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1864 March 5: A Look at Political Matters and the 1864 Election

March 7, 2014

The following articles come from The Prescott Journal and the The Polk County Press of March 5, 1864.  They relate, either directly or indirectly, to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln.

Note: We see several words in these articles that are not spelled the way we would spell them today, such as defence instead of defense, and partizan instead of partisan.  These are not typographical errors but rather evidence that spellings were not totally codified yet in the 1860s.

From The Polk County Press:

A Look at Political Matters.

It is always more pleasant to be occupied in one’s own affairs than to be looking upon the affairs of others.  But sometimes for reasons connected with our own self-defence we must look in upon the affairs of our neighbors.

The Democratic party, during the present Administration, has held itself in the attitude of an opposition party.  It is very natural, then, that we should inquire on what ground this opposition rests.  And here we are troubled to find out what their creed, platform or purpose of action really is.  There is scarcely anything the Union man or Republicans have done, which a portion of the Democrats have not favored or approved, either before or after its commission, and certainly no important act has been performed or public measure adopted which they have not repudiated or condemned.  Formerly the Democrats had a well defined platform embracing various principles both of domestic and of practical economy, of foreign policy and also of National, State and Individual rights.  But under the new emergencies and complications which have arisen, we find no clear and fixed principles adopted by the whole party, and proclaimed to the world in resolutions and addresses, maintained by the press, or made universally practical at the ballot box.  In our State they advocate one set of principles, and in another, something very different or opposite.  Now they are opposed to the plans of the President of the United States, (or as one of their leading journals, the “La Crosse Democrat” styles him, “the President of half of the United States,”) and where they are successfully carried out, and the Nation approves them, they attempt to steal the Administration’s thunder and declare that these are just what they have been hoping and striving for.

The Administration has moved so nearly in a line of discretion and patriotism, that the opposition have had a “hard road to travel,” unless they were willing to fall into the line and tread essentially the same path with the President.  Whenever they have tried to differ from the policy of the government on any of the great questions connected with the rebellion, they have truly shown their weakness and subjected themselves to public abuse.  This has been eminently true in the case of SEYMOUR and WOOD in New York, and VOORHEES and VALLANDIGHAM in the West, to say nothing of divers State politicians like RYAN, PALMER , & Co., and the long list of Border State men of a worse stamp.  [Horatio Seymour, Fernando Wood, Daniel W. Voorhees, Clement L. Vallandigham, Edward G. RyanHenry L. Palmer.]

But when the people went to the ballot box, they would not follow the lead of such inconsistent, unpatriotic men.  The masses of the Democrats are loyal men.  With only loyal leaders they would never have been suspected of anything else than loyalty.  But the pilots of the Old Democratic ship have well nigh wrecked her.  Multitudes are aware of this, and are leaving the sinking craft.  We do not see any safe refuge but in the Union boat.  There is room enough in the good old Union boat, come in and be safe with Uncle SAM and Father ABRAHAM [Abraham Lincoln].

The unreliable demagogues who have called themselves the Democratic party for the past three years, have been received with so little favor by the people of the North generally, that there can be but little doubt that they will be “left alone in their glory,” and the voters will go where their convictions of patriotism and duty carry them.  How apparent then, that there is room in this country at the present time, for but one party—that which supports the Administration and the war, which aims at the restoration of peace by putting down the rebellion and by the reconstruction of the rebel State governments on the basis of Freedom.  Our military and political affairs all seem to be shaping for such a result.  There are no political issues among loyal men which will warrant any separate organization while our natural interests are in their present condition.

But let the people re-elect President LINCOLN to the Presidency, as they did Mr. MADISON, as patriots and not as partizans, and the nation will be consolidated, strengthened and made more secure and really prosperous than ever before.  Hereafter our statesmen can judge whether there are radical and essential differences of opinion or diversities of interest, sufficient to warrant new party organizations.  At present, let us only recognize patriots and mere partizans, lovers of Freedom and a free country and the advocates of rebellion and slavery.  We cannot afford to stop to contend on minor or nonessential points while this great issue remains.

From The Prescott Journal:

Union State Convention.

A Union State Convention will be held at Madison, March 30th, for the purpose of electing delegates to the Union National Convention to be held at Baltimore, June 7th.  Each Assembly and Senatorial District is entitled to two delegates.

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Union Assembly District Convention.

A Convention for the Assembly District, comprising the counties of Pierce and St. Croix, will be held at River Falls on Saturday, the 19th day of March, 1864, at one o’clock P. M. for the purpose of electing three delegates to the Union State Convention, to be held at Madison, March 30, 1864.  Each county will be entitled to six delegates.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .   .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .  By order of Committee.

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Union County Convention.

A County Convention for the county of Pierce, will be held at the Council Room, in the city of Prescott, on Wednesday, the 16th day of March, 1864, at one o’clock P. M., for the purpose of electing six delegates to the Assembly District Convention to be held at River Falls on Saturday, the 19th day of March, 1864.  Each town will be entitled to the usual number of [d]elegates.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .   .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .  By order of Committee.

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The National Union Convention.

The National Union Convention for the nomination of President and Vice President, is called to meet at Baltimore on the 7th of June next.  The call is liberal and comprehensive, inviting the cooperation of all who are in favor of subduing the rebellion by force of arms.

We are exceedingly pleased that the committee formally adopted the name UNION PARTY.  In this sign we shall conquer.  The name “Republican” has no particular significance now.  The Chicago platform is a matter of history.  The issues on which it was framed have passed away.  Nobody now talks of Slavery in the Territories.  New issues have arisen.  New and grave problems present themselves for solution.  The feeling and sentiment of the North has been revolutionized in the past three years and it would be foolish in a great party to cling to a name suggestive of obsolete issues—a name which would prejudice against it thousands who agree with that party on the vital questions at issue.  The committee have done wisely, and Union men can stand shoulder to shoulder in the coming campaign.

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The Tribune on Mr. Lincoln’s Re-nomination.

The N. Y. Tribune has published a singular article on the re-nomination of Mr. Lincoln.

Speaking of Mr. Lincoln, it says :

“He is the first choice for the next Presidential term, by a large majority of those who have thus far supported his Administration and the War.”

Again it says :

“No doubt, a great majority of those who together triumphed as Unionists in the State elections of 1868, if required to vote for President tomorrow, would vote for Mr. Lincoln.”

But these admitted facts do not, according to the Tribune, show the wisdom of re-nominating Mr. Lincoln.  It says :

“But we dissent altogether from the deduction that Mr. Lincoln ought to be re-nominated because the loyal masses—not having begun seriously to think of the prospective Presidential contest—have not yet fixed upon some one else to succeed him in his high position.”

This is strange talk for the Tribune.  It is at variance with its life-long teachings.  The Tribune has always been the most democratic of all our leading papers.  It has always trusted in the people and believed that their conviction fairly expressed, should be fully obeyed.  But now it gravely tells us that the people do not know what they want.

It is not true that the people have not “begun seriously to think of the prospective Presidential contest.”  They have been thinking seriously of it for twelve months, and the almost unanimous conviction of the loyal masses is, that Mr. Lincoln should be retained in the place he has filled so well.  Honest, careful, unswerving, he has thus far successfully brought the ship of State through the storm of war—let us trust him to moor her in the secure haven of lasting peace.

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