Lincoln And The Party Divided

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by William Frank Zornow. University of Oklahoma Press. 264 pp. $4.

A careful examination of the presidential campaign of 1864, showing why and how the opposition to Lincoln within the Republican party collapsed, and discussing the failure of the Democrats with insight and understanding. In the final canvass, the author concludes, the only real difference between the parties was the Republican insistence on a Constitutional amendment to abolish slavery; both stood firmly (surviving campaign legends to the contrary notwithstanding) for victory in the war and restoration of the Union. The chief difficulty, as the author sees it, was that the campaign drew from the electorate no mandate whatever regarding reconstruction, so that the way lay open for the “ultra” group of Republicans to seize control after Lincoln’s death.