1868

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

OVERVIEWS & CHRONOLOGIES: 1868

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

OVERVIEW

Election Year: 1868

Election Day Date: November 3, 1868

Winning Ticket: Winning Ticket: Ulysses Grant (46, Methodist), Schuyler Colfax (45) Republican 3,012,833  52.66% 214 72.8%

Losing Ticket(s):

  • Horatio Seymour (58, Protestant), Francis Blair, Jr. (47), Democratic 2,703,249  47.34% 80 27.2%
  • Other (+) – – 46 0.00% 0 0.0%

Voter Turnout: 78.1%

Incumbent President and Vice President on Election Day: Andrew Johnson, None, Union, 1865-1869

Population: 1868: 37,885,000

Nominal GDP (billions of dollars): $8.15 Real GDP (billions of 2005 dollars): $106.13
GDP Deflator (index 2005=100%) 7.67 Nominal GDP per capita (current dollars): $215 Real GDP per capita (year 2005 dollars): $2,801

Number of Daily Newspapers: 574 (1870)

Average Daily Circulation: 2,601,547 (1870)

Method of Choosing Electors: Popular Vote (most General Ticket/winner take all)

Newly Reconstructed state of Florida appointed its electors; the state was readmitted to the Union too late to hold elections

Method of Choosing Nominees:

Central Issues (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Reconstruction (issue in north and south)
  • Congressional Radical Republicans opposed Andrew Johnson’s moderate approach to Reconstruction and preferred harsh legislation and military occupation.
  • Franchise for African Americans in the South.
  • Andrew Johnson’s attempted impeachment by Radical Republicans in Congress, which he escaped by one Senate vote.

Leading Candidates (Nomination/Primaries):

Republican Party candidate:

  • Ulysses S. Grant, Commanding General of the U.S. Army (Illinois)

Democratic Party candidates:

  • Horatio Seymour, former U.S. governor of New York
  • George H. Pendleton, former U.S. representative and 1864 vice-presidential nominee (Ohio)
  • Thomas A. Hendricks, U.S. senator (Indiana)
  • Winfield S. Hancock, U.S. Army major general (Pennsylvania)
  • Andrew Johnson, President of the United States (Tennessee)
  • Sanford E. Church, former Lieutenant Governor of New York
  • Asa Packer, former U.S. representative (Pennsylvania)
  • James E. English, governor of Connecticut
  • Joel Parker, former governor of New Jersey
  • James R. Doolittle, U.S. senator (Wisconsin)
  • Stephen J. Field, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice (California)
  • Francis P. Blair, former U.S. representative (Missouri)
  • John T. Hoffman, New York City Mayor (New York)
  • Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the United States (Ohio)

Main Controversies (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Reconstruction;
  • Despite his impeachment, Johnson hoped to be nominated and elected in his own right as a Democrat, but received minimal party support.

Campaign Innovations (Nomination/Primaries):

Major Personalities (Nomination/Primaries):

Ben Wade (Radical, Ohio); George H. Pendleton; James O. Broadhead

Turning Points (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Republican Party: Dropped the “Union Party” label; Ulysses S. Grant announced he was a Republican; seek a  Radical Republican Vice Presidential candidate
  • Democratic Party: Early frontrunner George H. Pendleton led the first 15 ballots, but no candidate received a majority of delegate support.  On the 4th ballot the convention chairman Horatio Seymour was given 9 votes, the momentum increased and on the 22nd ballot Seymour was unanimously nominated as the compromise candidate, despite his objections and insistence he would not accept the nomination.
  • “Committee of One Hundred” pushed the candidacy of Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase
  • Blair  had recently written to Colonel James O. Broadhead suggesting that Reconstruction laws should be nullified. This inflammatory “Broadhead Letter” helped secure Blair’s nomination.

