In 1864, The United States was involved in the Civil War. The Confederacy had proven to be a worthy adversary, and they continued to take the fight to the Union. However, behind the scenes, they were struggling to reinforce their army and even begun recruiting slaves to enlist. This was not a problem for the Union as they could reinforce their losses as quickly as they lost them.
Abraham Lincoln had been unable to find a sufficient leader to fight Robert E. Lee. One of the Generals that he fired was George McClellan, who became his opponent in the Presidential Election of 1864.
Re-election for Lincoln was in doubt due to the state of the war at the beginning of his campaign.
- Republicans: Abraham Lincoln and Vice President Andrew Johnson
- Democrats: George McClellan and Vice President George Pendleton
Republicans: The primary issue in the Presidential Election of 1864 was how to finish the war. Lincoln believed that they needed a total surrender and emancipation of the slaves, and the Confederacy should not be recognized.
Democrats: It was unclear what the Democrats were running on. The party was split. McClellan campaigned on ending the war and recognizing the Confederacy. This split the Democrats down the middle.
The Presidential Election of 1864 had many twists and turns.
Abraham Lincoln did not think he could win re-election due to all the casualties that had been inflicted on the Union Army. The battle of Cold Harbor was an example of a loss that came at a high price.
However, the Union had Robert E. Lee in a stranglehold, and it was only a matter of time before he would be unable to do any more. His best opportunity to end the war was for George McClellan to win the election.
John C. Fremont represented the radical Democrats who wanted more equality for the slaves as he believed Abraham Lincoln did not go far enough. At the Democratic Convention, he became aware that the Democrats wanted to end the war and recognize the Confederacy, to which he and his followers pulled out and supported Lincoln.
General Sherman then won the Battle of Atlanta, which encouraged the country that the war was nearing its end. This catapulted Abraham Lincoln to a landslide victory.
George McClellan only won three states, while Lincoln swept the rest in a landslide. This was a pleasant surprise for Abraham Lincoln, who believed he would not win at the beginning of the election.
However, his rise in popularity also led to a rise in hatred towards him, and it would come to a head at the Ford Theatre shortly after the election was over.