Research Was National Union Party sleight of hand necessary?

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In 1864 Lincoln runs as National Union Party instead of as a Republican. Apparently the Radical Republicans had alienated many Americans such as the Union Party and the war Democrats to a point they would not vote for a Republican at all.

The switch to me seems rather transparent........but without it would Lincoln have been reelected? Was it really necessary?
 
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OpnCoronet

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As a campaign strategy, the answer is probably Yes. Lincoln was a canny politicians and he thought it necessary, so I would not disagree with his judgement at this late date.

As a matter of national policy, the Union wr effort must be seen as a unified effort for Reunion. The Democratic party must become proven to be a party of disloyalty and treason, if Reunion was to be accomplished after its military phase was completed.
 

jackt62

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The National Union Party was of course, simply a facade for the Republican party in 1864, but Lincoln and his colleagues were shrewd enough to know that perception can be more important than reality. My guess is that Lincoln would still have won the election if the party designation remained Republican; but more crucial to his re-election was the selection of Andrew Johnson, who as a "War Democrat" helped to take some of the wind out of McClellan's sails.
 
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As a campaign strategy, the answer is probably Yes. Lincoln was a canny politicians and he thought it necessary, so I would not disagree with his judgement at this late date.

As a matter of national policy, the Union wr effort must be seen as a unified effort for Reunion. The Democratic party must become proven to be a party of disloyalty and treason, if Reunion was to be accomplished after its military phase was completed.
Not sure what is meant by "the Democratic Party must become proven to be a party of disloyalty and treason"

Is that to suggest 45% of the United States voters in 1864 were somehow disloyal or treasonous as they had voted Democratic?
 

OpnCoronet

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Not sure what is meant by "the Democratic Party must become proven to be a party of disloyalty and treason"

Is that to suggest 45% of the United States voters in 1864 were somehow disloyal or treasonous as they had voted Democratic?


Sorry, my mistake, I should have said the Democratic Party must not be seen as a party of ...

Lincoln was giving Democratic voters and leaders, a fig leaf behind which they could vote for Lincoln without seeming to vote Republican. But I think it went much deeper, the war was obviously won and it must be seen, or at least arguable, that all segments of Norther society, excluding the usual fringe elements, even democrats. were in the war for Reunion.

The Democratic voters would not be shown as being part of disloyalty or treason as many of their party leadership seemed to be.
 
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Not sure if being opposed to a war, for whatever reason, is treasonous or disloyal if within the law.

Every US war in my lifetime has had political detractors, and such terms for them are seldom used. And honestly, if anything I could understand a anti war sentiment more in the ACW then foreign conflicts, as it's killing your own people and often extended families.
 
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wausaubob

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Since Johnson was not from New York, it is difficult to see how they thought this was going to help in that all important state. Seward was the logical VP, but he already had a better job. And Seward was probably too narrow to allow one of the Blairs to take the VP role, which would have been logical in Missouri.
 

NedBaldwin

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In 1864 Lincoln runs as National Union Party instead of as a Republican. Apparently the Radical Republicans had alienated many Americans such as the Union Party and the war Democrats to a point they would not vote for a Republican at all.

The switch to me seems rather transparent........but without it would Lincoln have been reelected? Was it really necessary?
Not necessary but effective in giving Democrats who favored the war effort a platform that wasn’t called Republican. The result was Andrew Johnson on the ticket and the support of prominent democrats like Reverdy Johnson (no relation) and John Dix
 

OpnCoronet

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The switch to me seems rather transparent........but without it would Lincoln have been reelected? Was it really necessary?



In point of fact it was probably not needed to win the election, if that was all there was to it.

The war was to all intents an purposes over, but Reunion lay ahead and Lincoln, as I have noted, could better deal with the political fight ahead, if he had evidence that his election had support in all spectrums of Northern political electorate.

Although a political ploy, of a sort, but in the end not so much to win the election as to win the peace. Admittedly winning the election was certainly a part of it.
 
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In point of fact it was probably not needed to win the election, if that was all there was to it.

The war was to all intents an purposes over, but Reunion lay ahead and Lincoln, as I have noted, could better deal with the political fight ahead, if he had evidence that his election had support in all spectrums of Northern political electorate.

Although a political ploy, of a sort, but in the end not so much to win the election as to win the peace. Admittedly winning the election was certainly a part of it.
Not seeing how it would contribute to winning the peace..........it was supposed to help win the election by getting a few votes from people who equated Radical Republicans with all of the Republican party and never would bring themselves to vote republican....