Conventions (Dates & Locations):

  • Republican National Convention: May 20-21, 1868, Crosby’s Opera House; Chicago, 1st ballot, Ulysses S. Grant (Illinois), Schuyler Colfax (Indiana)
  • Democratic National Convention: July 4-9, 1868, Tammany Hall; New York Horatio Seymour (New York), 22nd ballot, Horatio Seymour (New York), Francis P. Blair, Jr. (Missouri)

Convention Turning Points:

Republican National Convention:

  • Ulysses S. Grant only nominee placed on the ballot; unanimous roll call vote
  • Eleven Vice Presidential candidates; four top contenders were Senator Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio, Governor Reuben E. Fenton of New York, Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax of Indiana, and Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts.
  • Colfax won the nomination on the sixth ballot

Democratic National Convention:

  • Party still fractured from the Civil War
  • President Andrew Johnson, a War Democrat attempted to unify the party

Number of Ballots to Choose Nominees:

Republican Party Nomination

Presidential 1st ballot

  • Ulysses S. Grant 650

Vice Presidential 5th after shifts ballot

  • Schuyler Colfax 115 145 165 186 226 541
  • Benjamin Wade 147 170 178 206 207 38
  • Reuben E. Fenton 126 144 139 144 139 69
  • Henry Wilson 119 114 101 87 56 0
  • Andrew G. Curtin 51 45 40 0 0 0
  • Hannibal Hamlin 28 30 25 25 20 0
  • James Speed 22 0 0 0 0 0
  • James Harlan 16 0 0 0 0 0
  • John A.J. Creswell 14 0 0 0 0 0
  • Samuel C. Pomeroy 6 0 0 0 0 0
  • William D. Kelley 4 0 0 0 0 0

Democratic Party Nomination

Presidential 22nd after shifts ballot

  • Horatio Seymour 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 22 317
  • George H. Pendleton 105 104 119.5 118.5 122 122.5 137.5 156.5 144 147.5 144.5 145.5 134.5 130 129.5 107.5 70.5 56.5 0 0 0 0 0
  • Thomas A. Hendricks 2.5 2 9.5 11.5 19.5 30 39.5 75 80.5 82.5 88 89 81 84.5 82.5 70.5 80 87 107.5 121 132 145.5 0
  • Winfield Scott Hancock 33.5 40.5 45.5 43.5 46 47 42.5 28 34.5 34 32.5 30 48.5 56 79.5 113.5 137.5 144.5 135.5 142.5 135.5 103.5 0
  • Andrew Johnson 65 52 34.5 32 24 21 12.5 6 5.5 6 5.5 4.5 4.5 0 5.5 5.5 6 10 0 0 5 4 0
  • Sanford E. Church 34 33 33 33 33 33 33 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  • Asa Packer 26 26 26 26 27 27 26 26 26.5 27.5 26 26 26 26 0 0 0 0 22 0 0 0 0
  • James E. English 16 12.5 7.5 7.5 7 6 6 6 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 16 19 7 0
  • Joel Parker 13 15.5 13 13 13 13 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 3.5 0 0 0 0 0
  • James R. Doolittle 13 12.5 12 12 15 12 12 12 12 12 12.5 12.5 13 13 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 4 0 Reverdy Johnson 8.5 8 11 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  • Francis Preston Blair 0.5 10.5 4.5 2 9.5 5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0 0 0 0 0 13.5 13 0 0 0
  • Thomas Ewing 0 0.5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  • John Q. Adams 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  • Salmon P. Chase 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 0.5 0 0 0 0.5 0.5 0.5 0 4 0 0
  • George B. McClellan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 0 0
  • Franklin Pierce 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  • John T. Hoffman 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 0 0 0.5 0 0
  • Stephen J. Field 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 9 8 0 0
  • Thomas H. Seymour 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2 0 0 0

Vice Presidential 1st ballot

  • Francis Preston Blair 317

Nominating Speech Speakers (President):

Democratic National Convention: The chairman of the Ohio delegation: “At the unanimous request and demand of the delegation I place Horatio Seymour in nomination with twenty-one votes-against his inclination, but no longer against his honor.”

Party Platform/Issues:

Republican Party:

  • Reconstruction (issue in north and south); Supports Reconstruction legislation and military occupation; Franchise for African Americans in the South; Black Suffrage in the North at each state’s discretion; Emphasize granting political rights to the freedmen as the basis for the foundation of state Republican Parties in the conquered South

Democratic Party:

  • Declaration of the Reconstruction Act as unconstitutional: “subjected ten States, in time of profound peace, to military despotism and negro supremacy.”

