1864 National Union National Convention

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The 1864 National Union National Convention was the United States presidential nominating conventions of the National Union Party, which was a name temporarily adopted by the main faction of the Republican Party in a coalition with some War Democrats that year.

The party name was created in May 1864, during the American Civil War, ahead of the 1864 presidential election, in which President Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, was running for reelection.

The Radical Republicans, a hard-line faction within Lincoln's own party, held the belief that Lincoln was incompetent and therefore could not be re-elected and had already formed a party called the Radical Democracy Party,[1] for which a few hundred delegates had convened in Cleveland, Ohio on May 31, 1864. They eventually nominated John C. Frémont, who had been the Republicans' first presidential nominee during the 1856 election.

Republicans loyal to Lincoln created a new name for their party in convention at Baltimore, Maryland during the first week in June 1864, in order to accommodate the War Democrats who supported the war and wished to separate themselves from the Copperheads. The convention dropped then-Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, a Radical Republican from the ticket, and chose War Democrat Andrew Johnson as Lincoln's running mate. The National Unionists hoped that the new party and the Lincoln-Johnson ticket would stress the national character of the war.

In keeping with the tradition of the time, Lincoln did not attend the convention. On hearing the news of his re-nomination, he wrote on June 9, 1864:

I am very grateful for the renewed confidence which has been accorded to me, both by the convention and by the National [Union] League. I am not insensible at all to the personal compliment there is in this; yet I do not allow myself to believe that any but a small portion of it is to be appropriated as a personal compliment. The convention and the nation, I am assured, are alike animated by a higher view of the interests of the country for the present and the great future, and that part I am entitled to appropriate as a compliment is only that part which I may lay hold of as being the opinion of the convention and of the League, that I am not entirely unworthy to be instructed with the place I have occupied for the last three years. I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded, in this connection, of a story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion once that 'it was not best to swap horses when crossing streams.'

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1864: Lincoln v. McCVlellan". HarpWeek: Explore History. Retrieved 2010-05-31.