Winning the peace wouldn't happen until the Radical Republicans were overthrown in 1870's, don't see where National Union Party had much to do with that.
 

John Hartwell

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Apparently the Radical Republicans had alienated many Americans such as the Union Party and the war Democrats to a point they would not vote for a Republican at all.
Note that most of those "Radical Republicans" were reelected in 1864, and radical power in Congress was not weakened, but rather strengthened. Voters seem not to have been all that "alienated."
 
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Note that most of those "Radical Republicans" were reelected in 1864, and radical power in Congress was not weakened, but rather strengthened. Voters seem not to have been all that "alienated."
Yet and Lincoln and his advisors thought it necessary, perhaps the fall of Atlanta did influence election
 

OpnCoronet

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Not seeing how it would contribute to winning the peace..........it was supposed to help win the election by getting a few votes from people who equated Radical Republicans with all of the Republican party and never would bring themselves to vote republican....

Winning the peace wouldn't happen until the Radical Republicans were overthrown in 1870's, don't see where National Union Party had much


The mind of Lincoln was often too subtle for the avg. of the politicians and observers of his time.

As I noted in one of my posts, winning the election was obviously one of its intents. But, The war was won by the time of the election , observable to all but the most obtuse. Reunion would obviously be the next big trial of Lincolns administration, and negotiating with hardline secessionists he wanted to go into the fray, with evidence that the War For Reunion enjoyed support from All important segments of the Northern Electorate .... Even Democrats, i.e., voters not party leaders.
to do with that
 
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Note that most of those "Radical Republicans" were reelected in 1864, and radical power in Congress was not weakened, but rather strengthened. Voters seem not to have been all that "alienated."
Apples to oranges.....for a senator or representitive to get elected they only have to appeal to the local constitutency. A state heavy one party will likely elect more of that party over time.

However Lincoln and his advisors were looking nationally, so looking to improve performance in divided swing states and democrat leaning states.
 

Carronade

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The mind of Lincoln was often too subtle for the avg. of the politicians and observers of his time.

As I noted in one of my posts, winning the election was obviously one of its intents. But, The war was won by the time of the election , observable to all but the most obtuse. Reunion would obviously be the next big trial of Lincolns administration, and negotiating with hardline secessionists he wanted to go into the fray, with evidence that the War For Reunion enjoyed support from All important segments of the Northern Electorate .... Even Democrats, i.e., voters not party leaders.

Victory seemed near certain by November, but that was hardly the case when the National Union party was formed. Its convention was in June, so Lincoln and his team had presumably been considering it for some time before. This was before Union victories at Mobile Bay, Atlanta, Shenandoah, etc., while the Overland campaign was producing huge casualty lists with results not yet certain. Two months after being re-nominated, Lincoln would write his depressing memorandum anticipating that his administration would probably not be reelected. So while he likely appreciated that a national unity government would help postwar reconciliation, his main concern had to be simply winning the war.
 

OpnCoronet

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Victory seemed near certain by November, but that was hardly the case when the National Union party was formed. Its convention was in June, so Lincoln and his team had presumably been considering it for some time before. This was before Union victories at Mobile Bay, Atlanta, Shenandoah, etc., while the Overland campaign was producing huge casualty lists with results not yet certain. Two months after being re-nominated, Lincoln would write his depressing memorandum anticipating that his administration would probably not be reelected. So while he likely appreciated that a national unity government would help postwar reconciliation, his main concern had to be simply winning the war.


I do not deny that winning the election was an important consideration, I merely note that there were others also. Lincoln was a canny politician and always tried to take the long view of his plans.
 

John S. Carter

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In 1864 Lincoln runs as National Union Party instead of as a Republican. Apparently the Radical Republicans had alienated many Americans such as the Union Party and the war Democrats to a point they would not vote for a Republican at all.

The switch to me seems rather transparent........but without it would Lincoln have been reelected? Was it really necessary?
Could it have been that Lincoln attempted to separate from the Radical elements of the Republican party of the last ten year. Was this party's a moderate platform? What was its stand as to return of the rebel states?. Andrew Johnson would not help him as to show that this was all including party. His politics were they similar to Lincoln's? .First time that a third party won the Presidency. How effective was it in the Congressional elections?. If not for the soldiers Lincoln might not have been elected. Amazing how they were able to git so many ballots out to them in the middle of war. Just the work of a skill political system lead by a politician who realized that he best not loose but could.
 
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