General Election Controversies/Issues:

  • Reconstruction (issue in north and south)
  • Seymour supported a Reconstruction policy similar to Abraham Lincoln and President Andrew Johnson’s peaceful reconciliation with the Southern states
  • Grant supported the Radical Republicans’ Reconstruction plans in Congress
  • “The Colored Voter: a Sober Appeal to His Interest and His Sober Reason,” article in Nashville, TN, paper

Major Personalities (General Election): Henry Ward Beecher;

Campaign Tactics: Mud-slinging

  • Republican Party:
  • Grant did not actively campaign. Grant took one trip to Denver with Generals William T. Sherman and Philip Sheridan. Grant did not speak, just waved to the public at the whistle stops.
  • The remaining time, Grant received well-wishers and supporters at his home in Galena, Illinois, forerunner to the “front-porch” campaigns.
  • When the fall state elections went overwhelmingly Republican, Democratic party leaders convinced their nominee, Horatio Seymour, to go on a campaign tour. He delivered virtually the same partisan speech at cities from Buffalo south to Philadelphia, then west to Chicago.
  • Waved the “Bloody Shirt” especially since as Governor of New York Seymour called New York City draft rioters as “My friends.” Accused Seymour and the Democrats of being traitors to the Union by being soft towards the South, ties to Peace Democrats. Radical Republicans attacked Seymour’s character, insanity, health. Claimed Frank Blair wanted to start another Civil War and the assassination of Ulysses Grant.
  • Democratic Party:
  • Seymour, a great orator, reluctantly agreed to stump. He did not indulge in violence, slander, or fraud; gave the same partisan speech throughout his tour commencing at Buffalo, then Philadelphia, ending in Chicago.
  • The party accused Grant of drunkenness and stupidity, Schuyler Colfax as mean and anti-Catholic since he had been briefly a member of the Know-Nothing party.
  • The partisan press attacked Seymour’s character. New York Post: “childless, scheming, not studious, selfish, stealthy, earnest of power, feeble, insincere, timid, closefisted, inept, too weak to be enterprising.” The Hartford Post called Seymour “almost as much of a corpse” as the late former President James Buchanan.

Turning Points (General Election):  

  • In October, Republicans still feared that the Democrats with Seymour (the “man of charity and peace”) could win against their candidate the warrior and hero Grant. Radical Republicans and the partisan press cranked up their attacks on Seymour
  • While Republicans appealed for black votes, there was violence and intimidation, by the Ku Klux Klan and others, against African-Americans in the South

Popular Campaign Slogans:

Republican:

  • “Let Us Have Peace.”
  • “We saved the Union in the Field – Let Us Preserve it at the Ballot Box.”
  • “In Union is Peace.”
  • “Liberty and Loyalty/Justice and Public Safety.”
  • “Grant takes his cigar – Seymour takes the stump.”

Democrat:

  • “Constitution and Union: One currency for the Government and People.”
  • “Peace, Union and Constitutional Government.”
  • “The Lively Life of U.S.G, H.U.G., and U.H.G. the Political Triplets.”
  • [New York World]: “SUBLIME SAMBO – Suffrage for Everybody except Southern white men.”
  • “SEYMOUR/BLAIR: OUR MOTTO: THIS IS A WHITE MAN’S COUNTRY, LET WHITE MEN RULE.”
  • “Seymour for President – No Dummy for Us.”
  • “Grant the Drunkard” “Grant the Butcher,” “Grant the Speculator,” “Grant talks peace but makes war.”

Campaign Songs:

  • Republican: “Grant, Grant, Grant”; “We’ll fight it out There, on the Old Union Line”; “Grant’s Campaign March”; “And if asked what state he hails from/This our sole reply shall be/ ‘From near Appomattox Court House/With its famous apple tree”;
  • Democratic: “Seymour, Blair and Victory!” “I am Captain Grant of the Black Marines/ The stupidest man that ever was seen.”

