Election of 1868

U.S. Grant was on good terms with Andrew Johnson, but the two parted unhappily over the issue of Secretary of War Stanton's dismissal under the Tenure of Office Act. Grant probably could have had the nomination from either party, but he drifted into the Radical Republicans' orbit.

Although Grant lacked strong political convictions, he enjoyed the attention showered on him following the war. New York City awarded him a cash grant of more than $100,000; Philadelphia and Galena, Illinois, provided him with free houses. His love of money and luxury led him to accept the Republican nomination in 1868. The party platform pledged a continuation of radical reconstruction, an issue on which Grant was a moderate.

The Democrats nominated New York governor Horatio Seymour, who ran on a platform calling for the repayment of the war debt in greenbacks.

The campaign was bitter. Grant was hailed as a war hero, but also was tarred with many accusations, including being a drunkard and a "Negro-lover." The Republican campaign consisted mainly of "waving the bloody shirt," a tactic of reminding the voters of the Democrats' lack of support of the war effort. Seymour was also attacked for his backing of the inflationary greenback scheme.

Grant won convincingly in the Electoral College, but the popular vote margin was only about 300,000. With 500,000 black votes cast, it was clear that former slaves provided the margin of victory. The Democrats most likely lost this election because of their lackluster candidates, rather than Grant's political appeal.

Election of 1868
Candidates

Party

Electoral Vote

Popular Vote

U.S. Grant (IL)
Schuyler Colfax (IN)

Republican

214

3,013,650

Horatio Seymour (NY)
Francis P. Blair (MO)

Democratic

80

2,708,744

Votes not cast

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

26

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]


- - - Books You May Like Include: ----

From Bloody Shirt to Full Dinner Pail: The Transformation of Politics and Governance in the Gilded Age by Charles W. Calhoun.
In the wake of civil war, American politics were racially charged and intensely sectionalist, with politicians waving the proverbial bloody shirt and ...
When General Grant Expelled the Jews by Jonathan D. Sarna.
A riveting account of General Ulysses S. Grant's decision, in the middle of the Civil War, to order the expulsion of all Jews from the territory unde...