Lincoln: The vote that saved America

When Abraham Lincoln stood for re-election in November 1864 he knew that defeat could bring the civil war to a premature end and shatter his dreams of abolishing slavery. And, as Adam IP Smith reveals, his victory was far from certain...

A Grand National Union Banner depicting president Abraham Lincoln and his running mate Andrew Johnson

This article was first published in the December 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine

On 22 August 1864, with just two and a half months to go before election day, President Lincoln received a stark warning from the chairman of his campaign committee: “The tide is strongly against us,” reported Henry J Raymond. The country was facing the prospect of falling “into hostile hands”.

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