Influential Campaign Appeals or Ads:

  • Tanner Clubs – emphasizing Grant’s humble origins
  • Grant traveled with Generals William T. Sherman and General Philip Sheridan to Denver, hailing crowds but not speaking along the way

Defining Quotation (Winning Candidate):

  • “Peace and universal prosperity, its successor, with economy of administration, will lighten the burden of taxation while it constantly reduces the national debt. Let us have peace.” Ulysses S. Grant letter accepting the Republican nomination for president

Defining Quotation (Losing Candidate):

  • “I must not be nominated by this Convention, as I could not accept the nomination if tendered. My own inclination prompted me to decline at the outset; my honor compels me to do so now. It is impossible, consistently with my position, to allow my name to be mentioned in this Convention against my protest. The clerk will proceed with the call.” Horatio Seymour at the DNC
  • “I have no terms in which to tell of my regret that my name has been brought before this convention. God knows that my life and all that I value most I would give for the good of my country, which I believe to be identified with that of the Democratic party…” “Take the nomination, then!” cried someone from the floor. “..but when I said that I could not be a candidate, I mean it! I could not receive the nomination without placing not only myself but the Democratic party in a false position. God bless you for your kindness to me, but your candidate I cannot be.” Horatio Seymour at the DNC
  • “I was born a states’ rights Democrat and I shall die one!” Andrew Johnson

Campaign Quotations:

  • “…A man who, through all the years of 1860 to 1868, studies how to help southern treason without incurring the risks and pains of overt courageous treasonable acts.” Henry Ward Beecher

Further Reading:

  • William S. McFeely, Grant: A Biography (1981).

Lasting Legacy of Campaign:

  • First presidential election during Reconstruction
  • Texas, Mississippi, Virginia were still not readmitted to the Union and were not allowed to vote
  • Close popular vote between Seymour and Grants despite Grant’s popularity in the North. Freed blacks were enfranchised while some Southern whites in the former Confederate states were disenfranchised. If more white men in the South could have voted the election might have been closer to a tie.
  • 500,000 blacks voted for the first time, mostly for Grant and the Republicans; Seymour captured a majority of the white vote.
  • Committed to equality and well aware of its political benefits, the Republicans passed the Fifteenth Amendment (ratified in 1870) claiming “the right to vote could not be denied or abridged on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”

