November 8, 1864

Abraham Lincoln was elected to a second term as president, with 212 of 233 electoral votes and 55 percent of the popular vote. The 1864 presidential election was one of the most critical in American history. At stake was whether the war would end in unconditional surrender or a negotiated settlement. Deeply anxious about the election’s outcome, Republicans and pro-war Democrats formed the National Union Party, which re-nominated Lincoln and selected Andrew Johnson for vice president. The Democrats nominated General George B. McClellan, who opposed the Emancipation Proclamation and ran on a platform that condemned Lincoln for “four years of failure” and called for a negotiated end to the war. Lincoln beat McClellan in a resounding victory.

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