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Lot 223

Abraham Lincoln Poll List from Central Illinois Shows Narrow Contest in His Home State. Rare!

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Abraham Lincoln Poll List from Central Illinois Shows Narrow Contest in His Home State. Rare!


Poll List from Central Illinois Shows Narrow Contest for Lincoln’s Reelection in His Home State

ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 1864 Presidential Poll List, November 8, 1864, DeWitt County, Illinois. 1 p., 28? x 16.5?. Expected folds; tears on folds; some edge tears and cut losses; good.

Historical Background:

During the midst of the Civil War, with nine states in open rebellion and two former Confederate states at least partially under military rule, the United States held its twentieth quadrennial presidential election. Although there was initially some opposition from more radical Republicans, incumbent Republican President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) became the nominee of the new National Union Party, a coalition of Republicans and War Democrats, at its convention in Baltimore. The party refused to re-nominate Vice President Hannibal Hamlin and instead nominated War Democrat Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) of Tennessee for the vice presidency.

The Democratic National Convention in Chicago nominated General George B. McClellan (1826-1885) of New Jersey and George H. Pendleton (1825-1889) of Ohio for its candidates. Both in their 30s, McClellan and Pendleton remain the youngest presidential ticket ever nominated. Peace Democrats, who considered the war a failure, pushed a peace platform through the Convention, though McClellan was opposed to it, and the contradictions harmed the Democratic campaign.

Former Republican presidential candidate John C. Frémont (1813-1890) of California received the nomination of the Radical Democracy Party, who believed that Lincoln was too moderate on racial equality. Frémont and his running mate John Cochrane (1813-1898) of New York were appalled by the Democratic platform and withdrew in September to avoid dividing the Republican vote and allowing McClellan to win.

The Lincoln administration’s conduct of the war, including emancipation, was the central issue in the election, and Democrats criticized the war as a failure and Lincoln as a tyrant who had violated the Constitution. Republicans emphasized the need for victory over the Confederacy and urged voters not to “change horses in the middle of a stream.” For much of the campaign, Lincoln was convinced he would not be reelected because the war was going badly. However, General William T. Sherman’s capture of Atlanta in September and General Philip Sheridan’s successes in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia gave hope that the war would soon end in victory.

On November 8, 1864, Lincoln won re-election with 55 percent of the popular vote to McClellan’s 45 percent. Lincoln carried all but three states, and received 212 electoral votes. McClellan carried only Delaware, Kentucky, and his home state of New Jersey, for a total of 21 electoral votes. Congress rejected votes from Tennessee and Louisiana, where Lincoln also won and would have gained another 17 electoral votes. Lincoln thus became the first president since Andrew Jackson to win re-election.

Lincoln won Illinois and its sixteen electoral votes with 54.4 percent of the popular votes to 45.6 percent for McClellan. In DeWitt County, Lincoln received 1,271 votes (55.5 percent) to McClellan’s 1,069 votes. Of the thirteen townships in DeWitt County, Lincoln won in eight of them. This poll sheet also includes the results for races for governor, lieutenant governor, several other state offices, members of Congress, sheriff, coroner, and other local offices. Republican candidate Richard J. Oglesby (1824-1899) won the election for governor.

Although Lincoln won the State of Illinois and DeWitt County, he lost his home county of Sangamon by 380 votes.

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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