CHRONOLOGY

  • March 3, 1865: Congress creates the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, Freedmen’s Bureau
  • April 9, 1865: Confederate General Robert E Lee surrenders at Appomattox Court House, Virginia to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant ending the Civil War.
  • April 14, 1865: (10:15 pm) John Wilkes Booth shoots President Lincoln at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
  • April 15, 1865: (7:22 am) Abraham Lincoln dies in the home of William Petersen; Andrew Johnson succeeds as President.
  • May 29, 1865: President Andrew Johnson announces his Reconstruction Plan to allow Southern states back into the Union; white Southerners who take loyalty oath will regain property below $20,000; North Carolina Reconstruction plan, provisional governors and new constitutions abolishing slavery, and renouncing secession. Reconstruction becomes an issue in north and south
  • June 13, 1865: Johnson begins appointing provisional governors, William L. Sharkey for Mississippi first appointed.
  • December 12, 1865: Johnson begins handing over Southern states to elected Governors, mostly former Confederates, starts with governorship of Mississippi.
  • December 24, 1865: Six Confederate veterans from Pulaski, Tennessee form the  Ku Klux Klan.
  • March 27, 1866: President Johnson’s vetoes Civil Rights Act of 1866.
  • April 6, 1866: Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1866.
  • May 1, 1866: Memphis Race Riot
  • June 19, 1866: Congress passes the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • July 30, 1866: New Orleans Race Riot, 25 white delegates and 200 black supporters assemble in New Orleans for the constitutional convention, fight erupts between supporters and dissenters outside the convention.
  • July 24, 1866: Tennessee, first former Confederate state readmitted to the Union
  • August 28 to September 15, 1866: President Andrew Johnson and administration official embark on a campaign speaking tour across the nation to build support for Johnson’s Reconstruction policies and the upcoming mid term election.
  • November, 1866: Radical Republicans win big, Republican possess at than two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress.
  • March 1867: Congresses passes Reconstruction Acts, which President Johnson vetoes.
  • March 2, 1867: Congress passes the First Reconstruction Act, after Johnson’s veto; Army Appropriations Act; Tenure of Office Act, to ensure Johnson could not remove Secretary of War Edwin Stanton the only Radical Republican in the cabinet.
  • March 23, 1867: Johnson vetoes the Second Reconstruction Act; Congress overrides Johnson’s veto.
  • July 19, 1867: Johnson vetoes the Third Reconstruction Act; Congress overrides Johnson’s veto.
  • August 12, 1867: Johnson temporarily removes Secretary of War Stanton and appoints Ulysses S. Grant, ad interim secretary of war.
  • January 13, 1868: Congress refuses to agree to Johnson’s removal of Edwin Stanton.
  • February 21, 1868: President Johnson removes Stanton as secretary of war permanently and replaces him with Adjutant-General Lorenzo Thomas.
  • February 24, 1868: Radical Republicans in Congress vote to impeach Andrew Johnson. House of Representatives vote 126 to 47.
  • March 4, 1868: Congress appoints seven managers to present the eleven articles of impeachment, predominately relating to Stanton’s removal.
  • March 5, 1868: President Johnson’s Senate removal trial begins Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presides.
  • Republican Party drops the “Union Party” label; Ulysses S. Grant announces he is  a Republican; seeks a Radical Republican Vice Presidential candidate
  • Despite his impeachment, Johnson hopes to be nominated and elected in his own right as a Democrat, but receives minimal party support.
  • May 16, 1868: Senate votes 35-19 in favor of the last article of impeachment.
  • May 20-21, 1868: Republican National Convention convenes at Crosby’s Opera House, Chicago, Illinois. Convention nominates on 1st ballot, Ulysses S. Grant (Illinois) for President, and Schuyler Colfax (Indiana) for Vice President. Ulysses S. Grant is the only nominee placed on the ballot; unanimous roll call vote; Eleven Vice Presidential candidates; Colfax wins the nomination on the sixth ballot.
  • May 26, 1868: Senate votes 35-19 on two other articles of impeachment; Senate drops the case, did not believe there was enough votes for a conviction.
  • June 1868: Congress readmits senators and representatives from seven former Confederates states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
  • June 30, 1868: Blair writes to Colonel James O. Broadhead suggesting that Reconstruction laws should be nullified. This inflammatory “Broadhead Letter” helped secure Blair’s nomination.
  • Nashville, Tennessee, paper publishes “The Colored Voter: a Sober Appeal to His Interest and His Sober Reason.”
  • July 4-9, 1868: Democratic National Convention convenes at Tammany Hall; New York Horatio Seymour (New York) serves as chairman. The Convention nominates on 22nd ballot, Horatio Seymour (New York) for President, and Francis P. Blair, Jr. (Missouri) for Vice President. Party is still fractured from the Civil War. President Andrew Johnson a War Democrat attempts to unify the party. Early frontrunner George H. Pendleton leads on the first 15 ballots, but no candidate receives a majority of delegate support. On the 4th ballot the convention chairman Horatio Seymour was given 9 votes, the momentum increased and on the 22nd ballot Seymour is unanimously nominated as the compromise candidate, despite his objections and insistence he would not accept the nomination.  “Committee of One Hundred” pushes the candidacy of Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase.
  • July 28, 1868: Three-fourths of states ratify the Fourteenth Amendment securing citizenship for black Americans.
  • Seymour, a great orator, reluctantly agrees to stump. He does not indulge in violence, slander, or fraud; the party accuses Grant of drunkenness and stupidity.
  • New York Post attacks Seymour as “childless, scheming, not studious, selfish, stealthy, earnest of power, feeble, insincere, timid, closefisted, inept, too weak to be enterprising.”
  • The Hartford Post calls Seymour “almost as much of a corpse” as the late former President James Buchanan.
  • October 1868: Republicans still fear that the Democrats with Seymour (the “man of charity and peace”) could win against their candidate the warrior and hero Grant. Radical Republicans and the partisan press cranks up their attacks on Seymour
  • While Republicans appeal for black votes, there is violence and intimidation, by the Ku Klux Klan and others, against African-Americans in the South
  • November 3, 1868: Election Day, Republicans Ulysses Grant is elected President, and Schuyler Colfax is elected Vice President.
  • December 2, 1868: Presidential Electors cast their electoral votes in their state capitals.
  • February 26, 1869: Republican Congress proposes the Fifteenth Amendment.
  • February 3, 1870: The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified claiming “the right to vote could not be denied or abridged on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”
  • February 10, 1869: Joint session of Congress assembles and counts the electoral vote, Louisiana’s votes are contested, but Congress overrides with the Senate concurring.
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