The Polls are Closed
The American Republic has always been a tenuous thing. In the Fall of 1864 is was undergoing one of its most dire tests as the Civil War raged on. The war had been going on for over three years and the outcome was far from decided.
President Lincoln had led the United States through the early defeats at the hands of the Confederacy and was only now begging to see the end of the conflict in sight. There was one more obstacle ahead of him that even he was not sure what the outcome would be. 1864 brought the next presidential election. An election that was going to happen in spite of the war.
Opposing President Lincoln would be General George B. McClellan, a man who Lincoln had put in charge of the army twice. McClellan ran as a Democrat on the platform that they would negotiate a peace and end the war. It was felt that the support he had with the army would give him enough votes to defeat Lincoln and end the war.
Besides the fact that the election was being held during wartime, this election would be the first time that soldiers in the field would be able to vote. The poll book in the picture is the method that this was carried out. Even in the throes of a civil war, the people would be heard from.
Against expectations, almost 70% of the army voted for Lincoln and in effect a continuation of the war. Lincoln won the election handily by over 400,000 popular votes, winning all but three states that participated.
Without that victory, the outcome of the war may have been completely different, and with it the fate of our country.
For more details on the 1864 election visit this site US History.Org