Friday, March 2, 2012

Lincoln Loses Illinois in 1862

The Republican party of Lincoln had lost his own State in 1862 congressional elections; that year Illinois considered a measure prohibiting the immigration of Negroes, and citizens became incensed that Lincoln’s military was shipping black refugees from the South into the State with farmers being urged to welcome this form of cheap labor.

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"

Lincoln Loses Illinois in 1862:

“It was only by the slenderest of margins that the party associated with Lincoln retained control of Congress in the election of 1862. Five important States which Lincoln had carried in 1860 now sent Democratic delegations to the House of Representatives, while a sixth sent an evenly balanced delegation. For the narrow margin of eighteen [Republican] votes in the House of Representatives which the President’s party retained, the border States, strangely enough, were largely responsible; and in producing this result the use of Federal troops was an important factor.

Lincoln’s defeat in his own State was one of the features of this election. In September 1862, an anti-Lincoln organ at Springfield denounced the “party of unscrupulous demagogues” which “have the control of the United States Congress”; and much was said as to the reign of terror in the North which the administration was promoting by its illegal arrests. [John Todd Stuart], former law partner of Lincoln, stood as [a] Democratic [congressional] candidate, [differed with Lincoln] as to policies, urging the maintenance of the Constitution and the Union without “resort to revolutionary means.”

In summing up the causes for the administration’s reveres in the congressional campaign of 1862 one must take account of such factors as the conservative reaction to Lincoln; opposition to the emancipation proclamation; disaffection caused by arbitrary arrests and such extreme measures as the confiscation act of 1862; factional discords within the Republican party; the menace of conscription; and, above all, military failure.

The defeats inflicted upon the [Northern] army by a numerically inferior enemy caused the people to feel a maddening sense of frustration – an unabated determination to win combined with a sense of helplessness under existing leaders.”

(The Civil War and Reconstruction, J.G. Randall, D.C. Heath and Company, 1937, pp. 599-602)

Lincoln Loses Illinois in 1862

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