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Lot 225

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Description: Abraham Lincoln, Loser of Southern Indiana Township's 1864 Presidential Election Results

Two documents relating to the November 8, 1864 presidential election, including a poll book and tally paper, from Bradford, Indiana. The election documents were filed in the clerk's office on November 10, 1864. The partly printed and partly handwritten documents are in very good to near fine condition. With expected paper folds and isolated weathering and/or stains.

The lot includes:

1. 12pp poll book from Bradford, Indiana, listing 214 male voters eligible to participate in the November 8, 1864 presidential election. The bound ledger pages, on blue lined and red ruled cream paper, has a preprinted heading reading:

"A Poll Book of an Annual Election held at the town of Bradford in Morgan Township, Harrison County, and State of Indiana, on the 8th of November, 1864, for the Election of thirteen Electors for President and Vice=President of the United States…"

Docketed on the last page. There are some blank pages found in the middle of the booklet between the voters' names and the penultimate page, which provides a summary.  With intact threaded binding. 8.5" x 14.125".

Entries include the names of many members of extended families, and relatives of the 2 clerks, 2 judges, and the local inspector who oversaw the recording of the election results.

2. 1p tally paper on a large sheet of ruled blue paper measuring 17.25" x 22.25". Docketed verso. The sheet provides a visual overview of the election results by the inclusion of tally marks.

Bradford, Indiana, an unincorporated community platted in 1838, is located near the southern border of Indiana and Kentucky. The town's geography probably goes far in explaining its surprising 1864 election results: 157 votes for George B. McClellan vs. 59 votes for Abraham Lincoln!

Only 27% of Bradford's citizens voted for President Lincoln. These are similar returns to those of New Salisbury, Indiana, a nearby community, whose 1864 poll book is in the collection of the Indiana Historical Society.  Bradford is located only 30 miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky, past the state lines and the Ohio River, and Kentucky was only one of two states (including New Jersey) that McClellan won in 1864.

Southern Indiana townships like Bradford might have gone to McClellan, but Indiana went to incumbent candidate Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln received 53.6% of the popular vote in Indiana, or approximately 280,000 votes statewide, giving him all 13 state electors. This reflected national returns, where Lincoln tipped the scales at a 55% popular vote nationwide.

Indiana was vital to securing Lincoln's reelection. It was only possible through the efforts of the Governor of Indiana, Oliver P. Morton, and those of U.S. Army commanders like William T. Sherman, who could temporarily release soldiers to vote in the election. Lincoln understood the impact winning Indiana would have on his reelection bid, and on the course of the Civil War in general. He wrote Sherman: “… the loss of it [Indiana] … would go far towards losing the whole Union cause. The bad effect upon the November election, and especially giving the State Government to those who oppose the war in every possible way, is too much to risk if it can possibly be avoided …" Not only did President Lincoln win Indiana in early November, but the entire Midwestern block.

Lincoln defeated McClellan 212 Electoral College Votes to 21, and 55% of the popular vote to 45%. Up until the summer of 1864, President Lincoln was confident that he would lose reelection. Yet Union victories in Atlanta and Cedar Creek, as well as impressive soldier voting turnout, ensured Abe's victory despite war fatigue.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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August 19, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

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