Confederate, and McClellan dismissed the original Democratic peace platform. Finally, victory came from the votes of Union troops, who wanted the war to continue until the Confederate met all Union demands, especially emancipation..

Courtney Densmore
1/1/2013 10:27:13 am

*One, *Confederacy

Ivana Cooke
1/1/2013 12:19:27 pm

In agreement with mostly everyone else, Lincoln was reelected based on his achievements during his first term of presidency. Mainly the obtaining of Atlanta and Mobile Bay.

Paige Hawkins
1/1/2013 12:35:53 pm

Also in Agreement with everyone above the success of Lincolns first term is what earned him the enthusiastic votes of the Northern states for a second time. All though the war was in its fourth year the odds of second term was in Lincolns favor he stayed true to his words and promises he made to the North and although the South fought secession to the bitter end Lincoln remained victorious in his attempts.


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