Date Approved

2012

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

History and Philosophy

First Advisor

Steven Ramold, PhD

Second Advisor

Ronald Delph, PhD

Abstract

Abraham Lincoln is one of the most revered Presidents in the history of the United States. Lincoln is remembered for ending slavery, ending the Civil War, and reconstructing the country after the atrocities of the Civil War. Despite his accomplishments, Lincoln was not the heroic icon during the Civil War he is today. Coming into the 1864 Presidential election, Lincoln's reelection chances were dim due to the prolonged duration of the war and his views on emancipating the slaves. Further, public opinion in the Union was strictly divided into two views of the war: those who wanted peace and those who wanted to win the war and save the Union. However, in some circumstances the views of the public do not resonate with the views of soldiers. Did the soldiers want peace? Or did they want to bring victory to the Union? For the first time in Presidential politics, the soldiers had the opportunity to answer this question by casting ballots.1 The soldier vote in the 1864 election was sure to affect the race, and answer the questions posed above. The aim of this thesis is to focus on Michigan soldiers' view of the 1864 Presidential election by looking at their views of Lincoln and his competitor, General George Britton McClellan, from New Jersey.

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